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I'm considering attending York for the first time as a guest.

Questions for you veterans of the show:

1. What are the advantages of attending as a guest instead of just coming when the public can? It sounds like that gives me access on Thursday afternoon, plus additional access to the 4 member halls. What goes in the member halls? It sounds like there are members selling items and displaying personal layouts, is that right? Anything else?

2. I can come on Thursday afternoon and/or Friday any time, maybe even Saturday morning. When would be the best day(s) and time(s) to attend if my objectives are to:

  • get some deals on rolling stock, track and switches, and buildings/kits
  • find out about local train groups in my area
  • see a bunch of O scale layouts

3. Any other tips? I live close enough that I don't need info on lodging or restaurants.


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Just join TCA, and you can go to all 7 buildings for the rest of your life.  Their are only about 3 or 4 layouts all in one building. On Thursday morning you can go to the registration desk in the silver hall and either join or be a guest. (You can only be a guest once) The meet opens at 12 noon on Thursday. I am sure others will chime in on your post, and give you more information.

Last edited by eddie g

Check out “Clems Primer 2023” and you'll see all you asked about first time to York and more. 😉

I recommend becoming a member as well.  You will need at least two full days to see most of the buildings. Yet not see every building.

if you ask me, I enjoy the White Hall the most.  I’ve probably spent more money there too!

Enjoy yourself and take along a friend!

Seth 😁

Last edited by Rich Melvin

@chessiechick - As has already been said, there’s soooo much to see - trains and train related stuff everywhere. Believe me when I say you won’t be able to see everything in one day, nor would you want to because your brain eventually goes into ‘overload’ mode after hours of walking & looking, walking & looking.  For me attending York was like being a kid in a candy shop!  To prepare yourself just google the show on and you’ll see what I mean.  Lastly, good luck, enjoy yourself and be sure to wear comfortable foot wear.  😉

To add to what others have said:

1.  In Orange (dealer) Hall, you will find new and recent production (within last 5 years or so) stuff, some older used stuff, cottage industry scenery and accessory stuff, tools, videos, books, collectibles, and a lot more.  In the member halls, you can find all of the above in addition to a lot more older stuff spanning the last 150+ years.  A lot of the stuff in member halls have been used, but not all - be sure to examine purchases there.  You never know what you will find there (to me, this makes the member halls a lot of fun to search).  In addition, many (but not all) vendors in the member halls are willing to haggle on prices.

2.  You probably want to go both Thursday and Friday, as it is hard to see everything in one day.  If one day is all someone can do, Friday is the longest day.  As far as Saturday goes, save that decision for Friday afternoon to see if you have any $$$ left in your budget.   You can find deals all three days, although you might get some extra deals on Saturday from people looking to lighten the load they have to haul home.

3.  Additional tips:

Bring a cooler with your favorite beverages, and if you don't like food trucks or fairgrounds-type food, you may want to bring a lunch and snacks.

Dress for the weather.  Even if it is supposed to be warm, bring a jacket just in case.

Cash is king at York.  Almost all dealers in Orange take plastic, but you may get a better deal from them with cash.  Few vendors in member halls take plastic.  Also, there are ATM's on the fairgrounds, but they often run out of cash during this event.

Restroom attendants on the fairgrounds work for tips, so bring change and small bills.

As you make your way through the halls, take the time to talk to people.  You will meet a wide variety of people.  Sure, there are some anti-social grumpy-old-men types there, but there are also people that will happily talk your ear off when they get talking about trains.  I have made some amazing friends there just by talking to them.


I'm glad I went and I am exhausted! My main thoughts were - wow, this show is HUGE! And there is SO MUCH O GAUGE! I have been to train shows before at Timonium and a few other places, but this was so much bigger and more relevant.

I found the York hall labels quite confusing. Most of the buildings have signage with fairground names, but the TCA show refers to them by color. I didn't find the colors obvious and the small paper signs with the color names were hard to find. I managed to find everything eventually but it led to some extra walking that I didn't need.

We walked nearly 2 miles on Thursday afternoon, working our way through the Silver Hall and part of the Orange Hall. I bought a Weaver Chessie ACF covered hopper from a gentleman from Ohio for $20. He was very friendly and we had a nice chat while we negotiated.

Friday we walked almost 4 miles and took in all of the other halls. I was hunting for some very specific rolling stock by Atlas or MTH. I did see a few items that were close to what I wanted, but the discounts were not enough to convince me to buy. Most of the items either predated the era I am modelling or were Lionel. I am not looking for Lionel right now because I don't feel like figuring out which Lionel items are close enough to authentic scale. I did buy a Chessie tee shirt that I had previously seen online.

I really liked checking out the buildings and scenery in person that I had only seen online prior to York. I have a vision for my layout, but I'm trying to figure out my price point and source the various buildings and/or kits to make it a reality.

I also really liked the Ross Custom Switches display. They are NICE.

The layouts were fun and I admire all the work that must go into transporting, setting up, and breaking down. It's interesting to see the modular layouts and compare the different visions of each modeler. The layout halls seemed rather sparsely attended, which was a shame. I think I like it better at other shows where the vendors and layouts are in the same building and you can bounce back and forth between them as you wish.

I did stop and push some buttons at the Kids Corner, well, just because it was fun!

Mr. Chessiechick enjoyed seeing the old transformers and Plasticville buildings that he remembers from his childhood. I did not grow up with trains, but I have vague memories of my grandfather's basement layout at Christmastime. Back then, I was more interested in playing with the little lead farm animals.

We had a great chat with a gentleman from Annapolis over lunch by the food trucks. He was very friendly and had some great advice for planning and designing our layout.

I ended Friday by joining TCA. It wasn't really clear to me what sort of magazine or newsletter I would be getting, but I figured I would try it out so that I could find out about other train events and hopefully connect with an O gauge club in the Lancaster, PA area.

My biggest regret is that I did not plan ahead to meet some of you at the O Gauge Forum restaurant meetups. Hopefully next time!

TCA Member first time going to York.

A couple of quick questions:

First question, since I paid already do I have to go to the Silver building first and check in before going to the other halls?

Second question, I have my paper badges, but no holders (forgot to get them ), how hard is it to get them when I get there? Will there be a long line for them?

Thanks to any one answers!

Planning on going Thursday and Friday.

VRF201 (Roy)

@vrf201 posted:

TCA Member first time going to York.

A couple of quick questions:

First question, since I paid already do I have to go to the Silver building first and check in before going to the other halls?

Second question, I have my paper badges, but no holders (forgot to get them ), how hard is it to get them when I get there? Will there be a long line for them?

Thanks to any one answers!

Planning on going Thursday and Friday.

VRF201 (Roy)

If you have your badge, no check-in is necessary; you are good to walk in to any hall at the opening as long as the door monitors and guards can see the badge.  On my first York, I used a safety pin until I got a holder.

Whether there are lines at the registration area in Silver Hall depends on the day and time of day.  There are usually lines in the mornings before and just after opening time.  The TCA sometimes also sell the badge holders at their tables in Orange Hall, so you may want to check there first, otherwise go with the safety pin method until the registration lines go down.

The registration desk opens at 9 am on Thursday (3 hours before the meet opens).  If you can get there early, there will probably be lines, but they move fairly quickly and you won't miss any of the meet.


Wear comfortable walking shoes. There is so much to see at York, doubly so the first time. Have a good idea of what you are looking for. Check in with Mr. Muffin, Steve Nelson, in the Orange Hall. He is kind enough to walk around and do video interviews with various vendors and may be able to steer you in the right direction for something specific.

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