Revitalizing Model Train Shows

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Will_annand, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I guess most of us have been to at least one model train show. balloon6
    Most are the same, some better than others.

    When you go to a model train show, is there anytime you say

    "I wish that they had/ did ___________________"


    "It was great to see that they did/had ________________"

    Please fill in the blanks guys and gals.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    When I get to a model train show it is to operate trains on the modular club's layout. I occassionally buy stuff, but more often than not out here the venders are either dealing in Lionel or LGB stuff. Sometimes a vendor will have a bunch of misc. ho body shells, etc. When I can find "cheap junk" it is fun to pick it up for kit bashing projects.
  3. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    "I wish that they had a bargain or 2"

    "It was great to see that they had " a new release item, that I only saw pics of, Now I saw it for real"
  4. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Russ and Mikey, are you saying (other than club work, Russ) the main reason you go to a show is to visit the vendors?
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    How true. I go to the Amherst MRR club show at the Big E in Agawam, MA every year ( ) , but most of the dealer's pricing is at or maybe just below MSRP. Very seldom do I walk out of that place with anything except for pics of the layouts.

    IF I were to haul all of that stuff that some of those guys bring, I'd try and sell everything, just so I wouldn't have to haul it back. Even 50% percent off is better than having to bring it home and restock and wait until next year to haul it back.

    I know of one hobby shop that has an area at the show that is larger than the actual shop. They must literally empty the whole shop out and bring it to that show. To go through all of that work and sell some stuff at regular price doesn't seem like a good plan, but then on the other hand, I don't own a HS and never had any dealings from the HS owner's point of view.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think you misunderstood. There are only two or three things to do at a train show. I can run my trains on the club layout or buy stuff from the vendors. I can also take a look at what the other modular clubs are doing. I mostly operate trains when I get to a show. I don't consider operating my trains on the club layout as "work." By show, I mean commercial shows, not NMRA meets. At the NMRA divisional and regional meets, they have workshops to attend, model contests, etc.
  7. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Up here in Central Ontario, we have club run shows.

    Most are just local clubs showing modular layouts and regional vendors.

    I was wondering what could be added to these shows to attract people to attend.
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Around in the Phoenix area, a "train show" may or may not have someone actually running trains. It's usually a swap meet, where you swap your money for someone's old junk.hamr

    Under, "it was great to see", I can only say it was great to see the same old vendors there with the same crap they had and couldn't sell at their last show. :cry::cry: I hope you can see the sarcasm in that)announce1

    Under the "I wish they had" I'd say, more N scale. The last show I went to, I bought someone's box lot of N scale stuff, and that constituted 50% of the N scale at that show.:rolleyes::rolleyes: This I don't understand since a table of N scale takes up so little room compared to say, G scale.sign1sign1
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think the biggest thing is publicity. People don't attend something they don't know about. If it is a model railroad show, and well publicised, those who like trains will come and those who don't care won't. Those people who aren't interrested in trains won't come no matter what you do. The ones who do like trains will come if they know about it. The other factor is with the modular clubs themselves. If the modules become stagnet due to no new modules being built and added to the club layout, return visitors may become bored aftewr a couple of visits seeing the same modules everytime. That is one of the plus things about modular railroading is that the layout changes at each show. If you go to an open house at a permanent club layout, once the layout is complete, it doesn't change.
  10. zedob

    zedob Member

    Are you trying to attract other established modelers who just may not know about the show, or are you trying to attract the general public? Even though the show I mentioned is filled with MRRers, there is a large non modeling crowd from the general public who go to see what it's all about. Most of them find out by hearing about it on the radio, or by seeing shots of the show on the nightly news. However, this show has been around for years and has built up a reputation (can't help that if you have three large buildings crammed with train stuff).

    Advertising by flyer at hobby shops, grocery, hardware stores is about the cheapest way to go to attract locals. This may sound crazy, but put some flyers up in a hair salon. I'd bet money on it that if it's an attractive poster or flyer, there will be some talk spreading around town before long.
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    "I wish that they had _more manufacturer participation / demos / clinics _"


    "It was great to see that they did/had _some nice club layouts_"

    Okay, Saturday was my first train show here in Houston. I enjoyed the experience, but overall I will say that I was dissappointed. Out of all the booths, a full third of them were selling stuff like hats, t-shirts, photos, mugs, cups, and plates. And another third of the booths were filled with a gazillion Thomas the Tank Engines stuff.

    "Where are all the trains and track and structures??"

    Perhaps my original anticipation and expectations were unrealistic.

    I figured there would have been quite a few folks there selling bargain odds and ends type stuff, where you dig through it and find cheap stuff that can be refurbished and put to good use on the layout. There were a couple of these folks there and I did by a couple of things.

    It was nice having the manufacturers there, but their booths were kind of dull. They didn't have all that much stuff to show.

    As was mentioned in a previous post, the other vendors were selling stuff at the same prices that I can find at the LHS... so I had no reason to spend my money at the show, I would rather buy from the LHS and keep him in business.

    Now, the plus side... the LHS owner was there and he gave me a 20% off coupon for any and every purchase at his shop throughout January. Looks like I will soon be the proud owner of a digitrax system!

    oh... my camera battery went down shortly after I arrived at the show :(
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Also, my overall feeling after having left the show was that many of the booths were run not so much by people who are dedicated to and love the hobby, but by people who were looking to make $$ off the hobbyists. Perhaps my perception was incorrect? I hope so.
  13. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    All I can add to this is:

    I have no "Club Level" shows near me.

    What I mean by a show is a larger show, where vendors pay upwards of $80.00 per table (Some have 6 tables) for a 2 day show. They sometimes can't aford to mark down items because they have to at least make their admission fees & table fees back.

    I guess I used the question to vent a bit. Also - it's pretty much standard procedure that vendors will walk around "early" and scoop up any "bargains" before the show opens to the general public.

    Being in G - I seldom see a real bargain - but I still go to these shows to see the many vendors (some are friends) and the layouts.

    But as was said before.. there are a few local modular layouts that get 1 or 2 new modules every year - the rest of the 30 - 40 modules are the same.. year after year..... :(
  14. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Also, I've witnessed repeated "price Gouging" near the entrance to some large shows.

    If you go through the show (or start at the back) you usually find cheaper prices. The front vendors rely on "impulse buyers" to make their money fast :( :(
  15. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    i wish they were more often and had more marx
  16. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    More Marx???

    Groucho, Harpo, Chico or Karl?
  17. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    louis :D aussie
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've been going to shows for years and I've seen most of the combinations.
    For various reasons (usually taxes), we don't get the great big shows (Greenburgs and such) in Canada. I think at the last big show there were 3 manufacturers.
    What I look for is: a friendly greeting (but not too overpowering), something new -- a new layout or changes to an old one, something to interest my wife (and it doesn't have to be a Thomas dish towel).
    Bonuses: someone selling or displaying British trains. A demonstration of something I don't know or couldn't figure out (Dry brushing was one.)
    Extend my visit: a seating area (doesn't need coffee) for my wife while I go around for the third time. A room/corner with videos or movies.
  19. Freelancer

    Freelancer Member

    "I wish that they had....." New layouts! Most clubs/layouts are the same at each show. Don't get me wrong there are some nice layouts, but if you have gone to one show, the next 5-10+ shows you are going to see the same stuff.

    "I wish that they had....." Layouts that the public could operate. That would be one heck of a task though! Sometimes I feel like offering my throttle to an interested modeler to take a train around the layout. However, I know that the second I do that, I will be swarmed and will not get a chance to operate myself. Plus, fellow members would be very upset!

    "I wish that they were....." Spread out, the shows tend to be scheduled close to each other, and then the rest of the year there aren't any. Like this month, there are three shows scheduled for each weekend. Then there aren't any shows for another two months, then after that the next one isn't until the end of the year.

    "It was great to see that they did...." Have a show in the first place! It is always something to look forward too. Even if they are the same layouts. :)

  20. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    been to one train show don't think i'll be going to another.

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