The Big E Train Show at Amherst

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D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I just got home from the Big E Train Show in West Springfield, MA.
I have heard so much about this show over the years but just wasn't able to go the distance due to work. Now that I'm retired, I made that a bucket list item.
A direct path up I-95 from Virginia would make it about a 430 mile trip. That would include the stress of passing through New Jersey and New York freeways were a GPS can't keep up with the turns ya need to keep making.
I stopped in to see some folks in PA before the show, so my trip to the Big E was from central PA. Coming back home, I choose to go west to Scranton, PA then catch I-81 down to Harrisburg, PA then I-83 down through Baltimore then continue south through MD to King George, VA.
The Big E show
Parking is extensive there. Acres of parking spaces and ya have to walk several hundred yards to the exhibit halls. Ya really want to wear your walking shoes for this show.
The train show occupied four buildings. All buildings were connected by shelter tarps that formed a tunnel to protect the visitors from inclement weather. Actually, it was only a bit cold this year with a little bit of wind.
Inside, the halls were extensive with all the major and most minor manufacturers, major and minor vendors and a large host of individuals selling off their collection of trains stuff. The private sellers made up more than half of the tables in the exhibit halls. Boxes and boxes of dusty old Lionel stuff that has probably seen more time traveling in boxes than on rails. Same with HO equipment. Tons of the toy variety, mostly way over priced of their true value. Brass sectional track by the mile and No. 4 turnouts spilling off the tables. Each building had a mix of all scales.
I had a chance to talk to Ken Sylvester of Broadway Limited and Shane over at the Scale Trains booth. Both had very good displays of their current offerings. Made most people want to buy something. I made the rounds of the major vendors and introduced myself as one of the primary providers for their retirement plans. They all encouraged me to keep providing.
I really didn't plan to buy anything but then when I saw the stock of C39-8s that Yankee Dabbler had on hand, I just had to buy a second NS unit to work with the one I picked up just a month or so ago.
I had originally planned to spend two days at the show, but after wandering around the four exhibit halls all day yesterday, I had pretty much seen it all. It was a bigger version of the Timonium show, which by the way is next weekend. I didn't want to spend another day wandering around seeing the same used stuff tables so I hit the road about 10am this morning and headed south to Virginia.
Will I go back next year. Definitely NO. As I said, it was just a bigger version of Timonium which is only 100 miles up the road from me. The Big E is great for the guys up north of New York.
Now, to unbox the C39-8, get it numbered and put into service.


Well-Known Member
I made my maiden voyage there last year and wanted to go back this year, but funds and health prohibited it (we're kind of broke and I've got a nasty cold). You can see the whole show in one day, but you'll want to make it a full day. I'll hit my local show in a couple months. You can see that whole show in about 15 minutes, though...


Well-Known Member
I wanted to go this year, but got sidetracked by work. Perhaps next year. I'll be able to make Timonium next weekend (see everyone there!), but unfortunately, again due to work, that's it for Timonium until October. I'll go to the Greenburg show in Wilmington.

Glad you had a good time. Thanks for the report.


Well-Known Member
I went and bought 2 Conrail GE C39-8s from the same guy D&J used - Yankee Dabbler. They pulled 75 cars with no problem. I'll add another 25 cars tomorrow and see what happens? These Conrail locos ran through our town on the NH before the line was abandon. The friend I went to the show with said he saw 2 of these locos pull 116 cars when the line was in use. I also talked to the Scale Trains people and told them what a good job they were doing. I view the show as one big huge train store that has everything. I didn't think the parking was all that expensive $5.00. $15.00 admission though but like D&J said a very long walk to get there. This run of Conrail C39-8s came with marker lights not ditch lights. The next run of CR have the ditch lights if your thinking about buying the model. I'm buying one more for the head end and maybe the last loco I'll buy. All my trains are powered now but I may have to go back to the show for layout items.



Active Member
I've gone a few times in the past decade, but not this year. 180 miles each way, from my driveway to the parking lot at the Big E(3 hours each way, if no delays). In the past, I've spent about 4 hours at the show, and talked to a few vendors, but don't daudle anywhere, while I'm there. Single day only for me.

I'd consider taking Amtrak from NYC to Springfield, but connections from where I am in NJ don't work really well.

Haven't been to Timonium in a few years. Last time I was there, the show was in the Cow Palace. When I go to Timonium, I usually take Amtrak from Metropark, then the light rail from Penn Station. Expensive trip, but I enjoy the train ride, and have done it several times since 2000 or so.

Generally, these days, I go to the local Greenberg shows, when they happen, and a couple of shows at the Allentown, PA Fairgrounds, as these places only take about an hour for me to get there.

Anymore, I generally go looking for specific things, or types of things. If I don't have the funds to spend, I don't go.


Well-Known Member
Been going for 8-9 years, as a vendor. Never seen the whole show, as the booth is always so busy. Lots of manufacturers. Bar Mills, Foscale, Bollinger Edgerly (BEST), Motrak Models, Tichy, Funaro & Camerlengo, Speedwitch Media, and many others. It's Craftsman kit heaven. This year there was a company selling Fine Scale Miniatures castings. Generally, if you can't find what you need there, it doesn't exist. It can be an expensive experience though. Much of the clientele saves up all year and makes an annual run for supplies or "gotta haves"). Lots of great layouts too. I usually have to run through it like a mad man and hope the folks I need to see open a little early. This year Sunday afternoon slowed down enough to allow a little shopping. It's something everyone should see once.

How does the Timonium show compare to Milwaukee's Trainfest? I always had an interest in attending the Timonium Show.



D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I haven't been to the Milwaukee show so I can't give you a comparison.
The Timonium show is about 1/4 of the Big E show and they are both all about model trains if that is any help.
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Well-Known Member
I've only been to a few different shows, but I'm fortunate in that Timonium is an hour away. Timonium is a great show and seems to be getting better. Even the summer shows in the smaller building are pretty good.
It would be nice if Bachmann, Atlas and a few other of the larger manufacturers would participate. I heard BLI was there, but I never saw them. They were avoiding me I'm sure as I've had a Commodore Vanderbilt and K4 Streamliner on order for years. LoL!


Active Member
I've been to the Greenberg shows in the past, but now they seem to be catering to the toys and doll crowd with some basic toy train stuff.
There's less doll house stuff than years ago. There are still some toy vendors at the shows I go to in Edison (NJ), but not that many. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to