Why sell at the Great Train Show?
The Great Train Show is the only nationwide model train show in the United States. Our average show sees roughly 4,000 attendees, with attendance at some shows as high as 8,000-9,000 people over two days. Our shows see a mix of scale modelers, collectors, railfans, casual hobbyists and the simply curious. The train show is the place to find thousands of customers in the same place who are looking to buy trains. But don't take our word for it:
Very well organized staff and very helpful. I wish all show promoters were as good as you guys. - Randy, Ohio
The crowds were great! The turnout was better than we expected. Good job with advertising. - Lloyd, California
I had a great time and everyone was very good to us. - Laura, Washington
Advertising and promotion
Locally, before each show we run extensive television, radio, newspaper, and Internet advertising specifically targeted at reaching people who have an interest in the hobby but have never attended a train show before.
Thousands of emails and postcards are also sent to people who have been to train shows in the past.
Selling at the show
It's simple: all you need to do is submit an application and come to the show. There's no need to have a business license, own a hobby shop, or even pay in advance. And dealing with customers in person means you don't need to worry about shipping anything across the country.
It's affordable: exhibit space starts at $65-$75 per table or $169 per booth with no hidden costs, fees or surcharges.
It's effective: the train show is the best way to reach the largest pool of customers for the smallest investment. Many of our vendors have been selling at our shows for decades because it's the best way to get the most bang for your buck.
And it's fun: the show is a great chance to spend the weekend among other modelers and collectors, talking face-to-face with other people with the same love of the world's greatest hobby, model railroading.
Our shows feature the best train vendors in the world and we'd love for you to be one of them! Just click here to get started with our online table reservation form.
10:00am - 5:00pm • Exhibitor Setup
7:00am - 9:30am • Exhibitor Setup
10:00am - 4:00pm • Public Hours
10:00am - 4:00pm • Public Hours
4:00pm - 10:00pm • Tear-down
Common Questions About Selling at the Show
For operating layouts and non-selling exhibits, click here to go to our layout page.
Permanent tables allow an exhibitor to retain a show location in specific venues automatically without having to sign up show after show. We would like to save you the paperwork of having to sign up for our shows in the future. You can get permanent tables at any of our shows just by filling out our application for permanent tables. This has several benefits:
• You do not need to fill out paperwork ever again!
• You will get the same table location!
• You never have to worry about the show being sold out!
Having a permanent table is the only way you can be guaranteed the same location at every show and will result in preferential treatment in placement. Dealers need only sign up once and this agreement will remain in effect until terminated by one of the parties. Dealers will have purchased the same location at every show held in a particular venue, including shows held multiple times per year. Should something come up and you can’t make a particular show, it is your responsibility to find someone to fill the tables. Should you wish to give up your permanent status we require 90 day notice. We will let you know about show, price and other policy changes at least 120 days in advance of any show. Permanent exhibit space cannot be cancelled but may be resold by a Dealer to another Dealer of their choice at a price they determine. Any resold tables must still follow all the rules and regulations of the show.
You may arrive at the show to set up your display starting on Friday at 10:00am. We are open for exhibitor setup on Friday from 10:00am until 5:00pm and again on Saturday morning starting at 7:00am. You do not need to come to the show on Friday if you don’t need much time to set up but if you arrive on Saturday you must arrive before 8:30am. If you arrive later than that, your table will have been given to someone else and you may not have anywhere to set up. Please make sure you are set up by 9:30am or so on Saturday. The show is open from 10am to 4pm both days. All exhibitors must be out of the hall by about 4:15pm on Saturday and exhibitors are readmitted at 9:00am on Sunday (you may arrive whenever you like Sunday between 9am and 10am). All exhibitors must remain set up until the show closes at 4:00pm on Sunday. Leaving early is not permitted.
All you need to do is fill out an application form and send it in. There are three methods of payment: you can mail in a check or money order, have your credit card charged ahead of the show, or pay by cash or check at the show. The last two options require putting your credit card number on the application. Once you send in your application you’ll receive a confirmation within two weeks and then about 10 days prior to the show you’ll receive a notification with show information and a map of the show noting your location. We provide a table and chairs but you do need to bring a table cover to put on the table before you set up your display (this can be a plastic cover from the dollar store or an old tablecloth). If you are ordering electric service, we recommend bringing an extension cord or two. We also recommend bringing a cart or dolly to help move your merchandise from your vehicle to your table.
To sell at the show you can either purchase three-table booths or individual tables. Each table is 8′ x 30″ in size. A booth consists of three tables within a 10’6″ x 10’6″ area. You can use that space however you like, including rearranging your tables or adding shelves or racks. You can also rearrange larger blocks of space however you like if ordering multiple booths. Individual tables are set up in rows and include an aisle approximately 3′-4′ wide behind the table which you share with the sellers directly behind you. This allows you to sit or stand behind your table. You are free to place shelves or racks atop or underneath your table but please do not impede the shared aisle behind the table or intrude into the public aisle. Wall tables have a 2′-3′ aisle between the table and the wall; wall table renters are welcome to use this space however they like.
No, you don’t! It is extremely common for collectors and modelers to rent a table or two at one of our shows just to thin out their collection. All you need to do to rent a table is send in a completed application form, including a payment method, and you will receive a confirmation within two weeks. We do not require sellers to submit a business or tax license but we can provide you with contact information for your state’s tax department if you’re unsure as to their requirements.
This is a train show. Any train-related merchandise is acceptable including model trains, train accessories, model vehicles that could be used on a train layout (including diecast vehicles), and train-themed merchandise such as artwork and clothing. Modeling tools, plastic models, and family-friendly model hobby merchandise is also acceptable. Non-hobby-related and non-wholesome merchandise is not acceptable. Radio-controlled vehicles may be sold but may not be operated or demonstrated inside the show. If you have questions about a specific item you carry, please don’t hesitate to contact us and ask whether it’s permitted at the show.
Yes you can! Click here to sign up online using our secure encrypted server.
If you inherited a collection of trains you may feel overwhelmed and not sure where to start understanding the value of what you have.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself on what you have. Speaking with our experts at the show is a great way to get first hand of the market value of your collection. Price guides are somewhat useful as well – although prices have fluctuated in the past several years and since the books are printed they can only show you the estimated value at the time the book went to press.
The one thing we always stress is to not sell your collection to the first person who makes you an offer. We can’t emphasize this enough.
If you have decided you want to sell your trains there are really two ways to approach it. If you sell your trains yourself piece by piece you will get the most money out of the collection because you will be selling to the end user.
If you sell your collection in one lump sum to a reseller you may only get 50 cents on the dollar since this person has to sell everything piece by piece, carry the inventory from show to show, and pay out a large amount of money to you in advance to purchase the collection.
There are way too many stories of people only getting 5 to 10 cents on the dollar from a reseller because they didn’t know the value of what they had.
It pays to do your research and understand what you have!