The organisers of the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition have decided that it will not be returning for the foreseeable future.
The exhibition was run in 2023 at Birmingham's NEC and was another successful event with thousands of visitors.
Volunteers run the exhibition, but organisers have looked at the current market conditions and their ability to deliver such a huge exhibition and have decided that they will cease holding an exhibition at the NEC for the foreseeable future.
Nigel Smith the current Exhibition Manager says: “This will be disappointing to many people including visitors and exhibitors alike. However, we are an ageing membership and we have to be realistic about what we can deliver in the future. Many of our existing team have been involved for over 30 years and would like to retire gracefully”.
Alan Turner, the interim Club Chairman said: “When our club decided to create the Warley National exhibition it was primarily to create a showcase for our wonderful hobby. I believe we succeeded in doing that. We are amazed that our exhibition has remained the premier exhibition in the country for thirty very successful years. Many of the organising team have been part of that team since the very beginning. We thank all of those who have supported this exhibition over the years whether as organisers, stewards, exhibitors, traders or just visitors; we couldn't have done it without you. Warley club is in very good health and has plenty of exciting plans for the future.”
Steve Flint, former Railway Modeller editor and WMRC member added that although he was disappointed to see the end of the Warley National Model Railway Show at the NEC, he felt it was a
carefully considered decision by the members.
“The hobby is alive and well at grass roots level, but the commercial boom period of recent decades has probably run its course, having been slowed by the effects of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and the ever-increasing age of enthusiasts.”
He said that it would be folly for an organisation like the Warley Model Railway Club – itself a charitable organisation – to continue taking further financial risk in the current climate.
“Moreover,” he added, “the tick of the demographic time bomb is getting more prominent, as the next generation of younger enthusiasts required to take over the staffing and running of such
prestigious events does not seem to be materialising. Hence, it is time for Warley Model Railway Club to step aside with pride, having had the privilege of promoting this great creative hobby to the nation at the NEC for over thirty years with the full support of hundreds of volunteer enthusiasts, manufacturers and retail traders.