updated - September 1, 2020

This is the “September 2020 Update” for the 2021 “Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show.”  I am hoping that this update finds you well and you are staying safe.

We started last update with contracts and the fact that we had sent over 400 out as invitations (remember, your contract is your invitation to the Show).  Many contracts have already been returned to us – thanks to those who have already accepted.  To date, just over 30 contracts have been cancelled at the request of each exhibitor, because of Covid-19.  Many of you have expressed that you are worried about what will happen if you cancel.   Nothing will happen if you cancel for this year.  These are difficult times and if you cannot make it because you are high risk or simply because to choose to stay on the safe side, that is not a problem for us.  If you choose not to attend this year, your space will be held for the 2022 Show.  There is no penalty for choosing to stay home this year (BTW, there is never a penalty with regard to losing your spot or getting an invitation the following year if you have problems, health or otherwise, if you simply let us know in advance).  These are not the old days.
Frankly, it is killing me to hear how many are struggling due to the lack of shows to attend.  I hear it every day, which is why we are trying our collective best to make this Show happen.

Yesterday, we attended a meeting with the folks at Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) and we remain positive with regard to the Show (which is now a little under 5 months away).  We are working with the folks at ESE to formulate a plan of action – a Covid-19 Plan – to be submitted to the West Springfield Health Department for approval.  The plan includes the following points:

(1) We will rent the same facilities, regardless of the number of exhibitors.  This will allow us to socially distance exhibitors and expand aisle space even more.  The layout of the buildings will most likely be very different this year, but will return to a “2020-like” layout for 2022.
(2) Entrances and exits, as well as floors, will be clearly marked allowing for more traffic flow.
(3) Contact tracing will be in affect (we will ask for an email address, a phone number or a business card from every party that purchases tickets on site. (we already have that info from you and advance ticket purchasers)
(4) Hand sanitizer stations will be readily available throughout all buildings and for exhibitors to keep at their areas as well.
(5) Masks will be mandatory for all exhibitors and attendees per Massachusetts guidelines.

And, this is only the beginning.  Working with the folks at the ESE as well as the Health Department will allow us to plan accordingly so that we can have a safe and successful Show.

So, it continues and in the right direction!  As a reminder, if you have not seen your contract by now, PLEASE call us.  When you do receive your contract packet, PLEASE check your contract and the TERMS AND CONDITIONS as there have been a few minor changes, mostly regarding return dates.

NOTE: Some exhibitors have asked what will happen if the Show is cancelled and they have already paid.  The answer is that you will have a choice.  Either a refund will be given or you can opt to use this payment to lock in your 2022 costs for the following year.

As previously stated, we will continue to keep you updated and informed at a minimum of once each month.  You are certainly welcome to call or email me at any time.

Thanks and we will talk again soon!


With the addition of the Mallary Complex and taking more space within "Mallary South," the Railroad Hobby Show now has almost 10 acres of floor space, or close to a half million (500,000) square feet.  As large as the areas for exhibits are at the show, there is never enough space for all those wishing to exhibit.

All vendors and exhibitors must make their REQUESTS for Standby Status by submitting the WAIT LIST APPLICATION directly to the show office. Sending in your application, which then becomes part of the ARS permanent data base, does not guarantee you a space at the show. You must receive an invitation from the Show Director to exhibit at the show. Please do not confuse your listing on the Stand-by-waiting-list with an invitation to exhibit at the show.

To download a wait-list application, CLICK HERE. 


Who should apply to Exhibit?

Amherst Railway Society's Railroad Hobby Show is, first and foremost, a model railroad train show.  Since the purpose of the Amherst Railway Society is to educate and inform about our hobby and railroads in general, only exhibitors related to railroading will be invited to our show.  This includes real life railroads and scale model railroads, historical societies, artists, flea market dealers, importers, manufacturers and photographers.  According to our over 425 current exhibitors and our 200 exhibitors on our wait list, this consistent fact has made our show one of the most sought after shows in the United States.  To further reinforce that committment to railroading, we only allow the display and sales of railroad related items throughout the duration of the Show.


As an Exhibitor, what's included?

Amherst Railway Society's Railroad Hobby Show is a "table" show.  That is, we rent table space, not booth space.  Each table is 30 inches deep and 8 feet long and stands 30 inches tall.  Each table has access to electricity (if requested in advance at no charge) and one chair is included with each table.  Additional chairs can be made available upon request.  No additional or replacement display tables, racks, etc. are allowed without prior consent from the Show Director.  Refunds are allowed for vendor cancellations if requested prior to January 1 for that show year.  Call our offices for the latest table pricing.

Phones and InternetExtra Needs such as a phone line and hard-wired access to the internet are available directly through the Eastern States Exposition Offices.  Please call 413-205-5018 and speak with a representative of the Eastern States Exposition Staff to reserve a phone line or internet access.  Wi-Fi access to the internet is provided FREE each year, and is password protected (passwords are available at the Show).

RV Service - Exhibitors with RV's/Campers/5th Wheel Trailers can stay on the grounds of the Big E.  Please call 413-205-5018 and speak with a representative of the Eastern States Exposition Staff to reserve your spot and learn more about these details.

Drayage (shipping and receiving) - The Amherst Railway Society does work with a company(s) to assist with shipping and receiving of goods, booths, booth decorating, etc. Please do not hesitate to contact the Show Office to learn more about this service.  The Amherst Railway Society is not responsible for receiving or shipping of any goods to/from exhibitors.

Extras (Pipe & Drape, Carpet, etc.) - Contact the Amherst Railway Society to learn more about these extras. 

Display Tables - Only layouts, collectors/modellers (whose sole purpose is to show their projects) and non-profit organizations are allowed display tables.  There is no charge for a display table.  Any exhibitor that is not in the above 3 categories must pay for all tables used.  For more information on qualifying for a "display table," contact the Show Office.

Cancellation/Refund Policy - Amherst Railway Society will refund your money (in its entirety or in part; please see the "Terms and Conditions" portion of your contract for details) if we receive a written notice of the cancellation prior to December 31st of the year just before the Show (example: you must cancel before December 31, 2020 for the January 2021 Show.)  There are no refunds if notice is received after December 31st of the year just before the Show.  ARS reserves the right to withhold up to 30% of the amount to handle time and expenses related to this refund.


How to move up on the Wait List

Tradition with any wait list usually means, first come, first served.  This is not the only factor with regard to our WAIT LIST.

Vendors, Layouts and Not-For-Profit Organizations are invited to our Show from the wait list based upon the following factors:

  • What is in the best interest of the Show (what will help this show grow - in quality).  What will our visitors see that will make the experience more enjoyable.
  • What will our visitors see that will help inform, educate, or perhaps get them more involved in the greatest hobby in the world!
  • Length of time on the Wait List.

As you can see, we value our visiting public highly.  We encourage all vendors to constantly update their WAIT LIST APPLICATION so that we can consider all of the above in your behalf.

Please remember that our show is strictly an invitational show. We do this to insure optimal balance among vendors, layouts, and not for profit organizations. Invitations are given each year and there is no guarantee that any vendor, layout, non-profit organization or participant will be invited back the following year.  Further, the Amherst Railway Society reserves the right to cancel any contract and/or not "renew" or invite back any participant at any time.


Material used on displays

Fire Prevention Regulations have been updated by the West Springfield Fire Deparatment and the Fire Prevention Officer.

The list of regulations has been updated and can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.

The West Springfield Fire Marshall tests all materials used in displays at the Amherst Railway Society's Railroad Hobby Show unless they carry manufacturer's certificates certifying that they are fire retardant. "Fire retardant" for the layman means that the material if ignited will go out, that is, that the material will not self-sustain flame. "Fire retardant," fire resistant," and "fire proof," while technically distinct terms, have the same meaning for the layperson. Manufacturers of fire retardant materials attach certificates certifying that fact to the materials. There is a store in West Springfield that sells spray bottles of fire retardant for those whose display materials do not pass the Fire Marshall's test. For vendors who are uncertain, we suggest checking with their local fire departments if they have questions about materials they plan to use.

We know of two dealers of fire retardant and one dealer of fire resistant fabric in the area. They are:

Retardent Dealers:


Mass Fire Equipment Corp.
57 York St.
Springfield MA 01104
Product name 'CeaseFire'

Fire Control Co.
St. George Rd.
Springfield MA 01104
Product name 'CeaseFire'


Fire Resistant Fabric Dealer:


Osgood Textile Co., Inc.
333 Park St.
W. Springfield MA 01089

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