Amherst Railway Society

The Magic of the Railroad Hobby Show

The Railroad Hobby Show has the extraordinary ability to pull together the many facets of the railroading and model railroading hobby – probably better than any show in the country.

For over 50 years, we’ve seen the magic that happens the last weekend in January when we all get together to share our fascination with steel wheels on steel rails.

Except we couldn’t in 2021 – get together…

Yet, we learned a lot throughout 2020 by taking our monthly meetings online through our Show & Tell programs. We gained a greater appreciation of the Internet as an informational tool – and as a sales tool.

So, we decided to take the Railroad Hobby Show online. We drew on technical expertise that resides within the Amherst Railway Society and partnered with Virtual Railfan to put together a show that would benefit our exhibitors – just like the in-person show in West Springfield.

On January 30 & 31, the Amherst Railway Society put together the first ever virtual Railroad Hobby Show (vRHS). Two days of all things railroad and model railroad. 15 Hours of air time. 

455 exhibitors were invited to be part of the show. 81 decided to join us.

The results:

  • The show drew 65,000+ viewers
  • Exhibitors made sales – lots of sales. In fact, two exhibitor websites crashed from sales overload (both recovered within an hour)
  • Recorded sessions are being posted on YouTube and are drawing thousands of additional views

The point:

2020 was a difficult year for many in our hobby, and the Amherst Railway Society felt the need to step up and help. For those that participated, it’s clear that the magic of the Railroad Hobby Show can work online, too.

But, we are not out of the pandemic woods yet. And, the Amherst Railway Society wants to continue the momentum that started on January 30 & 31.

We are currently discussing additional events for 2021. We are weighing types of presentations, timing, levels of participation, and the technical support needed.

Over the next several weeks, we will be announcing our upcoming schedule and types of presentation opportunities that will be available.

Thank you for your continued support and participation.

John Sacerdote

One Response

  1. I was part of the tech support team for the show. In addition to John’s extraordinary on-camera skills, two other things stood out – the power of the Internet, and the power of collaboration. The Internet brought together the technical and creative skills of people in Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Virginia. Collaborative thinking made sure the Ts were crossed and the Is were dotted when John went ON AIR at 9:00 am on Saturday morning. Lots of work. Lots of fun.

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