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Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC


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Not sure what happened to the OP, but I suspect this post is about the Warley Model Railway club announcing their annual show is not being held in 2024 or for the foreseeable future. 


This is one of the major model railway shows in the UK, often even featuring a Japanese layout or two. It featured a large number of layouts, but sadly over the years less variety in the traders.


Not a great start to 2024  for UK modellers.

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From Warley Model Railway Club & Exhibition on FB


Here is an announcement from Warley Model Railway Club

Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC

The Warley National Model Railway Exhibition 2023 was another successful event. Many thousands of happy visitors attended and we have received many positive comments. The quality of the layouts was again high and we were well supported by many traders, societies and displays. The Warley exhibition is different to many other major shows. It is run by a team of volunteers from within the club, some of whom have organised and delivered the show for over 30 years. The members have considered the present market conditions and their ability to deliver, what is a complex undertaking, and have concluded that the time has come to cease holding an exhibition at the NEC for the foreseeable future.

We are in the process of evaluating the present market conditions and the resources available to the club to plan what we can and need to deliver in the future.


more at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Warley.MRC.Exhibition/posts/790898949747059/

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It’s a shame and quite an undertaking by the Warley model club. Certainly last year, footfall looked way down, especially on the Sunday from videos i’ve seen. 


Hornby Magazine’s Great Electric Train Show seemed to be getting a lot more exposure due to the inclusion of Pete Waterman’s monster layout. This exhibition was held in October so possibly people just didn’t have the disposable income to visit 2 large shows on consecutive months and Warley in November sadly lost out. So sadly an event organised by a publishing company, backed up by manufacturers who sponsored the monster layout beat the volunteer led event to the punch. 


The website also stated that the club members were ageing and that new younger members were not materialising, probably due to the ever increasing cost of new models. I must admit, modelling UK modern image must be a headache as there are so many operators and changes in franchise, you’d have to keep replacing or repainting stock. Modellers of my generation probably have fond memories of BR blue, Inter-city and the rail freight sectors that make replicating what I remember much easier. 


Also I’d imagine youngsters having less connection with tactile hobbies these days, favouring the virtual as why imagine driving a “toy” train when I can literally sit in a virtual cab and drive one on my computer. 


Thankfully I think the Japanese hobby is still buoyant with plenty of youngsters at the rental layouts and the price point still remaining accessible to the many rather than the few. Trains are also a large part of general culture and don’t have the taboo they have in the UK. Ironically there are very few model railway shows. 


I hope the British industry can recover but I think it needs a shake up. Dapol seem to have the most reasonable price points but N gauge especially has been plagued with questionable quality at times. Hornby think it’s appropriate to sell very basic 0-4-0 locos with designs from the 1950s at £60 when they’re actually worth closer to £25 or short shunting non DCC locos for £190 as they have some plastic air hoses attached.


There seems to be some level of manufacturer arrogance at admitting that the industry in Britain only really improved in previous years due to covid lockdown so they should really be focussing on finding the balance between quality, detail  and price accessibility. There is still a market for super highly detailed models but there needs to be some solid middle ground rather than some overpriced crap offerings for the “beginner”. There is also way too much  reliance on Chinese manufacturers which lead to quality issues and/or delays and ever increasing prices in material, manufacturing and shipping. 

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