For this years' Warley National Model Railway Exhibition, following discussions with both the MC and the Development Sub-Committee, a new format was tried with a view to recruiting new members and re-activating lapsed ones.
For those who have never been, this show is rather more than its title suggests. It is now far and away the biggest nominally 'model railway' exhibition in the country, with 60-70 layouts in many scales and a huge number of traders selling everything from paint to publications to support the hobby.
Over and above this, the show is also supported by the presence of at least one '12 inches to the foot' model - this year two, the GNR N2 0-6-2T No 1744 a Welsh Highland Railway 0-6-0T and the SLS with their Webb 4-cylinder Compound 9 1/2 in gauge 4-4-0, plus just about all of the preserved railways, the dedicated railway interest societies, all of the major publishers and specialist organisations covering both companies and projects such as the 82045 Society, new build Standard Class 3MT team, gives some idea of the width of interests catered for, hence the near 17000 turnout.
Following the lead of the Scottish Branch last year, the Society stand was both enlarged and made 'open plan', the idea being to get more people to actually come on to the stand and for the stand staff to talk to them about their interests and make the special offer of a reduced joining or rejoining subscription, plus, if they were relatively local to the show (many were) inviting them to the Branch meetings in both Coventry and Birmingham and distributing meeting programmes.
Book sales were not forgotten and using this as an opportunity to reduce stocks at the bookstore, with special offers, plus the offer of sets of books, all at attractive prices, was, again, an opportunity to sell the RCTS to a wide audience.
Did it work? Actual recruitment, over the two days was into double figures, but we also gave away a great many recruitment packs too, to those who didn't want to avail themselves of the special offer, so there may well be some further additions in the pipeline, which is good news. Also, we certainly came back with a much lighter estate car, which reflected the sales of publications too.
Suffice to say that we were very grateful for the support of MC members David Pick and Richard Morris, whose presence lent weight to the importance of this event, plus all the effort put in by local Branch members Bob Barby, Derek Morris, Peter Smith, Lionel Simpson and David Walker - long hard days, but, hopefully well worth it.
last updated: 29/11/11