Having been to Warley - I enjoyed my day out (at least till I tried to go home when things turned into a nightmare), but there was a slightly flat feeling this year , and although I didn't spend nearly as much time as normal looking at the layouts thanks to other commitments I came home not feeling I'd missed a lot I wanted to see - and still felt that after looking through the guide. Which feels odd.
There seem to have been two niggles:
1. The venue
Hall 5 was not Warley MRC's choice , but the NEC's, and I think what it boils down to is that one way or another it definitely didn't help the show. Whether it's the dimmer lighting, the herding in of the show with low barriers or whatever. Gary said in another thread something to the effect " this won't be a show in the hall but an exhibition within the hall" (sorry but I can't quickly locate the quotation) - and that I think turned out to be a problem. There was a slight sense of an exhibition camped out within a great drear void , and it did nothing whatsover for the atmosphere. I recall it being said that the aisles were much wider this year to deal with the much-complained off crush - unfortunately I suspect the exercise proved that crowding the punters adds a buzz to the show , as there was a slight sense of a perpetual Sunday afternoon
In terms of ambience I don't much care for the NEC as a venue to start with - a large collection of upspec industrial warehouses around a concourse and courtyards constructed largely out of grubby plastic panels from the 1970s. Anyone who's been through the tattier bits of Heathrow will recognise the feel. But there's nowhere else in the region where such a large show could be held - perhaps nowhere else in the country which could viably stage such a large show, so we and Warley MRC get on with it.
QUOTE About show lighting: Generally, the venue only have very basic lighting, high up on the roof. It is up to the stands to provide sufficient lighting for their displays. Some like bright lights, some like subdued lighting or coloured lighting. For all these different needs, the venue can't have it's own lights that spoil the various stands display.
Actually , in the context of the big British shows, this isn't accurate. York show is in the stands at the racecourse with abundant natural light almost throughout; the Great Hall at Alexandra Palace has glass in the roof, toplights and big rose windows at each end and again the natural light is excellent. I can't answer for Harrogate or the Scottish Exhibition& Convention Centre but even the medium sized show in a large school has natural light. The NEC is the darkest most spartan show venue on the circuit to start with - Hall 5 , I'm afraid showed the NEC at its worst - and it was the NEC's choice not the clubs
To be honest the corralling of the show within the Hall by means of low portable barriers was probably worse in terms of atmosphere
I'm certainly not going to blame the organisers for the fact the Hornby 56s weren't on sale, nor were Heljan's falcon and 58. The lack of product announcements and appetising preproduction mouldings in the display cases is probably something we shall have to get used to for the future , especially if there is a recession - but again part of the traditional buzz around the show was missing
QUOTE for the show they both thought it was a bit of a cheak not to provide coffee and T and a biscuit for the exhibitors, particularly concidering the cost to attend. the prices even in the exhibitors cafe were a bit steep.
Traders may fare a little bit better , but for volunteers manning society stands the conditions at Warley are the worst on the circuit , and I do speak from personal experience. I know of no other show which not only does not offer even a cup of tea but where the venue actually prohibits those on stands from bringing any food and drink of their own into the show - coupled to the highest catering prices I know of - £1-60 for a cup of tea - that's 60% higher than Ally Pally, which is high enough (Those on society stands do not get access to the exhibitors cafe).
But this is the venue's fault and the venue's rules - not Warley MRC , who can do nothing about it. A local show I go to provides free tea/coffee to exhibitors before opening and 4 tea vouchers per head per day - but their catering is done by the wives , so it costs little. Warley must pay the catering contractors , probably full whack, so they can't afford to give anything. My strong impression is the NEC care nothing for the comfort of exhibitors - their sole concern is to gouge every penny out of them to keep their catering franchisees happy
(Please note also that , as is standard elsewhere, only 2 per stand get free admission. At a show this big , a stand needs to be double manned all day , with reliefs , because people have to eat and will be busy all day (and get exhausted). So some of those volunteers have paid to get into the show, all have paid to get to the show, and its reasonable they get some chance to look round)
But if you don't like the NEC where else have you got to go? - Nowhere - if you want a show this size
I'm afraid I have to dissent from the view that it was particularly good this year . While I'm not saying I saw any bad layouts , somehow it did seem to have less attractions on the layout side than in previous years. As I say , I didn't have enough time to look round the layouts - but oddly didn't feel I'd missed much I wanted to see. Not bad then - but not a vintage year
QUOTE aparently there was a 3mm broad gauge layout. i would have liked to have seen that.
It's called Bagborough West, and its good. Unfortunately for me, I've seen it twice already this year (St Albans and York) Hungerford and Bath Green Park are superb pieces of modelling - unfortunately I've seen both already a couple of times . Brockley Green is an excellent layout : I saw that at York in the spring and at a show in the Eastern counties last summer. Feering's very nice - I think I sw that at St Albans as well , and I'm sure the Greek layout was at the same show. There's a theme emerging here - most of the good stuff I've seen before sometimes several times .
The odd thing is this has been the same story at pretty well all the shows I've been to this year - not quite so good as last, and I'd seen the best bits elsewhere already. Maybe I'm just getting jaded , or maybe there are only so many really good layouts
for shows to book.....
the hornby stand seemed smaller than usual
I thought the same but Hornby claimed it was the same size as last year.
Hall 5 strikes again.... Same size - smaller relative to the hall
QUOTE "You don't suppose they "clocked" that LNER BoBo electric crossing the Dutch river crossing?"
I saw that, but that one IS prototypical!!! didnt it go there to try and rustle up export orders or for trials or something? i know it went there. (if i was being REALLY fussy then i believe it was in fully lined black and not apple green when it went but that would be exceedingly geek-like so i wont mention it!)
The prototype EM1 , 6001 (Thompson numbering) was loaned to the NS by the LNER in 1947 . The NS were still trying to recover from German occupation and war damage and needed locos - the LNER had a shiny new 1500V electric to test but no 1500V railway yet. On its departure , the Dutch presented commemorative nameplates "Tommy" which the loco carried till scrapping in 1970. And of course when the EM2s were withdrawn in 1968 the NS bought them
The first EM1 was rolled out in apple green as 6701 in Dec 1940 - I'm not sure if she was repainted when she got here later number
And did anyone else spot the 3mm Shildon/Newport Bo-Bo in the TT3 50th Anniversary display?
The Benelux contingent were probably the pick of the show to be honest. There was a very nicely modelled 2mm rural scene probably Belgium , - I think lettered Wheal Louise for some reason
So a good day out - but somehow not quite a vintage year for Warley