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Model Railroading > Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest

Date: 01/28/23 16:50
Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: bravesfan

I've been a Lionel/O Scale collector all my life and attended the TCA meet at York, PA in years past.  As I get older and the possibility of having to downsize in the future, I'm shifting my interest into HO scale Tangent, Athearn Genesis, ScaleTrains, etc.  Watching YouTube highlights from Amherst has gotten my attention.  My next big trainshow trip will be either Amherst or Trainfest.  Some of you guys who possibly attend both shows, which is the best?  Thanks for all your info.


Date: 01/28/23 18:09
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: gandydancer4

I started going to Trainfest in the late 80s and have continued to go every year since. Back in the day, there were A LOT of exhibitors. Obviously, it has been scaled back the last several years because of Covid but it started shrinking before the pandemic hit. I must say however that what is has lacked in numbers, it has made up for in QUALITY of vendors, products and layouts. I would LOVE to go Amherst one day but it's a little far for me. I can't speak for Amherst but Trainfest is awfully good.  

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/23 18:10 by gandydancer4.

Date: 01/28/23 21:57
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: sixaxlecentury

Amherst by a wide margin.  No comparison in my book. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/23 21:57 by sixaxlecentury.

Date: 01/29/23 09:06
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: pennsy3750

I'll vote for Amherst as well.

Also note that the show in actually held in West Springfield and not Amherst.  The name is derived from the Amherst Railway Society, which puts on the show; they trace their roots back to a student organization at UMass in Amherst, where the show was held until the early 1980s.

Date: 01/29/23 10:53
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: Frank30

The Amherst Show has grown over the years to consist of 2 huge buildings and 2 smaller buildings. It's large enough
to attract manufacturers and distributors.  For the visitor who really really wants to visit all the exhibitors, that
could take more than one day, depending on the density of the crowds.  You could prepare for Amherst by running
a few half or full marathons in advance, otherwise your legs are going to give out!   To determine number of tables
and layouts you need to refer to the program and multiply each exhibitor by the number of tables each one has and
that will only be an estimate as some exhibitors consume a complete numbered section which could be 20 or more tables,
so this show is LARGE.

I have not attended Trainfest so I have no idea how big it is.   Somebody who has been to Amherst and the York  PA
Train Collectors Shows and Trainfest may want to chime in on the comparative sizes of these shows.


Date: 01/29/23 15:51
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: SPDRGWfan

I've been to Amhearst 3 times and it was always a great show.  But all 3 times the weather was bitter and lots of snow.  I'm too far away and have a long honey-do list so no plans to go for the forseeable future.

Date: 02/02/23 04:44
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: tunnelmotor

I attended Amherst this weekend. I am from the UK where the largest and most impressive show is at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, called the Warley National, hosted and organised by the Warley MRC. It is in one large hall at the NEC in late November (usually your Thanksgiving Weekend) and attracts large crowds and all the major UK manufacturers including Mr Kato himself from Japan this past year. You need two days to do it justice. That all said Amherst is way bigger and has a very good blend of vendors and layouts across all the major scales and gauges. It must be double the size of anything in the UK, if not greater. I believe the attendance on Saturday at Amherst was just below 12,000 and all vendors I spoke to said they had a fantastic day. I have never been to Trainfest. For details of the Amherst show you can always seek out their website to look at the floor plan and the list of exhibitors if is still up there. I heard one rumour that the organisers have a long list of exhibitors wishing to get in too - could it get bigger?
Mike Arnold

Date: 02/02/23 07:19
Re: Which Show is Best--Amherst or Trainfest
Author: dh1205

As someone who usually attends both, I would pick Amherst over trainfest anyday.  It is a much bigger show, with more venders.  I still think Trainfest is worth at attending if you can do both. 

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