By Peter Mumby.
|So, can you point me towards the nearest CSX interchange?|
and I attended the 53rd annual Amherst Railway Society Show ( a.k.a.
"The Springfield Show") on Saturday January 25, 2020. I had heard a lot
about this show from local hobbyists who attended on a semi-regular
basis and were enthusiastic about the experience. However, for years I
had been attending local train shows as a vendor, and had a show which
conflicted with the Springfield date. When I retired this small
business at the end of 2019 after 40 years of operation, I was ready to
give the big show a try when George indicated he was planning to attend.
are well aware of the scope of this show long before you see your first
train display. Consider the length of the line-up of cars waiting to
turn into the Eastern States Exposition lot, the multiplicity of police
officers on traffic duty, and the number of ticket booths where you line
up to purchase your admission arm band. Also consider the cost - $5 to
park, and $15 for admission.
were on site before 9:00, so we were present for the air horn blast
that signaled the opening of the doors. Yikes! How many decibels was
that? There were a few outdoor displays, so we decided to check these
out and avoid the initial entry queues. A cold rain was in the forecast
for mid-afternoon, so this was the right time for outdoor photography.
The Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum had a narrow
gauge locomotive outside the Better Living Center - under steam, yet!
Also present was an interesting MOW truck in New Haven lettering.
|Our friend Luc enjoys collecting photos of railroad service vehicles. This one should be right up his alley.|
|Railway societies representing many lines from the Northeast were present at the show.|
show itself featured 415 exhibitors spread out through 4 separate
buildings. Before we started our tour, we had agreed to aim for a 3:30
quit time as a way to avoid the exit stampede from the parking lot, so
we knew we would not be able to see everything. As it turned out, we
only visited three of the four buildings. If we saw half of the
displays in each area, that means that we took in about 40% of the show -
166 of the booths. Sounds about right.
were lots of vendors of the ordinary plastic locomotives and rolling
stock which you will see at any train show. I was expecting to see lots
of the latest and greatest releases, but was surprised to see that a
large proportion of what was on offer seemed to be older stock. The
prices also surprised me. I was expecting to see more mark-downs and
clear-outs, so I found both new and used items to be a bit expensive,
even before I calculated in the differential between the Canadian and
American dollars. The flip side of this is that it is a wonder we don't
have more American visitors at our Southern Ontario train shows where
they would certainly get more bang for their high-powered buck. But I
|Our friends Clare and Andy were taking care of business at the Sylvan Scale Models booth.|
|There were smiles all around, since George had just ponied up the cash for his Central Vermont membership.|
Many of the
structure kit manufacturers ( think Fos Scale, Railroad Kits, ITLA, and
Hunterline, for example) had very impressive displays.
Manufacturers/Distributors such as Walthers, Athearn, Rapido Trains, and
Atlas had booths. Scale Trains was probably my favourite in this
category. Prototype and historical groups were well represented and
offered books, calendars, and clothing for sale. We spent a fair amount
of time checking out the HO scale vehicle displays in the Mallary
complex. In this same venue there were a variety of kid-centric
displays, including a huge Lego display layout and stage shows by Maggie
the Train Clown. Something for everyone, indeed.
I had a complaint about the show, it would be that attendees of a
certain age could really use more places to sit down for a few minutes.
We were fortunate around 2:30 to find a couple of seats in the Bar
Mills clinic area where we could rest our bones and take in a few tips
and modelling tricks at the same time.