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The 'World’s Greatest Train Meet' spawns side shows before the main event

Bill Kalina
The York Dispatch

The “World’s Greatest Train Meet” is more than a lofty event title. It's true, according to collectors and dealers. 

"It's the largest train event in world, hands down,"  said Ted Symonds, owner of CoolTrains Hobbies in Salunga, Lancaster County. He's been coming to the show since 1993.

Bob Baker of Cowlesville, NY shops for deals during a "World's Greatest Train Meet" pre-show in the Wyndham Garden Hotel parking lot Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. A handful of pre-shows took place in York before the weekend event. The show starts Thursday for Train Collecters Association members only. Friday and Saturday the public is invited to the ticketed event. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday. Bill Kalina photo

The show opens Thursday, Oct. 19, but it spawns several informal pre-shows that run for several days before the main show at the York Expo Center. Symonds was peddling his wares at one at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in West Manchester Township.

He said attendees come from all over the U.S. and even from foreign countries. 

Bob Buss, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, has been coming to the show since 1998.

“I know more people here than I do in Green Bay,” he said.

According to a release by York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the event, sponsored by the Eastern Division of the Train Collectors Association, could attract 12,000 visitors. 

Bob Buss of Green Bay, Wi. talks with customers at his model train display during a "World's Greatest Train Meet" pre-show in the Wyndham Garden Hotel parking lot Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. A handful of pre-shows took place in York before the weekend event. The show starts Thursday for Train Collecters Association members only. Friday and Saturday the public is invited to the ticketed event. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday. Bill Kalina photo

The show starts Thursday, Oct. 19, for TCA members only. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.

One-day public passes good for Friday or Saturday are $14 or the two-day pass is available for $20; tickets includes spouse and children under 18, according to the release.