Author Topic: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?  (Read 2306 times)

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Puddington

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Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« on: November 19, 2011, 10:02:00 AM »
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Time was I would attend about 8 - 10 shows a year here in Ontario. The "big one", the Toronto Christmas Train Show was a must; a huge convention center filled with layouts and vendors all the way down to the little Port Hope, Ontario show, a half a dozen layouts and a few vendors. But lately, the shows have left me cold.

It seems that there is little, if anything new at shows here in Ontario. The same group of dedicated modelers come out with the same layouts; most of which are either getting tired looking from all the wear and tear or haven't had any work done on them in several years. The guys running them even seem a little "tired"; I have noticed a general reduction in the "train spirit" by those running layouts. Instead of actively engaging with the visitors, they seem more introspective; spending more time rerailing cars and talking among themselves rather than engaging the kids and parents.

The vendors are always the same and there are few, if any deals to be had. MSRP seems to have become the norm and I've even seen "show specials" that are higher than I can get at their LHS or on the web. Sure, once in a while you see soemthing new, odd ball or a used piece that catches your eye but they are now few and far between.

I admire anyone who sets up and displays at a show but if I'm feeling the "same old, same old" feeling I wonder if other are to. What can be done to "rejuvinate" shows, especially the smaller local ones.... it's the single best advertisment for our hobby we have....

Kinda bummed out about shows............ :|
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 10:03:41 AM by Puddington »
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

lock4244

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 10:22:20 AM »
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+1

The big show as I recall was the TRHA show at the International Centre at PIA every March. The show alway fell just before my birthday, and when younger, it was an orgy of unrestrained exhuberous spending. The show was always the same, but when young I barely noticed and it was second only to Christmas in terms of high holidays to me. As the years passed, it really went downhill, relocated to the Congress Centre, and eventually died (as I recall, the Xmas show started in the 1990's by a splinter group from the March show, typical in-fighting BS you see killing model RR clubs on a larger scale). Last attended the show in 1998 or 99, and haven't been to any show since. Unlike you, I don't miss them either. Time is better spent trackside, where I am as I write this... just shot brand new CP 8952 leading 112 at Newtonville. Much better show, IMO  :)
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Bendtracker1

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 10:33:37 AM »
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I have to agree with Puddington... :(

We've been saying that for the past 5 years or so with the local shows in the Lincoln and Omaha area.  The same old, same old and more traveling stores with higher than normal prices.

Although the big show in Omaha last year had moved to the Quest center and was much larger than before.  They also got the big boys to make an appearance: Walthers, Atlas, Kato, Athearn, Lionel and others were there for the first time.  I think it was the first time in a long time that I walked out of there with anticipation of something new.   Athearn was there showing off the second run IIRC of their N scale Bay Window cabooses!  The first thing I did on the following Monday was run to the LHS and get all three numbers of The Rock crummies on order!

One thing that I will be looking forward to again at this show was the Thomas the Tank ride!
I think we strolled up and down that line as much as we did through the vendors, looking at all the Hotties that was standing in line with their kiddies waiting for a ride.  It was refreshing and rare to them that many at a train show!    :trollface:  LOL
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 10:35:38 AM by Bendtracker1 »

davefoxx

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 10:34:30 AM »
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+3.  It's been years since I found and bought something noteworthy at a train show.  I usually just go for the local asshattery nowadays, if I go at all.

DFF

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diezmon

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 10:40:53 AM »
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there's one today in my town.. that I'm skipping for these same reasons

they call it a train show, but it's usually a couple of crappy lionel loops for the kids and the rest is the same guys.  Books, merchandise mostly from hobby shops, selling the same 'ol stuff.  With the charge to just get in, it's just not worth it.  :(

chuck geiger

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 11:10:33 AM »
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You can find so much more at the local asshatery:

1.    Asshatery   165 up, 11 down
The state or condition of being an a$$hat. Having the collective qualitites or characters of an a$$hat.
"His antics were a perfect example of asshatery

GATS was in Wichita when I lived  there in 2004, last time I was at a show, other than to sell my
HO collection at club swap meets in LA. The prices are better at club shows. It's hard to find clubs
or modelers selling items at organized train shows these days. The table cost is too high for some.
LHS's just bring their inventory to the shows.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 11:52:15 AM by chuck geiger »
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ljudice

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 11:22:20 AM »
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I agree.  I tend to go the shows to pick up oddball stuff I missed somehow - but with Ebay I can usually find this stuff with a little patience at any time.

- Lou


tehachapifan

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 11:28:57 AM »
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I feel the same way about some shows as of late, which is same 'ol, same 'ol year after year (same layouts, same vendors with the same 'ol sh.......stuff). However I just had a thought. Maybe it's me! Maybe my expectations are too high. I mean, what am I expecting? All brand new club layouts to look at every year? Perhaps it is unrealistic to relive the excitement of the first show I ever went to when I'm going back for the umteenth time. While I'm walking out of a show with my head hung in disappointment, the first time visitors there might be having a great time.

Russ
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 11:33:18 AM by tehachapifan »
Russ

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 11:35:01 AM »
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I feel the same way about some shows as of late, which is same 'ol, same 'ol year after year (same layouts, same vendors with the same 'ol sh.......stuff). However I just had a thought. Maybe it's me! Maybe my expectations are too high. I mean, what am I expecting? All brand new club layouts to look at every year? Perhaps it is unrealistic to relive the excitement of the first show I ever went to when I'm going back for the umteenth time. While I'm walking out of this show with my head hung in disappointment, the first time visitors there might be having a great time.

Russ

There's a lot of truth in that post.

I try to go to local shows to show support for the hobby.  And yeah, I'll buy a thing or two that I might have gotten cheaper through eBay or something.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 11:42:20 AM by MichaelWinicki »

Brewmaster

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 11:55:42 AM »
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Shows seem to have been on a steady decline here for years.  The last one I attended was the Great Train Expo ( I think it was GTE) in Richmond several weeks ago.  They were charging for parking and making people feel as though they would be ticketed if they parked in any of the hundreds of public spaces literally closer to the show than the lot they were charging for.  WTF? :facepalm:

I bought a magazine and some Dremel parts.

bbussey

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2011, 11:56:04 AM »
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The only shows I go to now are the ones that are part of the conventions and trade shows, where they are more targeted toward the model railroader.  I don't even go to Timonium anymore.  It's easier, less costly and less time-consuming to locate items online.
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Puddington

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2011, 12:22:14 PM »
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The point about our expectations is valid and well put. I know that having been to these shows for over 20 years running in some cases that I can't expect the "wow" factor. I do expect, however, something more than stagnation on the layouts. Just as my layout is ever changing, I have a hard time understanding how a modular layout from a club with 20 plus guys (and they are all there, in their little vests and caps, talking with each other and not the patrons) can't change one iota in a three or four year period. The same "unfinished" section is still unfinished. And for heaven sakes, talk to the kids and visitors instead of the "guys"... you can talk to them any time... and don't get me started on the "NRHA clinic tables guys"... look down and work on your craftmans kit why don't you - you wouldn't want to speak with a 12 year old who is dying to ask you a question now would you...?

I feel a bit bad being critical but the point is, yes, the first timer will have the "wow" factor, but when he brings his kid the next year and it's dang near exactly the same the 'wow" becomes "why"....

Vendors are another matter. There are fewer LHS so fewer vendors, the table costs have gone up and the internet makes most things easy to get. I don't expect it to be like ten plus years ago when you raced around to see what guys had and scooped up stuff for fear it would disappear quickly, but the pricing models these vendors use; what happened to a real show special ? What happened to "no tax" ? What happened to the exciting finds. I'm pretty good friends with a couple of large Ontario LHS owners and they are starting to back off their show scedules because there's no point in hauling stuff there because no one buys.... well; maybe it's because there's no deals ? When I posed this to them they said that with the cost of the day, the table, the labour and the smaller crowds, there's no margin in anything except MSRP or very slight discounts from that.

I fear that the vendor side of many shows will dry up and, in turn, the shows themselves will too....(and the lack of good lego train layouts sucks too, they were always a draw...LOL)
Model railroading isn't saving my life, but it's providing me moments of joy not normally associated with my current situation..... Train are good!

CBQ Fan

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 12:27:24 PM »
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I used to love going to the show at the DuPage fairgrounds in Wheaton, IL back in the 90's.  But with the internet in general and EBay it has made the train show much less relevant.  I can find out all the new info online, I can find the best deal on line, I don't have to pay for gas/parking/entrance fee and I don't have to smell that guy in front of me in the crowded aisle.  For me I feel like I have to buy enough product to offset my expenses in getting there.  I did take my son a few years back and that was fun for us.  Now I don't live close enough to a show to go regulary.  There is one in Indy every year I need to try.
Brian

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packers#1

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2011, 12:41:26 PM »
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Personally, I don't have the same feelings, but then I've been to two shows in my life and there's really nothing local. Last winter myself and a couple other TAMR guys went to the World's Greatest Hobby Show in the ATL and we had a booth. Lemme tell you, that was really fun. The front half of the convention hall was vendors and sellers. I picked up some Atlas 2-bay hoppers, Supertrees and FlocknTurf, and various other items without having to pay the shipping costs or spending gasoline to go across the river to Augusta. I will admit there wasn't much in the way of good booths, although Bachmann would probably get my thumbs-up for having a great display. Anyways, the second half of the place was just layouts, with a lot of modular groups having huge layouts. I remember one module in particular that had an absolutely beautiful river scene. One guy was operating trains with his Android phone or something, and when I asked him about the app, he said he wrote the thing himself. I didn't really talk to the guys operating trains, but the Supertrees guy, Kato gentleman, and Bachmann guy I talked to were all cool, as was the train display guy in the booth next to us. But the coolest thing was all the kids milling through; it reassured me trains are still a big part of American lives.
Then there was the first show I went to in Greenville, SC. It's a small little local show like what y'all are discussing, but it's new, this probably being the third year. I didn't go the second year, but the first was pretty good. There was one really nice layout and a few others, a couple of big LHS booths, but there were also a couple of used vendors. My big score was a decent amount of old Model Railroaders, including one with a feature article on the V&O  8) I also picked up some crummy rolling stock with pizza cutters and crapidos that served me well and provided a base for projects etc.
Just a different perspective, I defer to you fellas though because y'all have been to a LOT more shows than me though!
Sawyer Berry
Clemson University graduate, c/o 2018

SkipGear

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2011, 12:51:00 PM »
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It's all a matter of point of view. 

 Pud, you yourself said that you have been going for 20 years now. It's old hat for you now. There is no long out of production item that you are looking for anymore because you probably have found it in the past 19 years. I'm the same way, there is really nothing I need to buy so I am not real excited about the vendors and don't scour them like I used to. It would be really hard to be impressed because you have seen it all and probably own half of it.

 I do understand the point of stagnant club, our Ntrak club is in that stage right now and we are trying to light the fires to get people to freshen up their modules or build some new ones to retire the old ones. We have a couple new members that are starting modules so that may kick things off. The clubs are in the same boat as you though, for most cases they have been going for 20 years and it is getting old hat for them too. They settle into a comfortable rutt.

 Our hobbyshop has been involved in the local NMRA Div. 7 show for about 5 years now. At this point, for me, the show is getting to be old hat. I didn't even find time to cruise the whole show this year other than a quick run through. I even forgot to hit a room of layouts which had two new clubs in it. On the flip side of that, I talk to customers that went to the show and were wow'ed with the layouts and variety of stuff they found. They came back happy and ready to go next year. This kind of enthusiasm is what keeps us going back. It refreshing to see new people get excited about the hobby. I really don't care if the shows excite the old guard, if the new people enjoy it, that is what matters. The point of these shows it to expose the hobby to new people, otherwise we would just do layout tours in our basements.
Tony Hines