I remember that first York show that I did with my Son Charlie many years ago. York had always been a place that I really didn't want to go, but finally out of curiosity I had to. But that first time I was not prepared in the least for what would happen.
Since I had an enormous inventory at the time of original Mint Lionel and American Flyer catalogs, I decided to take one table and see what would happen selling only catalogs.
So that fine Thursday afternoon I picked Charlie up after school and we started the 6 hour drive to stay in Harrisburg that night before making the final trek down to York in the morning.
I remember arriving in York. Now in my mind I had pegged The City of York as being a small town. I had no idea that we would get involved in a huge traffic jam as we did that Friday morning. Congestion like that is never seen in my home town, which is much bigger than York. And finally when we got to the Fairgrounds it was raining like heck and there were absolutely no parking places near our building.
They did allow us to unload so that the thousands of dollars worth of catalogs I had brought didn't suffer water damage. And finally we were in the building after I had parked the car.
We must have looked like drowning cats as we rolled the paper inventory through the hall trying to find our table. I was a little embarrassed by the fact that it was obvious we were new as everyone stared at us as if we were nuts for getting to the show so late.
But finally we found our table, set up, and everything went pretty well from there. We ended up having a very good show and made some good friends at the same time.
And I was in awe of the huge train show and hooked for life. At least at the time I thought I was.
So we went to every show, Spring and Fall from then on, and eventually York became the last train show that we attended.
One year ago, I made the difficult decision to end our York run. I made the announcement on these pages and the announcement made some noise in the train community ending up with a comment in an editorial in Classic Toy Trains. (You can read my article I am talking about if you go to our archives and then click on the article entitled ‘Missing York').
And now I have found that the curse of York has struck at the same time as every York show since I quit going.
Last year at the spring show I ended up purchasing a huge Lionel Collection in Michigan. Last Fall I purchased a huge American Flyer Collection in Michigan once again. And now this year the curse continues as instead of going to York, I will be making a huge buying trip out West.
The reason I call this a curse is possibly because although I mentioned my reasons for quitting the York show in the article last year, maybe deep in side I feel that laziness and the fear of travel had something to do with it. OK, the show after doing it all those years wore me out. It is a lot of work, and maybe I was at the point where I need to relax a little. Maybe!!
So ironically at each of the shows I have missed in reality I have had to work harder and travel farther!
But this curse actually is a blessing. We only sold at York. It was very difficult for me to get away from the tables to buy trains there although a couple of collections did click because of the show. But now if I can count on buying a big collection instead of going to York each year, I am so much better off especially since our on-line store and choochooauctions.com have become so successful for us.
And there is nothing more fun to me right now than to travel to a different part of the country and buy trains. Although, don't get me wrong, it is very, very hard work. But in reality I do love it, even though sometimes I try to kid myself.
When the two collections that I will be purchasing this week started to click and I realized I might have to make one very long trip (2200 miles) out of it, I cringed at first. But then after a while I thought, well by George, this could be a good thing. If you don't work, you don't make any money, so you might as well make the best of it. So now I am really excited about this trip. And was very happy to purchase the other two collections as well.
But I do admit the best part of any trip for me is getting home!! And what about my decision to stop doing shows? OK, let's put it this way. It was a very good decision! But I still miss my friends at York!!!
If you would like more information on the TCA Eastern Division York show please click here.
If you have comments or feedback regarding this article or any subject having to do with electric trains, please feel free to visit our message boards, where you can discuss topics related to trains with other train enthusiasts.
For questions or comments, please email or call us at
(814) 833-8313. Fax: (814) 838-3237
Train City, 3133 Zuck Road, Erie, Pa. 16506
All Rights Reserved