My wife usually travels with me to York. Until we get to Tennessee where she loses interest and stays behind with her family.
This subject has no easy or right answer in the quest to be everything to everybody. I think there are two different interests involved: 1-the original collectors or operators of the pre-electronic trains; and 2- the more modern electronic operators/collectors who value being able to see the latest from the manufacturers. I think both groups desperately need each other in order to survive for a few more years. (And also if you see it at York for anywhere near a competitive price on the internet, you should buy it at York just to support and encourage those dealers to continue in business and keep them coming).
I don't think the York show can survive on collectors/members alone and I don't think the dealers/manufacturers could maintain an economic show out of the orange and purple halls. It is in the best interest of both groups to find every possible way to support and promote each other as well as the TCA and EDTCA.
Regarding the TCA, I visited the TCA headquarters last York for the first time in 25 years, and man that's a lot of overhead. With a robust, growing TCA population in the 80's maybe that was sustainable. And before the internet or smart phones the publications and library maybe served a bigger purpose. But with today's membership numbers and obvious decline, I don't think that overhead is sustainable. Getting the TCA membership costs down to $25 or so per year could do a lot to getting the numbers back up or maintaining them. And with the internet having a treasure trove of information available on your phone day and night, I am not sure that the publications and library are that relevant any more. Yes they are nice but are they needed? Okay and while I am on it, the conventions; better take a look at who bears the cost versus who gets the benefit in that area as well. Try and tailor the costs of the TCA, to suit the absolute core of the membership. This involves some new thinking, some finding out what the membership really needs/whats and at what costs. Again clear your head of what it used to be and focus on what it must be as a bare minimum.
Yes, I know that's the way the TCA was for my daddy and my grand daddy and his daddy before him, and oh yeah grandma is buried in the back yard. Well, dig her up and move her. We're either going to change or we are going to die.
Better read fast, cause this post won't stay up very long.