Here’s my recap as a new hobbyist going to their first York. It is very worth it and so glad I went. Everyone was so friendly.
I had read Clem’s Primer a couple times and that was helpful in having even a little idea before I showed up.
My wife and I arrived Thursday around 1pm & I was there Friday from opening to about 5pm. Just before the halls opened Fri morning, they played I'm Proud to Be an American inside and outside. I was in the Silver hall lobby and everyone stood, removed their hats, and was quite as it played. After the applause, I'm pretty sure the announcer said "God Bless America. Now let's play trains".
As a first timer, I bought less on Thurs and more on Fri after I had a better idea of what was what and somewhat an idea on how variable the pricing was. I could find the exact same item for $10-$30 at multiple tables before any negotiation. I noted certain items/prices/location and after going thru, went back to buy usually from the least expensive seller. At least in the member halls, everything was, negotiable though a couple items were inexpensive enough I paid what was listed.
I could definitely benefit from stronger glasses after reading so many box ends.
Conventional engines were much more common than Legacy/TMCC for sale in the member halls.
I didn’t notice a single piece of used LCS and just 1 member hall table had any LCS, all new.
I ran into many YouTubers. Most I just thanked for putting so much time into their channel and others I had a brief chat with. Eric’s Trains, Ray’s Trains, RBP Trains, Chris’s Trains & Things, JDStucks, Sid’s Trains & Shawn (Dakman) .
Some dealer booths were very busy any time I walked by - Grzyboski’s, Neely’s, Brady’s, B&B Hobby Supply (tools), Mr Muffins and others. Some of the smaller booths were rather tight with room for just 2 to 3 people at a time.
I was amazed at all the tin plate stuff, of all gauges, most of which was spectacular. I even chatted with some members about their beautiful collections.
It was pretty easy to tell the different gauges and bypass tables that weren’t O gauge. I didn’t find it an issue they were intermixed. It was probably worse for non O-gauge folks and maybe it would help them if other gauges were located in one area, but it didn’t bother me as an “O” person.
I noted this in another thread on Thursday ... The purple hall was odd with a small area for layout’s and a single wall of member tables. Lots of tables were set up in the purple hall but empty. The layouts weren't even near the 5 sellers. They would have been better with either the 5 sellers in Purple placed in Red or elsewhere, or some sellers from red, silver and blue placed in purple.
This time I came with my wife and drove from NJ Thursday morning and stayed 2 nights, heading back Saturday, antiquing our way back. She came to the event Thursday with me and went antiquing Friday. She spent way more antiquing then I spent on trains! When I come back, I’d probably drive Thursday morning again and drive back home Friday evening, probably by myself. I had enough after 1.5 fulls days and the only thing I missed was the YouTube meet and greet Sat @ 11am which I watched online when I got home.
Since it is my first visit, I can’t compare the selection or activity vs previous shows. I saw a lot of items being sold where prices seemed reasonable. Everyone was carrying something as they walked through the aisles. I came home with 2 shopping bags of items. The most I spent on any 1 item was $150, so I wasn’t buying high end stuff, but I didn’t need anything and nothing caught my eye that said “I have to have it”.
I thought I would take hundreds of pictures, but in the end I only took a few. I was much more involved in looking, walking and chatting.
I’m very glad I went and I would go back again, though likely just once a year. Everyone should experience York as it’s quite an event and the friendly atmosphere & banter was very enjoyable.