An outing to the East Coast Large Scale Train Show

Every spring the East Coast Large Scale Train Show is held in York, Pennsylvania. I am not quite sure of the reasons why York would be at the epicenter of large scale train shows along the east coast of the US, but there it is. 

York is not the most prosperous small city. Like a whole host of other urban areas in this country, it fell on tough times as manufacturing was moved overseas to "maximize" share holder value. Bad political decisions also did not help the city either and it finds itself now with an abysmal school system, sky high property taxes and difficulty paying it's bills.

But it seems that things are beginning to look more promising. Speaking to the locals one gets the feeling that they are quite confident and optimistic about the future of their little burg. 

But I digress. Back to the train show.

It is held semi-annually at the York Expo Center. As the name implies the exhibition generally features large scale model trains like G gauge, running on track with the rails 45 millimeters or 1.77 inches apart. The German company Lehmann (LGB) started producing model trains in the scale of 1:22.5 in the late 1960's to run on 45 millimeter track. At that point LGB generally produced models of narrow gauge railroads, particularly of the Rhätische Bahn in Switzerland. Contrary to common belief the "G" did not stand for garden, but for the German word "gross", meaning large, hence the company's name: Lehmann Gross Bahn (LGB). The company fell on hard times for a variety of reasons and was bought in 2007 by the model train manufacturer Märklin

Eventually LGB decided to also produce trains modeled on standard gauge prototypes running on 45 mm track, as did other manufacturers like Aristo-Craft, PIKO, Aster, Bachmann and USA Trains just to name a few. All have their own scale. For example Aristo-Craft generally used 1:29, whereas the Bachmann Spectrum trains are 1:20. 

 A LGB company Rhätische Bahn EMU on the authors Chesapeake and Tenleytown Railroad. This model is in the 1:22 scale.                                          

A LGB company Rhätische Bahn EMU on the authors Chesapeake and Tenleytown Railroad. This model is in the 1:22 scale.                                          

 An Aristo-Craft Santa Fe Railroad RDC also on the authors garden railway. This model is in 1:29 scale.                                                

An Aristo-Craft Santa Fe Railroad RDC also on the authors garden railway. This model is in 1:29 scale.                                                

Of course this difference in scale makes for interesting sites on a garden railroad. It is probably anathema to all the  "rivet counters", but I "mix and match" and tend to run all sort of trains of different scales on my Chesapeake and Tenleytown Railroad. It's my railroad after all!

"Live steam" was also represented at the show. That hobby niche has always fascinated me. But it is just a bit out of my price range. Like this little live steam gem. A steal at around $4000:

 An Accucraft Live Steam Welsh Highland Railway Garratt Locomotive                                                        

An Accucraft Live Steam Welsh Highland Railway Garratt Locomotive                                                        

I have been visiting these train shows for quite a few years and this time something particularly struck me: it seems to be a hobby for old men. There were very few young men, much less young women. I only saw one young lady: she was with the live steam group. 

Perhaps it's the cost of the hobby. Or perhaps it is the fact that most Americans have never and probably never will see a train. Maybe the younger generation does not have the space for a model train lay out. I don't know...

In any event I spent a few interesting hours looking, browsing, getting some ideas and generally enjoying myself. So here are a few photographs from this outing to York:

  This layout greets you right at the entrance to the exhibit.  

This layout greets you right at the entrance to the exhibit. 

  A  detail on the entrance lay out.

A  detail on the entrance lay out.

  I know "Thomas, the Tank Engine" is here somewhere...

I know "Thomas, the Tank Engine" is here somewhere...

  Lots of stuff to buy. Notice the "fantasy" locomotives in the fore ground on the right.

Lots of stuff to buy. Notice the "fantasy" locomotives in the fore ground on the right.

  Scale buildings for sale.

Scale buildings for sale.

  And scale conveyances for sale.

And scale conveyances for sale.

  Even proper scale plants can be had.

Even proper scale plants can be had.

  Lots of electric power for your railroad. A rather massive control unit from Bridgeworks Co.

Lots of electric power for your railroad. A rather massive control unit from Bridgeworks Co.

  Even the G scale circus was in town!

Even the G scale circus was in town!

  Somebody was told to clean out their basement...

Somebody was told to clean out their basement...

  One of my favorite dealers. They pretty much have everything one would need.

One of my favorite dealers. They pretty much have everything one would need.

  Entrance to the hall with the working layouts.

Entrance to the hall with the working layouts.

  A young admirer of long unit train coal drags.

A young admirer of long unit train coal drags.

  Father and son working on the Pennsylvania Railroad at the Live Steam Layout.

Father and son working on the Pennsylvania Railroad at the Live Steam Layout.

  Topping up the water tank of a live steam model.

Topping up the water tank of a live steam model.

  A SNCF (French National Railways) Class 241 Live Steam model.

A SNCF (French National Railways) Class 241 Live Steam model.

  A large scale three truck Shay locomotive.

A large scale three truck Shay locomotive.

 

A short video of some of the working layouts:

 

 

All photographs and video by Ralf Meier (Sony a7R)