Will Train Shows Make a Comeback?

brian Nov 5, 2005

  1. brian

    brian TrainBoard Member

    With this being the most popular month of train shows and all it got me thinking. The past few years some of my favorite train shows have been pretty pathetic. Less vendors, higher prices, and usually the same old junk. I pretty much chalked it up to ebay taking over this market. Ebay used to have some of the best deals aroud and I didn't have to drive to the train show or wait for it to come to my area, just pay a small shipping fee.

    Now I have noticed that ebay has pretty much become a sellers market and some of the shipping prices have become outragous.

    I still love going to trainshows if only to see the layouts. Of course the good deals are always icing on the cake. Will the trainshows make a comeback?

  2. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    In South Florida, we are not known for our train shows.

    Now hurricanes, voting machine ballots and terrorists are another story.
    [​IMG] :rolleyes: [​IMG]

    Stay cool and run steam..... [​IMG] :cool: :cool:
  3. Jim Noveroske

    Jim Noveroske TrainBoard Member

    Probably not as the wave of the future are internet trainshows!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    I don't know. A lot of the small local shows that meet once or twice a year and don't travel from town to town seem to be doing OK. GATS was doing well untill some of the owners (a few owners back) tried to put the local shows out of business by booking the same town for the same weekend trying to draw off the layouts and vendors. That kind of backfired as the small shows just moved their dates up a week or so. Then they raised vendor table prices and cut payout to layouts. GATS has been sold yet again and is now trying to make a comeback under a different name. (Great Western and Atlantic Trainshow)
  5. dave n

    dave n TrainBoard Supporter

    We've got some pretty decent shows back here in Ohio. The NMRA regional show was last weekend in Cincinnati - quite a few layouts, and quite a few deals also!
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Good question. My answer- I certainly hope so!

    Seems like they come and go for many reasons. In some instances, they've failed due to simply to poor promotion. Such as the ohe closest one to me. Also, for reasons unknown, they keep holding this on a Sunday only. And lose a lot of folks that way. Saturday is the best choice on a weekend. Maybe they'll awaken one day...


    Boxcab E50
  7. Glenn Woodle

    Glenn Woodle TrainBoard Member

    Do we have any members in the Chicago area able to attend the monthly DuPage show?? That one had been operating for many years, with many vendors from the Midwest. I'd like to hear a dealers opinion on the management of the shows. Last time I went, dealers filled parts of 4 buildings & spilled onto the parking lot. They needed to add some space to get everyone inside. Finding a spsce to park became a problem, especially in bad weather.

    I doubt if anybody wants to pay $7.00 per adult. THe discount didn't help much. Many of the dralers were ready to close shop well before the 3pm closing. Your best chance of getting deals meant getting in at 9am. Hot selling models moved out quickly.
  8. oldrk

    oldrk TrainBoard Supporter

    My big complaint about the shows is the closing time. I work weekends and wouldnt be able to get to a show befor about 6:30 pm. The shows always close around 4.
  9. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

    We had some good show in Omaha, Ne. But lately it seems like they are all the same month. They don't spread them out over the year.
  10. AKrrnut

    AKrrnut TrainBoard Member

    I think train shows might start suffering from higher prices, for everything from gas to merchandise.

    I know high gas prices make me think twice about traveling to shows, though I usually have to travel several hours just to get anywhere! :eek: Show might suffer from fewer vendors and customers, while people stay home to conserve $$$.

    As far as selection, it could just be that the best buys are already gone. While atttending at least one show in Portland several years ago, some of the best deals I gave out were before the doors opened. Things usually don't change today, since vendors try to get set up early so they can shop, too! [​IMG] The other good time to deal is just before the vendors start packing up.

    I'm not sure that eBay will have a huge effect on train shows, except that customers might have less money to spend. I think that model railroaders like to see what they're buying, and that they go to shows to look for that great deal, or for that special something they haven't been able to find in their LHS. Plus, there's a special atmosphere at a train show you can't duplicate anywhere else.

  11. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    The Last train show I went to was GATS here in Saint Paul.....was not all that great. Prices were high and not a whole lot of layouts operating. Nevertheless, I still had a good time. I know in Wayzata MN they have some sort of train show every year. I stubled on it several years ago. A CNW steamer was there pulling some pass cars (with a BNSF loco pushing in the rear....I guess they done want to stress the old steamer). It was very cool. I have not been successful in finding any info on this event.

    I know in FEB 2006 the Worlds Greatest Hobby train show is coming to Saint Paul, I do plan on attending....should be a good time.
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I have to agree. The best shows and best prices were those shows I went to in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. As a bonus, some of the finest Hobby Shops, are in the state of Ohio.

    Now that I live out here in Southwest California, my favorite show was a vendors manufacturers show. There we learned about new products being introduced. Saw many of them in operation. Although you couldn't buy directly from the manufacturer ie., Micro-trains. On hand was at least three or four hobby shops, selling virtually anything you might want Good prices and excellent merchandise. None of this "I cleaned out my garage and here's what's left, of the mess".

    Model Railroading and N Scale in particular is at it's zenith/peak. Never before has there been the quanity, quality and variety of merchandise available.

    See you at a train show! E-bay, I know some of you swear by it. Sorry, (call me old fashioned) I swear at it. I wouldn't trust E-bay. You never know what you are getting and the return policy sucks. I'd rather put my (limited) trust in a hobby shop or a good train show.

    [ November 05, 2005, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: BarstowRick ]
  13. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Greenbergs last show at Chantilly, VA is coming up on the 19th of this month. Greenbergs was bought out and I don't know if the shows will be as frequent or in the same locations. Nothing shows for this spring on the schedule for Chantilly which is close. Gas prices are starting to cut into my travels, and rather than waste time and money for high prices, maybe some no shows on venders, the same old recycled junk now marked up yet higher, and the chance that I'll find nothing that excites me and makes me reach for the wallet, I'll get a shopping list together and drive up to MB Kliens, where I know I can just about find everything I need plus a few more items. Plus I can touchy feely and run somthing on the test track there before I plunk down the hard earned $$ on the counter.
  14. J Long

    J Long E-Mail Bounces

    We have small shows monthly scattered about the state with a small selection of N scale. Once or maybe twice a year we have large shows with a greater discounts and a wallet cleaning selection. It seems most of the dealers selling N scale carry it as a sideline to HO.

    I agree the hours should be longer. I usually stay till closing looking at trains, layouts, and chatting with train heads. I would stay longer if they were open. Many dealers don't like to stick around after 2 PM because sales drop off around noon. So maybe keep it open longer for the layouts.
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Ok, if I share this you have to promise to keep it a secret. My time at a trian show is as follows: A two day show, be there the last day. Spend the morning spotting the items you want. After lunch check out the clubs. Toward the last hour as you see dealers starting to pack-up. Go into a buying spree, asking for all kinds of discounts. Usually, you can get 10% up to 50% off. Sweet!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The only down side. The item you might have wanted... will be gone. [​IMG]

    Ahh, but this is a secret, right? :rolleyes:

    Before you leave...check with the door prize desk. Sometimes you can pick-up those door prizes unclaimed. [​IMG]

    Promise me...you have no idea where this tip came from! :cool:
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Who? Said what? Huh? Never heard of him... [​IMG]

    [​IMG] :D

    Boxcab E50
  17. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    For those of you who like the GATS shows, this is gonna sound nasty, but bear with me here:

    The North Texas Council of Model RR Clubs hosts two big shows a year, one in Ft. Worth in November and one in Plano in January. the Lockheed Model Railroad Assn. (used to be General Dynamics) has their show at the LMRA complex in Ft. Worth in OCtober, a month before the Ft. Worth shindig.

    Several years ago, GATS tried to schedule shows in Dallas or Ft. Worth to coincide with the November show, and all but one local club boycotted their show out of protest (the one exception being from just north of here). GATS, as the old saying goes, crapped in their nest in these parts, and has been forced to reschedule their show in the Metroplex at another time so as to not interfere with the established shows.

    Now I was a big fan of GATS in the early years, and attended every GATS show in Kansas City from 1982-1986, but lately you couldn't drag me to one at gunpoint. They have since rescheduled at other times in the Metroplex, but from what I've heard there ain't enough good stuff to get me to go to one.

    That, of course, is MY opinion of GATS- YMMV. And no flamewar is intended, nor am I starting one about GATS. The opinion of those who like GATS is just as valuable as those who don't, and I respect your right to hold that opinion. That's what makes this hobby so diverse and interesting.

    OK, off that [​IMG] .....on to my opinion of train shows in general.

    At the Ft. Worth show, I've seen about the same vendors (including George from WigWag Trains recently, one of our TB members-yay!), and there are some who travel from show to show doing hobby business only at shows, not out of a brick-and-mortar shop. I've also met folks who are getting rid of their extra stuff, the quality of which ranges from great to you-gotta-be-kidding-me-with-that-crap. And, of course, the G scale layouts for the kids of all ages to see.

    Don't know about you, but even in this age of Internet shopping I still prefer to see what I'm wanting to buy up close & personal. To me, train shows have never gone out of style, but perhaps I'm old-fashioned, and I haven't seen a train show after gas has hit two dollars-plus a gallon yet.....
  18. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I enjoy train shows to see new stuff, look at the other scales and of course looking at the layouts. [​IMG]
  19. conagher

    conagher Guest

    In North, West & Central Florida, we have many shows throughout the year...sometimes at different locations during the same weekend.

    Most are train club open houses with nice operating layouts as part of the program while others are just swap meets...but fun nonetheless. Great places to meet friends and discuss trains.

    The NMRA show on the other hand, is disappointing and poorly attended by both vendors & visitors.

    Although I live in rural Dueling-Banjos Florida, there are 8 (yes, 8) train retailers within 25 miles of my house. It's difficult to save money.
  20. cf7

    cf7 TrainBoard Member

    friscobob- I live in fort worth and very rarely go to the shows anymore. Since the Lockheed show changed buildings, the show has gone WAY downhill. I am undecided as to whether I should go to the holiday show this next weekend.

    I guess I've been to these shows too much in my lifetime and I'm tired of the same 'ol vendors! Plus is it worth the 7 buck entry?

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