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Model Railroad Personal Review - Great Train Expo: Part 2 - Tips

Updated on July 24, 2011

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin.

This is part 2 continues from Model Railroad Personal Review - Great Train Expo: Part 1 - Experiences. These tips can help you enjoy the show more efficiently. While some of the information applies to all Great Train Expo shows, some is useful only for the Pomona Fairplex venue.

Before the Show

The fastest and most convenient way to contact the show organizers is through their Facebook page. Through it, I receive answers to any questions within a few hours. They also have a phone number and email address on their website, but this is not always staffed, especially on the weekends.

Bring your own shopping bag or backpack, if you intend on buying merchandise. The venue does not provide any shopping containers, and dealers may run out of plastic bags, especially later in the show.

Bring cash and checks. Many of the dealers do not process credit cards at the show, even though they may do so on the Internet. In addition, the show itself does not take credit cards for admission.

Pomona Fairplex Garden Railroad
Pomona Fairplex Garden Railroad | Source


I’ve paid as much as $15 to visit the Fairplex and when I called them, they said parking for the show was $10 for general and $12 for preferred. When I got there, parking was $9 for general. Both the general and preferred lots were side by side, with the latter being closer to the show venue. But since the show building was buried deep inside the fairgrounds, the preferred parking saved maybe three minutes of walking. For the most accurate parking rates and configuration, contact GATS directly. They typically don’t post these rates on the web.

You do not have to go through the outdoor garden railroad layout to get to the show building. You can simply walk around it to reach the show faster. However, the outdoor train layout is quite spectacular and worth a visit on its own either before or after the show.

If you have time after the show, visit the exhibits of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, which are on the fairgrounds but a good walking distance from the show building. Check out their website for directions. The collection includes actual steam and diesel locomotives as well as freight and passenger cars.


If you want to see the layouts first, go to the end furthest away from the show building entrance. The merchants are generally closer to the entrance.

The easiest way to record information about the exhibitors or clubs at the show, is to take a picture of their show banners with your digital camera or smartphone camera. You can also ask them for a business card but many will not have this. Bring a pen and paper to write down any information.

If you need to leave the building at any time, for example, to get lunch, have your hand stamped when you exit. It’s the only evidence you have that you’ve paid admission, since the ticket takers will take your admission ticket.


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    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Part 2 is Just as Interesting and Informative as Part 1 Alocsin. Also enjoyed reading of your tips to make it even more fun with Lunch and other side trips.