The Club Room
An exciting new section for you, the Model Rail reader. Incorporating Exhibition Diary.
Warley MRC was formed in the late 1960s after a chance conversation between workmates at a local engineering factory. From this humble beginning, it has gone from strength to strength. Fifty years on, it runs the annual National Model Railway Exhibition [NMRE] at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre and owns sizable premises at Pearsall Drive, Oldbury. We’ve always been a voluntary organisation with a policy of investing any profits back into both the club and the organisation of the NMRE. One major advantage of this is that the subscription is an all-inclusive annual cost – there are no extra charges for each visit. Members are able to attend every night the club is open (three evenings per week). Tea and coffee are also included! In recent years we took the opportunity to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation [CIO], which has brought additional benefits. As such, the club must comply with its charitable constitution status and is supported by CIO by-laws. Twenty-five years ago we’d outgrown our exhibition venue and, with expert guidance from Paul Jones, we started looking for new premises. Birmingham offered a number of suitable venues and we opened negotiations with the NEC. This was a leap into the unknown, but with the support of modellers nationwide (and sometimes worldwide) we had a successful first year, and this success has continued. Prospective members are always welcome and we have a policy of offering an eight-week trial period before they commit to becoming a full member. Once that decision has been made, members can get involved in whatever aspect of the club interests them. Some just want to spend their time reading in our large library! We have a number of model railways, ranging from ‘N’ gauge to ‘G’ scale and new members are always encouraged to join any or all of the projects that interest them. We have an active student members section for those aged 12 to 18 (subject to them being accompanied by a responsible adult). If they go into higher education, they continue to enjoy the special student subscription rate, with all the benefits of being a full member. A major focus at the club is the annual Warley NMRE. The running of the show is only possible with the help of the members, who give up their weekends to help run the event. The size of our Pearsall Drive premises means we are able to hold open days, on which many of the club’s layouts are in operation. We currently hold open days in February and July. The former attracts around 300 visitors per year, who only have to pay for refreshments and any purchases they make from our bring-andbuy sales. The benefit of these events is that any prospective members can get a feel for the club and what it has to offer. Our extensive facilities include a meeting room with a table that will seat around 20 people. In keeping with our charitable status, the club makes this room available to outsiders and has hosted a number of events including Model Electronic Railway Group workshops and Scale 7 Group annual meetings. In addition, we have a collection of exhibition apparatus; this is available for use by other clubs, and the only costs they incur relate to the collection and safe return of any items. If you would like more information on the club and its history, take a look at our website. And, of course, come along to one of our open days or club evenings – we’re always happy to welcome new members.
Left: Alf (centre) speaks at the Pearsall Drive opening, with the late John Allison (left) and Pete Waterman. Warley MRC members know a thing or two about making a good layout: ‘Broadwater Junction’ (MR229).