The York Report

My Son John and I returned home from the York show last night in record time. We may have done something that no one has ever done before. York, Pennsylvania is 340 miles away from our home town of Erie. Generally it takes 6 to 6 hours travel time. We made it in 5 hours, going without making one stop. That made the old kidneys jump around a little, but we made it just in time. Now that I've done that, I can honestly say, I don't want to do it again!

The first thing that I noticed when we arrived at York on Thursday was Lionel's exciting display. They had brought a gigantic big screen that was set up outside their tent with their Lionel Train Vision displayed. They even had speakers that echoed the train sounds that you could hear from quite a ways away. I was impressed. I was going to take some pictures, but I just couldn't get away from my table to do that.

But I did get some pictures of my table before the show, and when I get time to organize the picture section I'll add them as well. (Don't forget I did this at high risk because you aren't supposed to take pictures. I think they hung the last person they caught doing it, so I hope you appreciate those York pictures!)

I was going to try to keep this report dignified and business like, but it doesn't seem to be going in that direction. Seems to be a trend with these topics. Oh well.

Thank you very much to everyone who stopped by our tables to say hi. It was very nice talking to everyone who did. As always it is fantastic meeting new people, especially people that do business through the mail. It's nice to put a face with a voice. Nothing like talking trains at a train show.

Ed Dougherty stopped by. I didn't realize it, but Ed slipped some disks in his back shortly after the October York show and has been off the tour. That's really to bad because he was supposed to join the Senior PGA Tour this year. But he was feeling better, and with any luck will recover fully and get back to that great golf game of his.

People constantly ask if we handle parts. I don't. Usually I refer them to Lew Warren of Cleveland, Ohio who deals mainly in Lionel parts. He has a humongous inventory of some 8000 parts. I talked to Lew at the show, and decided it might be a good idea to link to his web page. So if you need parts, go to our links page and go to Warren's Toy Train Parts. He will probably have what you need in Lionel Parts.

One thing I should say about the bathrooms at York. Although they all are very far away from Purple Hall, once you get there, you have a big choice to make. There must be 100 urinals. I was thinking of starting at one end and ending up at the other end of the bathroom, maybe set another record, but ah shucks we did the non-stop from York to Erie, so there is no real need I guess. (Did I really say that?)

I have to rescind one of my complaints from the last topic. They lowered the volume on the announcements. It was wonderful! There even seemed to be less announcements this time. I could actually semi function mentally by the end of the show. That was nice!

The weather was spectacular in York on Friday and Saturday. They would have been great golf days. Just my luck! I can remember some horrible whether on the York weekend, so it was very nice indeed.

The first York show that myself and my Son Charlie went to many years ago was the worst. We didn't know any better to set up on Thursday, so we finally arrived Friday morning well after the show had already started. It took us a while to find Purple Hall. It was raining as hard as you can imagine that morning. That was miserable start to our York show experiences. But I remember it turned out to be a very good show despite the rain. I remember other years were the water actually came into the building, and flooded under some tables. That was unfortunate because some of the trains got wet that were sitting under those tables. Not a good thing!

The business part of the show started out very slowly for sales for some reason. I had made a sales goal, and we just weren't doing very well towards that goal by mid-day Friday. Not to worry though, as around 3PM suddenly people started emptying their wallets. Funny, because the exact same thing happened on Saturday. I think we had a total of one return and one sale until around 12:30PM, just when we were starting to get ready to pack up. (The show closes at 2PM.) I'm wondering, maybe people do that on purpose. I don't know if it is or not, but I sure did appreciate it. We had several large sales in a row that helped us double the goal I had set for the show. Now if I could only do that with my golf game!

Evidently my goal was a little low, so the show wasn't the worst that we have had, but not the best either, although I obviously didn't expect it to be. The best shows are when you have just purchased a huge collection and have so many trains you don't know what to do with. That wasn't the case for this show, so I didn't expect nearly as good of a show as we ended up having.

One dealer attributed his slow sales to the stock market. They are putting all their money in the market, and that is a possibility I suppose. Someone sure is! But you can't play with those stock certificates. They just don't handle the tight curves as well as trains with flanged wheels do, so I don't take much stock in that statement. But in a way it has some truth to it. When the train market was going nuts a couple of years ago people actually were investing in trains as they would the stock market.

I think the train market is back on the right track. People are buying trains for the right reasons now. Not necessarily for investment. If the value of a train goes up while you own it, that's great. But that's not why you own a train. A train is a toy, and a toy is to have fun with or look at and play with. You don't buy a toy for investment, you buy it because you like it, because it makes you happy. And that is what this hobby is about. To make people happy and help fulfill their lives.

And yes, there are a whole lot of happy people out there because of this hobby. And I'm happy to say that I saw a whole lot of them this past weekend at York. I hope to see a whole lot more next October at York.

Thanks to all that read our pages. And have fun with those trains.

 Back to Archives

Revised 4/26/98