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Yesterday, I attended my first ever York.  I currently live just south of Baltimore, and for the first time in many years had both the time, and the money, for a day trip to York.

The York Fairground is 71 miles from my home.  I Ieft my truck at home and took my daughter’s car. I dropped her off at work at 7:30 am, had breakfast, and arrived in York around 10:00 am.  Since I didn’t want to lose any time when the doors opened at noon, I went to the registration area and got my guest pass for the afternoon.  TCA Members were like bees buzzing around a hive, moving their trains into the member halls. I left the fairgrounds to run a couple of errands, have lunch, and kill a little bit of time.  I arrived back at the fairgrounds in time for the halls to open at noon.

I started at the Blue Hall, then the Silver, White, and Red Halls.  Wow, were they busy!  Very few empty tables and lots of folks mulling around.  I have never seen so much tinplate and postwar all in one place.  Alas, neither of these was on my wish list, as my primary interest was to fill some gaps in my scale collection.  Regarding tinplate, I saw a lot of prewar sets (especially standard gauge) for sale that I had only seen before in pictures!

Lot of excitement in the Dealer halls as well. Aside from MTH who had a very nice display, there were also many vendors. Heard some folks asking about Lionel, but we all know they decided to sit out this York.

Seems to me that about 95% of what was being sold was Lionel/MTH/American Flyer.  I saw a little bit of Williams and slightly less Atlas for sale.  I saw almost no Weaver items for sale (hoped to find some Ultraline 40’ Fishbelly flats), and almost no 3rd Rail/GGD items (GGD B&O Heavyweights were on the top of my wishlist) and saw only a couple of 3rd Rail/GGD items (maybe 4 engines, and 2 passenger sets).

For almost all of the meet, I walked around with an empty bag, waiting to fill it with something.  I had no luck in the member halls.  Then within the last hour, I did pick up some things in the dealer hall:

  • I did want an Atlas/Weaver Troop Sleeper to go with my older Weaver set. In all the halls (member/dealer) I found exactly 1 Troop Sleeper. This car came home with me.
  • I have one Lionel 6 wheeled pullman sleeper that I run with my Troop train. I hoped to find a 2 car set of Lionel 6 wheeled sleeper/baggage cars. Didn’t find the set I was looking for, but I did find a second 6 wheel sleeper to match the one I already owned.
  • I did want a set of Lionel Legacy CSX diesels. I did find two dealers who had good prices on CSX Legacy AC6000’s, so one of these did come home with me!


So, will I go back to York?  Absolutely, and I even plan to join the TCA!  Next time, however, I will do things differently. I will not be in a frenzied rush to shop.  I will probably make it a two-day event (staying over) and my even bring my wife along!  Hope to spend a lot more time talking with folks than I did this time around.  Thus, I see my next York as being more socializing than shopping.  That said, all of the tinplate on display in infectious. I do have two prewar passenger sets at home, and I may spend the next York in the member halls looking for just the right prewar freight set!


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Sounds like you had a great time. The first meet is always a bit mind-boggling, and for me they still are after being a member for 31 years (I've only missed three shows). As for the lure of tinplate, that's a slippery slope. The bright colors, the scent of ozone, the sound of buzzing from e-units, the rattle of stamped metal wheels as they roll down tubular track - why, before you know it your WHOLE basement will be full of tinplate! Of course, the bedroom may also be a little emptier, too .

Last fall was my very 1st time also, my wife went with me I spent aday and 1/2 while wife went shopping/investigating . Later we went to Gettysburg drove all around came home via West Virginia and we are DEFINITELY planning on returning to York---NEVER have seen such beautiful trains and yes did spent some money---of course---

Jim, Thank you for your first-timer review!  I first attended in October 2017 and was able to go again last April!  I live in Northwestern Pennsylvania, so it is about a 4 1/2-hour drive for me.  I stayed overnight both times.  I am looking forward to going back since I wasn't able to the last two meets.  I didn't buy a lot each time; my hobby budget isn't that big.  I really had a great time meeting many of the folks from the Forum in person for the first time.  Meeting friends who I only know from here face to face is huge in my opinion!!  

jd-train posted:

Yesterday, I attended my first ever York.  I currently live just south of Baltimore, and for the first time in many years had both the time, and the money, for a day trip to York.

That said, all of the tinplate on display in infectious.

JD - you reminded me of my first York in October 1989.  I took one day off from work, drove up early in the morning and stood in a long line outside the Blue Hall (where registration was then) on a very crisp fall morning. Once I got registered and had my badge, I found I had been given entry into a paradise beyond my imagination.  I was really able to relate to your line, "all of the tinplate on display was infectious."  That sums it up perfectly.  For me since then, it has just gotten constantly better with a growing number of friends and acquaintances, and group activities like the Delta Lines Friends meetings and the OGR get-togethers.

Thank you for describing so well what a first York is like that makes it such a captivating experience.    

Your post also remined me of my first York in 2001. I remember it being so difficult to navigate the Halls back then due to the crowds being so large. My first York was a Friday. They didn't have Thursday at that time. I remember the Yellow Hall, while being kind of crummy on hand, it was wonderful on the other with Lionel and MTH having their displays in there. While those Yorks were great I still have a great time the way it is now. I am planning to attend in the Fall.


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