Warley National Model Railway Exhibition 2016

Volunteer members of our Association set up stall at the 2016 Warley Model Railway Exhibition over the weekend of 26th and 27th November to help promote the Isle of Man’s unique offering of heritage railway attractions.

The fine diorama model of Douglas Workshops & Engine Shed by Robin Winter served as an illuminated table centrepiece. The stand offered visitors a range of information signage, literature and sales items, including exclusive (in the UK) diecast models of No.12 Hutchinson and MER Tramcar No.20 provided by Isle of Man Railways.

As most members will be aware, the Warley Exhibition is no small regional model railway show. Held annually at the NEC Birmingham, the two-day event now attracts more than 17,000 dedicated railway enthusiasts, with their families, from all over Europe. Heritage railways continue to be an impressive growth sector for tourism and leisure activity across the British Isles and further afield.

A new full-colour guide leaflet was produced by the Association to hand out at the Exhibition, intended to introduce the Steam Railway (and other Manx heritage railways) to off-Islanders and gain wider interest and potential new visitors to the Island.

Promoting special-interest tourism at large UK events does require plenty of 'boots on the ground' with broad and expert knowledge and a clear passion for the subject matter. Eight Association members manned the stand over the full weekend. In railway circles, the Warley Exhibition is a marketing, networking and fund-raising opportunity not to be missed, demonstrated by the attendance of two dozen or so heritage railway operators or their support groups and preservation societies, some bringing their full-size locomotives for display inside the exhibition hall, including the part-built GWR mainline locomotive No.6880 Betton Grange and two locomotives from the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol, No. 7 Owain Glyndwr and No.9 Prince of Wales.