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My wife and I live about two hours from York, PA and we're planing to go.  I've never been to the large scale show, or really to any train show. I know manufacturers/vendors will set up booths, there will be displays etc. I'm wondering specifically if things are any cheaper at the show? Is it a good place or bargains?

We're planning some track expansion and I've been pricing Aristo train engineer components. I asume I'll find both at the show--would they likely be any cheaper than online or local dealers?

thanks
 

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In my experience at the show, all the larger suppliers and discount retailers are present and most of the smaller suppliers are there as well. Generally, for most regularly available items, prices tend to be very good and there are some outright bargains.

However, if your intention is to save a wad of cash, by the time you factor in the drive and gas, it would most likely be less expensive and more convenient to simply order the items you seek.

The real reasons for going to the show, imho, are
1) to meet the folks who model in large scale or who are in the business - to share thoughts and ideas on the hobby
2) to see some of the modular layouts and occasionally some very fine models that may be displayed
3) to see first hand products which may new or not otherwise very common in your home neighbourhood

The ECLSTS is a great show to attend ... but don't let the urge to treat it as a trip to the shopping mall overwhelm you or you will be disappointed.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Lownote,


The answer to your questions is "Yes".  While most places will charge the same price as what you see online,  the difference is in the shipping.  The dealers are the same dealers as you see online, with the big exception of Nicholas Smith.  For whatever reason, he has a huge inventory of late model Aristo equipment.  Older black and gray box stuff.  Be advised,  Friday is typically a 'feeding frenzy' at this show.  However, toward the end of the show on Saturday is when you can make some good deals, so there's reason to spend the weekend at the show.  The dealers include St Aubins and USA Trains (Charles Ro), Trainworld, Start Hobby, the list goes on and on.  You can find all the details of the dealers, at the Aristocraft board.  However, there are a lot of the smaller manufacturers that you might never hear about, like Colorado Models. 


I have been going to the ECLSTS since 2002, and with each year, I feel it gets better.  Even though I like to buy train stuff when I am there, I really like meeting up with my large scale buddies, many of whom I only see at the show.  Be advised: this is not something you'll want to schedule an hour or two for.  It is really an all day event, two really.   My wife will come for an hour or two, but I can spend the entire day there.  Browsing dealers, chatting with friends, making new friends, browsing the dealers again, hitting the ATM, viewing operating layouts, etc...


You will be able to find everything and anything made in large scale. Plus, you get to hold it in your hot little hand before making the purchase.  Also, you will find deals that you cannot find online.  Example, USA trains streamlined passenger cars: 5 car set is typically over $1000.  At the show last year, they were selling for $900.  They had a bonus deal for an extra $200 you would get a PA PB. I don't remember why, but when a buddy bought the 5 car set, but didn't care for PA's, I didn't try and buy the PA-PB.  Oh! That's right.  I bought sound.  


Anyway, it is a really great event, and it is about as much about getting great deals as it is about making friends and sharing the hobby.


Mark
 

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I think that Doug hit the nail right on the head with his three reasons to go to ECLSTS.
One additional thing is that this show is ONLY large scale and thus it is not cluttered up with N, HO, etc. (not meant to be snobby).

The folks are all nice, the modular layouts are all just great (especially The Big Green ;)) and you will certainly find some bargins to take home with you.

Enjoy yourself.

Tom
 

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Doug's three reasons are great, but can use some expansion.
to see some of the modular layouts

There are two halls - one full of vendors and the other full of an amazing variety of layouts. A couple of years ago I photographed what I called a 'furniture' train - a train of fanciful wooden cars made from polished and varnished wood. The live steam guys are there running on a bare-bones track (don't want to get steam and oil on scenery, do we?) Two garden railway societies do a lay-out on the floor, complete with plants. And there are some exquisite conventional layouts with scenery, etc.
products which may new

The major vendors usually show up with pre-production samples of their latest announced products, which you can view and hold in your hands (if you ask nicely.) Rich Yoder let me get close and personal with his brass EBT hopper last year - maybe this year he'll have some to sell.
Nicholas Smith brings all his cast-offs and sells them at ridiculous prices. So if you want a coach body to chop/bash, he may have one. Other vendors bring obsolete stock - I turned down a Bachmann Big Hauler in the original box for $25 (all those plastic wheels - shudder,) and the guy with all the Lionel Atlantics usually tries to get rid of a few more. The smaller vendors are very interesting - miniature plants, wagon loads, DCC and r/c, etc.
 

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And let us not forget friendly answers to your questions by those in the hobby not just those out to sell what they have in stock.
Good to see you on board Dave
 

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There is an abundance of used/old/hard to find items also.

Some great bargains, I found a box of 1 foot aluminum track last year for $10.00 for 12 pieces. That is less than a dollar per foot!! Great for display shelves or sidings.

Even though I have to pay for a hotel and meals, I look at this as a vacation and I get to meet people I know and get trains!!!

Sounds like the one starting this thread will not have to pay for a hotel, such a deal!!!
 

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I would like to add a few more reasons. If you have the time, add a couple of more days to your trip and visit the Railroad Museum of Penn. and also ride the Strasburg Train which is litterly just across the street. If you miss those, you will regret it, and it is only about 1 hr. away, if that much. We had a wonderful time at both places while we were there. I couldn't say enough good things about the friendly people we met at the show, at the museum, and at the Strasburg Depot.

We also took a side trip to the Hersheypark, where I bought enough chocolate to last a year.:D We also inhabited a few of the Amish resturants here and there, and my wife visited some of their quilting fabrics shops. 
 

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Bob reminded me of something.  

Lownote, you could also plan to spend all day Friday or Saturday at the show, and send your wife up to the Hotel Hershey.  Specifically, to the SPA.  Now this doesn't sound all that great to me, but you can get dipped / wrapped in chocolate (think mud bath).  The Spa there is supposedly one of the best in the country.  And if she's going there for one treatment, say a manicure, she has access to the facility for the entire day.  Um,  I don't know about you, but if I sent MB to the Spa where she could get dipped in chocolate, I doubt she'd say anything about me purchasing large quantites of trains.   And this is not hypothetical! A few years ago, Jerry McColgan came up from Arkansas with his wife and stayed with us.  Jerry and I sent MB and Marilyn for massage.  They had a very relaxing day, and Jerry and I enjoyed our day at the show. It was a win-win.  

We joked a few years ago about renting out one of the vendor spaces for the "Train Widow's Club".  It'd be filled with anything but trains, for our spouses and significant others who can only handle so much!!

Mark
 
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