Well all is done from 2018 and it pretty much went to plan thanks in greater part to the teamwork provided by all our splendid Members. The goodwill and harmony provided by those present in whatever the capacity was truly remarkable. To get a turnout of available Members of 83% was quite stunning and it makes all the hard work worthwhile from an Exhibition Manager standpoint: so very rewarding with a spectacular end product. Given that we had only three Members who we "not available" from the requests made to all present at the AGM way back in April is nothing short of amazing and I am bowled over by the positive attitude of the Club as a whole.
A few interesting facts: 2018 was the best attended show that we have had - up 46% to 800+ 2018 had the largest number of layouts in our history 23 2018 gave the opportunity for the greatest number of traders to sell their wares 20 83% of Bury St Edmunds Members were present on the day in some official way: unbelievable, thank you. You may ask where the others were but a further 10% were on pre arranged holiday so that leaves very few otherwise engaged. Our move to Beyton has seen us attract a wider public footfall and people not just of a model railway background.
It is relatively easy with 20/20 hindsight to identify the strengths and weaknesses of what was a fairly intense run up to the end delivery. This year we eradicated the long queues for food from which we endured in 2017 and had plenty of bacon rolls to sell until late morning which in itself was an achievement and credit due to the chefs, ladies and volunteers in the hot and busy kitchens. 140 bacon rolls and a similar number of jacket potatoes takes some doing! We managed to amend the floor layout to achieve a far better through flow of visitors and to ensure that we met all of our access and disability safety requirements. Great credit must go to our stewards who managed to get everyone in and out without any driver error situations! At one stage we had in excess of 180 cars in the front car park and that doesn't count the mobility impaired vehicles in the specially allocated area to the rear.
Bury St Edmunds Model Railway Club managed to invite and have attend a total of 43 stands of traders and exhibitors, more than ever before and that in itself was an achievement. From the magnitude of the quite excellent 10m long Long Melford Junction, the winner of the Geoff Peck Trophy awarded for the best layout in the show, to the diminutive 1m long Lakeside and Havawatch layout all were excellently presented and provided the varied and interesting exhibits that we like to deliver to our paying public. There is a comprehensive list on the site showing just who supported us and you will find a selection of the layouts on YouTube too. This year we were pleased to enjoy the regular company of Great Eastern Models who sponsored our programme for 2018, the regular faces of Model Scenery Supplies, Layouts4u, Train Tech, Coastal DCC, Scograil and many others who come year after year. It was pleasing to have the invitations that we made for the first time to Orwell Model Railways, Squires Tools, P & D Marsh and Laser Cut Railways accepted and to extend the range of opportunities that we like out visitors to have. Needless to say we have already opened invitations for 2019 to these good friends and you will see them in 2019.
Whilst with the strength of growth and the excellence of the Club support we have a good solid exhibition structure in place, a clash of dates with an alternative show in Essex, and the conflict of interest that it made for a number of our regular trader friends, we have decided for their benefit to move the date back by one week of our 70th Anniversary Exhibition 2019 to Saturday 28th September which will again be at the same excellent venue of Thurston Community College Sixth Form Campus, Beyton IP30 9AG. We could happily have gone ahead with continuity of the existing date but respect and trust works both ways: our traders have grown with us over the 10 years we have been exhibiting and to enforce a decision on them, which is avoidable, would have been unfortunate to say the least. Interestingly all the traders who had a conflict date wise have already booked for 2019 so they will be there for visitors again. From 2019 onward it is our intention to make 4th Saturday in September our date so something to put into your diaries NOW!
We were very fortunate for 2018 to build a relationship with Iliffe Publications (Bury Free Press, Suffolk Free Press and regional titles) and to use Nigel Locke’s splendid Long Melford layout as a link with an article that was printed just before the exhibition. It delivered quite a punch to our exhibition numbers we believe and we will be looking to do something similar next year. As it is our 70th birthday and also that of PECO publications we are seeking to align with them and to make a joint enterprise article to show how each of us has developed and where we have similar attitudes and processes. More of that later on this web site.
In 2018 we happily gave space and support to MyWish (West Suffolk Hospital) and East Anglian Air Ambulance for them to raise money within the exhibition without a charge. The fact that we got over 800 visitors through the door made sure they went home with their efforts well rewarded. It is always nice to support those who may not be as fortunate at the time as we are and so it makes this Club happy to feel that we have afforded a Charity support.
Now onward for 2019. As stated 2019 is our 70th Anniversary Exhibition, the Club having been formed as a modelling and engineering club in 1949. How times have changed from 1949 - many will now say what is "scratch build" and "how did they make models" so long ago. That was well before the ready to run and digital control and operation developments of the last 25. To give an idea of what it was about and also what the Bury St Edmunds Model Railway Club is about, did you see the Bury St Edmunds MRC layout Cobbolds Wharf in S7 at this year's show?. It was shown as a part built exhibit. S7 scale is a rarely modelled very exacting scale of 7mm / ft where nothing is available as a proprietary build, if you missed it then just look next year - it may well be exhibiting again in its finished glory before it goes to the National Exhibition in Birmingham 2019.
If you are interested in the being part of a well founded and interesting Club with exhibition layouts in three different scales, just pick up on the relevant links of this site for the contact details of the Secretary: maybe you could be part of putting on the 2019 show for 1000 people! So please put Saturday 28th September 2019: Thurston Community College Sixth Form Campus, Beyton IP30 9AG in your diaries and keep up to date on this web site for more information.
Chris Day Exhibition Manager Bury St Edmunds Model Railway Club
Layouts who attended
34th Street Gauge - HO USA Era - 1970's
Abbey Street Gauge - S 1950 - 1960
Barrow Fells Gauge - N Era - Modern image Bottrell St. Yard Gauge - O Era - 1950's
Brent Eleigh Gauge - OO9 Era - 1950's Cobbolds Wharf Gauge - S7 Era - 1950's Layout Website Dock Green Loco Gauge - O Era - 1950's Empress Road Gauge - N Era - Preserved Railway Emsworth Gauge - OO Era - 1980's Hartshill Bank Gauge - N Era - 1980's - 1990's Layout Website Hobbs Warren Gauge - OO Era - 1940's - 1960's
Hornby Dublo Gauge - OO Era - 1940's - 1950's
Lakeview & Havawatch Railway Gauge - N Era -Preserved Railway Long Melford Gauge - OO Era - 1950's Longstone Gauge - GN15 Era - 1950's - 1960's