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@rplst8 posted:

I’m pretty sure the manufacturers like Lionel, Atlas, and Williams and magazines like OGR weren’t doing much selling when the event was bigger/younger.

It should be the big manufacturers acting as stewards of the hobby that are trying to get younger folks into the hobby.

The TCA only sells memberships… The manufacturers are the ones that need people to be interested enough to buy products.

Anyway, the holes left by OGR, Lionel, and others are now mostly filled with more dealers. So there are more trains to buy!

Actually you raise a great point regarding the manufacturers need to drive the hobby not the TCA.    In many ways the manufacturers are.   The lower end Train Sets offered by Lionel with ‘themed subjects’ is their way to attract the young. I suppose.  Some of the YouTube authors might be bringing in the young also.  

  Me being an ‘old crusty guy’, I have noticed significant changes in York with respect to Product, Vendors, and Attendance.    Even Significant changes with me.  The Eastern Division York Show has less Product, less Vendors and less attendance and each year is less than the previous .   My first York was in 1987 and I religiously attended every York until Covid and finally I think my last was 2022.   I was a fervent Lionel Postwar collector, that meant being at York on a Tuesday and starting at 5 or 6 am at the ‘Billy Bud’ parking lot.  Flashlights in hand and actually fighting a crowd.   Then hunting for a new seller to drive into the parking lot at the Holiday Inn, swooping in to see what Postwar goodies might be there.  Those were the days.    I have since sold my postwar collection and transitioned to Operating with Lionel VisionLine and Legacy.     By changing what I now collect there are many opportunities available to me outside of York.   Also hunting for NEW Trains is more of a leisurely sport.   So, for me, York has lost some luster because of what I now collect and because of changing times. I do agree, York is an opportunity to meet friends and others.       I think managing my expectations helps to accept what York has become.

I also think anyone can make a difference in attracting the next generation, one by one.  I saw one dealer talking to a new guest and saying how great York is, and that you will love it.  Enthusiastically talking about some of the basics of the hobby.

Same with our kids.  Some folks gave them super deals.  I am sure this was because they were buying themselves things with their own money.  There were also dealers who were ****ed off about packing.  Dropping F-bombs in front of the kids.  Hate to be bothered, before noon.  They view kids as a pain, and who cares about their 10.00 purchase.  Don't touch anything etc etc.  And then there are the guys who view things from the kids perspective and try to add to the magic. Overall the happy people well out numbered those few.

It's a bummer Lionel and those brands can't make the meet anymore.  It's kind of odd if they are at the top of the chain, that they are just letting its customers do the recruiting.  You would think they would want to do that themselves as well.

I had a good time at York, my first since spring of 2019!   I walked 4.6 miles on Friday which is the only day I attended.   I enjoyed viewing  the club layouts in the Purple Hall!  I got some ideas from those layouts and will perhaps incorporate into my own layout.    Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Black Hall. As I don't really " need " any more rolling stock or engines I didn't pay much attention to those items ... and of course there was lots of it!  Since I have acquired so much train stuff over the last 20 years, my focus now is on scenery items, especially detail pieces which I was able to purchase at Mega Steam's booth in the Orange Hall.      I did score some Gargraves and Ross Custom track switches from a vendor also  in the Orange Hall and some metal figures from a vendor in the Red Hall.   I wish I had more time to leisurely browse the Silver and Blue Halls but time was of the essence.  I'll plan to get to the fall York show much earlier than my 11:45 a.m. arrival this past Friday

Fall 2010 was my first York show.  Of course like everyone who attends York for the first time, that experience was mind blowing, which is an understatement!  I attended pretty regularly ( mostly twice yearly ) up until the time of the pandemic and pretty much every show since the first 2010 show  was exhilarating.   But, even back in 2010 some of the "old timers" would go on about how York wasn't what it used to be.  I would think to myself "how could it ever be better than this!  This is awesome!!!"

Of course with time everything in life changes.  I'm fine with that and totally accepting.   This York experience was still quite good for me!  Where else do thousands of train enthusiasts congregate to talk trains, exchange ideas, become educated by attending seminars, buy trains, sell trains , watch trains, see new products, and listen to real trains ( York Rail ).  York is phenomenal for this!!!  I'm totally grateful!!!

The Orange Hall experience for me, at past Yorks, has always been the highlight for me!   I sensed a unique energetic  buzz each time I walked into the OH.  This time not so much.  Perhaps due to the major manufactures not attending?  Perhaps the absence of certain vendors such as Scenic Express ( I was alway good for spending several hundred bucks there. ) and others?  Instead the Orange Hall ,this time, had more of an  energetic feel of a members hall ... not that members halls are a negative experience for me.  This time the OH  just lacked the luster of past York shows.   I say this all as an observer  of change and not in anyway to slam Eastern Division, the manufactures, or any past/present major vendor.  This is how I, as an individual, experienced York this time.   AND I'm sure there were folks in attendance who were experiencing York for their very first time ... and I would think that they had a mind blowing experience, which is an understatement! ... just as I did at my first York show.    I would also speculate that some of these first timers will hear stories conveyed by old timers .." York isn't what it used to be."   And those first timers will think " how could it be any better than this!! This is awesome!!!"  

Yes York will continue to change as all things do with time .... AND perhaps the quantity of attendance will shrink ( or expand ) ,however, York will continue to be the greatest train show there is because of the enthusiastic  quality of the people who attend.

Last edited by trumpettrain

Well, it is what you put into it. Whatever your reasons are for coming, that should be what you get out of it. Right from the start my York October 2017 experience was not only to buy trains, but to meet the people I had met through the forum. Since then it has been a blast. I have missed a few now, and always want to be there regardless of what I think I want to buy or spend. Chatting up with people is more fun than buying something to a degree. You can get more hands on ideas about what you want to do with your layout just by seeing and talking to folks. This coming from a guy who still has yet to build his permanent layout in the back room.

York not only opened my eyes to new ideas, but things I had not thought I would think of doing. Chatting with everyone whether they're the vendors, old friends, or complete strangers(until you get to know them) just makes you feel dang good about the hobby and all it has to offer. Regardless if the manufacturer's are there or not, I will always have a great time.

I’ve never attended York, but it’s on my bucket list.  I hear mixed reviews every year, but my desire to attend has never waned: like the Munich Oktoberfest, Nuremberg Toy Fair, etc., I figure it’s something everyone — at least those of us in this great hobby — should do at least once.

York is still a fantastic event, and hopefully will remain that way for a long time to come, …..I’ve been going for over 40 years now, it’s had its ups & downs, but the takeaway should be a good relaxing time enjoying ALOT of model trains……the mixed reviews, ( the negative ones ) are simply some folks have to find something to complain about, ….no matter how positive, or how good the show is, ……you owe it to yourself to form your own opinion, cause no matter how perfect everything is, you’ll always get that one person that swears the sun wasn’t on that perfect angle for their natural glow,….🙄

Pat

People will complain about spending $50 to get into the York Meet. Then walk down an aisle and spend $500 to $1500 for a locomotive.

It’s up to each of us to generate interest in the model train hobby. The TCA and other organizations are the end result of that generated interest. The importers barely promote their own products let alone try to get people interested in the hobby.

The TCA and other like organizations want memberships. Importers want sales whether buyer get involved in the hobby or not.

If each of us can instill passion for model trains for someone then the memberships and purchasing from the importers will follow.

I stated on my post York video that it's up to all of us to bring new blood into the hobby.  It's doesn't only lay at the manufacturers and the clubs feet.  I get a little tired of hearing about how York isn't doing their share.  What would you propose they do?  What do you want Lionel or MTH to do?  They already make the trains.

Anyways I had my usual good time seeing old and new friends, buying what I needed and wanted, and not being at work.  The EDTCA did a good job and I felt that this April was on par if not a little better than the fall.  Do I miss Lionel, MTH, and Altas's setup?  Yes but do they make the meet for me?  No.

I do miss some of the other vendors like Ro and Smith but I think that has to do a lot more with online sales and the age of the folks that are running those stores.  I can always do an online order with them.

York is what you make of it.  If you are going there with the attitude that all the manufacturers not being there are going to ruin it for you it probably will.  I do see a time where the White hall is combine into the 3 remaining member halls but hopefully not for a few more years.  The good news is I see a lot of younger faces at York too.  The guys that do the larger YouTube presentations are reaching audiences that Lionel could only dream of now a days.  I do my best on my small layout and limited resources.

I would like to suggest to the EDTCA York Committee to have a list of events or meetings posted outside the Orange Hall meeting room.  I know it's in the mailer but would be handy to have it posted.  The room looks like it's booked solid on Friday so I'm thinking any Legacy meetings will have to be held on Thursday.

Last edited by MartyE
@MartyE posted:

I stated on my post York video that it's up to all of us to bring new blood into the hobby.  It's doesn't only lay at the manufacturers and the clubs feet.  I get a little tired of hearing about how York isn't doing their share.  What would you propose they do?  What do you want Lionel or MTH to do?  They already make the trains.

Anyways I had my usual good time seeing old and new friends, buying what I needed and wanted, and not being at work.  The EDTCA did a good job and I felt that this April was on par if not a little better than the fall.  Do I miss Lionel, MTH, and Altas's setup?  Yes but do they make the meet for me?  No.

I do miss some of the other vendors like Ro and Smith but I think that has to do a lot more with online sales and the age of the folks that are running those stores.  I can always do an online order with them.

York is what you make of it.  If you are going there with the attitude that all the manufacturers not being there are going to ruin it for you it probably will.  I do see a time where the White hall is combine into the 3 remaining member halls but hopefully not for a few more years.  The good news is I see a lot of younger faces at York too.  The guys that do the larger YouTube presentations are reaching audiences that Lionel could only dream of now a days.  I do my best on my small layout and limited resources.

Sorry that I didn’t see you Marty.  Glad you had a good time. I had a blast. The times are changing and York is what you make it.
Next time we should share a prune juice, cold……..as Worf says, “a Warrior’s drink!”.

Peter

Just completed another trip to York with some train buddies. From a 6am NJ departure to an 8pm NJ return, it always amazes me with all the things done that day.

Best returning feature was the Fairground Shuttle Bus!

A few less food vendors outside Orange Hall but as long as the hot dog stand is there I am a happy camper.

Was able to spend more time talking to many dealer friends and did get a few deals in the Red and Blue Halls.

Took an afternoon break at Corsair 29's camper..didn't want to get up from those relaxing lawn chairs.

Found a new restaurant on trip home...83 Diner on I-83 towards Harrisburg.

Saw a few trains while walking into Red Hall...miss the yellow MA&PA/Yorkrail diesels but the horn blowing for grade crossings is still a great disruption.

Enjoyable day for me...thanks again to the Eastern Division. With all the twice yearly complaining posts with doom and gloom, after 46 years at York Meets, I still have great memories and look forward to more.

Walter

Also had two great days at YORK.  Although I only purchased sitting people for passenger cars and a few green LED lights for those PESKY ALIENS, I really enjoyed myself.  Meeting up with MARTYE, GUNRUNNER JOHN, TRAINDIESEL, PETER at the Layout, VINCES TRAINS, and members of the DETROIT 3RAILERS,GEORGE, CHARLIE, and GREG, along with lots o other GUYZ, is always a high light.

  My take on the two days I was there, is THURSDAY seemed like more people especially in the members halls.  FRIDAY, seemed like the parking lots was starting to get sparse as I saw it about 3 PM.  Vendors in the ORANGE HALL were widely spaced, with lots of room fro walking around.  Even though I did see one of my wants it was priced in the very high end along with most things I saw.  Glad I only purchased smalls.  Still a great time with my Wife on Thursday and friends on Friday.  I ll be back in October and hopefully my wants will increase.  

The layouts were great in the PURPLE HALL, especially PUTNAMs aka PETES disappearing train.  Very cool!!!

@dkdkrd posted:

So, Ben thought the Italian Ice was pitiful...

...But what about the Funnel Cakes???  As yummy as ever??  ...And the scrapple & grits, that gave one the...never mind!?

Been about 4 years now.  Some of the York 'experiences' that would leave us with 'lasting' memories were sort of...hmmm...well, different.

But the trains???...always worth looking forward to!!   Maybe in October.

(sigh)

What was pitiful was that they actually called it Italian    Yuch   First time I ever threw an "Italian " ice away after a couple of spoonfuls  The rest of York was great   

One thing we should all remember is that there are literally hundreds of us out there who belong to modular groups or fixed model railroad displays. When we set up for public displays and/or have open houses, those of us who are TCA members are in effect the TCA promoting the hobby.....

Peter

Good point, Peter! 

Many of us in PIHR who go to York also use our York badge holders to hold our PIHR name badges (don't tell anyone, but I designed our badges to fit the York holders... ).  It has prompted quite a few conversations at shows and other events we have done over the years, and I always try to convey all of the benefits of TCA membership, including York.

Andy

Good point, Peter! 

Many of us in PIHR who go to York also use our York badge holders to hold our PIHR name badges (don't tell anyone, but I designed our badges to fit the York holders... ).  It has prompted quite a few conversations at shows and other events we have done over the years, and I always try to convey all of the benefits of TCA membership, including York.

Andy

Great idea, Andy!

Peter

I have to agree with Marty Dave and others. Those who constantly say this needs to be done or this is how you do it,,, What are you doing?



The Eastern Division I'm sure would welcome any help you could offer them. Especially during York week!



I took the initiative to assist in helping open back up the Kids Korner for the first time since October 2019. We had a good attendance for being open for the first time in 3.5 years. 35 kids over the three days.



Volunteers are always need before, during and after the show.

Attachments

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  • Kids Korner 1
  • Kids Korner 2
  • Kids Korner 3

I can't really understand how one could make bad Italian Ice. I get saying "bad" is an understatement in this case. I don't think I have ever had a bad one, maybe one a tad light on flavor, but still okay for eating.

Welll it was pretty bad  It was supposed to be cherry flavored but it tasted like the ice that builds up in the freezer before defrosting  Stale no taste  I have had the best Italian Ice and some OK ones but this was the first waste of money ice.  My favorite is called Uncle Louie G's   A staten Island company that has real pieces of fruit in the ice 

Well, I was disappointed...not for myself, but for my son, grandson and wife who I brought so they could see what I talk about for days,  for the first time. And, of course for the vendors.  Pre pandemic, I would attend on Friday with a hobby buddy. The show was packed.  This was the first year I attended on a Saturday.  Unfortunately, I picked the wrong Saturday. The show closed at 1PM because of weather warnings and I suspect many vendors started to pack up well before the closing announcement.  Fortunately my 11 yr. old grandson was wowed.  Unfortunately, since most of the vendors had either packed up and left or were packing up, I couldn't find the set he wanted nor the items on my list.  However, we scored the "NASA" LionChief set he loves, at the Strasburg Train store and we all were blown away by that layout at the Choo Choo Barn. So, while the show wasn't what I had anticipated, overall  the entire experience was fun. York, Choo-Choo Barn, Strasburg Train store, PA train museum, National Toy Train Museum Saturday dinner at Casey Jones topped by Sunday breakfast at the "Speckled Hen" in Strasburg.  In October, I'll be attending on Friday.

Peter - I’m sorry if this has been asked a/o answered, but, do you have a photo of the hidden track, uncovered? Would really like to see that. Thx.

We are planning to do an article for the Magazine.......it will all be there with build pictures.

We've been working constantly on this since late February.  I have been taking detail build pictures and only with great restraint have I not shared them all.....

Peter

York is what you make of it.  I attend on the basis of "finding neat trains", and I found them.

York is more than the official meet.  It includes the bandit meets, the area hobby shops, and area antique stores.

I found some exotic trains - European beer reefers - at an antique mall.  I found some parts that I'd been looking for for a long time at the Strasburg Train Store.

There's a lot of kvetching about changing the schedule to include "all day Saturday".  The question that needs to be asked is "How many potential visitors are limited to attending Saturday by availability of vacation time?"

York is a high end show and the only truly national show.

York does a so so job of being attractive to the HO and N scale hobbyist.  I bought two HO locomotives at York, but there's more that can be done.  The HO and N scale markets have become a lot like the Lionel market with limited production and a growing interest in collectible trains.

First time at York.  Wed. bought a few things.   Thurs Mostly Orange hall.  Friday the rest.  Sat. off to see family.  Took a long list and came back with a couple of big boxes.  My wife enjoyed buying some things for the layout.  Even a working (stationary) single chamber steam engine for science class.

Learned to scan quickly and search when you were close to what you are looking for.

I enjoyed it and so did my wife.    We discovered "Creamaries" in York.   Gave up a meal one day to go to Sweet Willow Creamery.

I think York was well done.   Loved talking to people.   Many friendly and helpful vendors.   I still think York is big enough to be amazing.

Last edited by VHubbard

We are planning to do an article for the Magazine.......it will all be there with build pictures.

We've been working constantly on this since late February.  I have been taking detail build pictures and only with great restraint have I not shared them all.....

Peter

Peter:

Would be a great feature for the Oct. issue of the magazine since it would help to inspire others to do something a bit distinctive for the following holiday season (and they would have adequate time to do the construction).

Last edited by Allan Miller

My York week was made on Thursday morning before the show started. One of the members of the Somerset 4-H Trainmasters when I was club leader stopped by to chat and handed me his card: TCA Collectors Association, Strasburg, PA- Museum Chairman! It can not get any better than that. One of my regular customers had asked me in October what could be done with the boxes that his shadowboxes came in. I said that I would reuse them. A box full of boxes appeared- and I thought that I would be going home being able to see out the back. Not possible. Thank you to Peter for including me with his dining groups- always a great time to chat trains and things. Great banter with Don and his wife about allocation of residential square footage. This one had to be good- the time went by too fast.

Last edited by Todds Architectural Models
@NJCJOE posted:

No funnel cake or crab cake vendors this year.

My family was very disappointed in the lack of food trucks over the last 2 Yorks.  Besides no funnel cakes or crab cakes, the truck that made the great ham & cheese sandwiches (on toast) was also missing, along with the lemonade truck .  I'm not sure why the trucks aren't showing up.  Certainly not because all the participants are dieting these days!

About the lack of food trucks at York.  Rumor has it that the food vendors in the Blue-Sliver Hall and the Orange Hall have an exclusive contract with the York Fair on the concessions and who can sell concessions.  We too miss the other vendors and the great food.  We always looked forward to the pumpkin funnel cakes in the fall.  They have not been back since the pandemic shut down and the barbeque sandwiches outside the Red Hall.  We were also disappointed in the donuts and coffee that was to be provided by the Eastern Division on Saturday Morning.  We arrived at 7:45.  The donuts were to be offered beginning at 7:30.  At 7:45 there were 6 plain donuts in about 3 boxes left on the tables and no one around.  We could not believe that all those donuts vanished in 15 minutes unless some were taking full boxes with them.  Hope the Eastern Division can get their act together for future shows.  I realize that it is not the food but the trains that we go for but the friends and good food promote a good buying atmosphere. Dave

@lionelflyer posted:

My family was very disappointed in the lack of food trucks over the last 2 Yorks.  Besides no funnel cakes or crab cakes, the truck that made the great ham & cheese sandwiches (on toast) was also missing, along with the lemonade truck .  I'm not sure why the trucks aren't showing up.  Certainly not because all the participants are dieting these days!

Usually its a mater ,of economics , not enough sales = not coming back.

@FuzzyD posted:

  At 7:45 there were 6 plain donuts in about 3 boxes left on the tables and no one around.  We could not believe that all those donuts vanished in 15 minutes unless some were taking full boxes with them.   I realize that it is not the food but the trains that we go for but the friends and good food promote a good buying atmosphere. Dave

Most people would find it a bit bizarre that someone is taking issue about donuts. This reminded me, though, that one of my best memories of York was about donuts. In the olden days, after taking a long trip to make the Friday morning York opening, I always looked forward to getting my hearty breakfast of glazed donuts from a concession stand in the Gold Hall under the grandstands. It was one of my enjoyable memories of York and one I really missed when they closed the Gold Hall (or was it Yellow?)

This posting did remind me that there are subtle culinary aspects of the York experience that make it special and memorable.  For many, it might have been the semi-annual opportunity to eat a funnel cake--originally from the Pennsylvania Dutch community. For others it might have been a certain food at a Bickels' stand. I suspect for most it would be having a breakfast or dinner with train buddies at one of the many York restaurants.

Food matters!

@lionelflyer posted:

My family was very disappointed in the lack of food trucks over the last 2 Yorks.  Besides no funnel cakes or crab cakes, the truck that made the great ham & cheese sandwiches (on toast) was also missing, along with the lemonade truck .  I'm not sure why the trucks aren't showing up.  Certainly not because all the participants are dieting these days!

The Carlise car show was the same weekend as York. It's possible these vendors decided to do the car show. Maybe sales are better at the car show.

My son and I attended on Friday, I can't compare to previous years since this is my first time back in over 30 years. I am just getting back into the trains I setup during my childhood. We both found the show very good and will definitely be back unfortunately we cannot make the October show but God willing we will make it back again in April.

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