New NEC show announced

16 February 2024
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new railway modelling exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham. The National Festival of Railway Modelling will take place over the weekend of November 23 & 24, 2024.

The new show is being organised by Warners Group Publications which has a rich history in producing the UK’s best model railway shows. The company already organises The London Festival of Railway Modelling at Alexandra Palace, The Festival of British Railway Modelling in Doncaster and the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition.


As well as the three leading shows, the company also publishes British Railway Modelling magazine (BRM), Narrow Gauge World, Garden Rail and Traction plus websites and


Details are still being confirmed but the team organising The National Festival of Railway Modelling are promising a vast selection of the UK’s finest model railways covering all gauges and scales, plus a mix of trade including major manufacturers, the UK’s best retailers and a mass of specialist traders selling everything a railway modeller could possibly need. The show will be one of the hobby’s biggest shopping events of the year. Visitors can also expect demonstrations from expert modellers as well as a selection of societies and model railway clubs.


Steve Cole, publisher of Warners’ railways portfolio, had this to say about the new show: “Railway modelling needs a national exhibition to showcase the hobby. We have a proven track record of putting on amazing shows and know the new NEC show will be our biggest and best yet!


“Attendance to our own shows is growing, our magazine copy sales are on the increase and traffic to is over 129,000 modellers per month. The hobby is thriving!

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“We promise to put on an amazing two-day exhibition. Our team are immersed in the hobby and will hand-pick the best model railways and demonstrations to produce a great weekend for all the family.”


Richard Mann, New Business Director for the NEC, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming The National Festival of Railway Modelling to our venue in November, in what will be a celebration of all things model railways.

“We know there are many enthusiasts that have a real passion for the sector, so we’re thrilled to be welcoming specialist traders and some of the UK’s major manufacturers to the show. We know the two-day exhibition will give visitors a weekend to remember.”


More information will be revealed in the coming weeks including a list of layouts, traders and ticket prices.


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Graham Sharpley is right, if you are going to get value out of an NEC venue due to costs it has to be something special. The NEC costs have clearly put traders and exhibitors off over the last few years due to the spiral that all retail and commerce has suffered and withstanding the successful rise in on-line purchasing during the long COVID period where overheads like exhibitions did not exist and this trade has been partly maintained all of which has made the Warley and other major exhibitions more difficult to sustain. It will be interesting to see how the Key Model World Event and the Great Electric Train Show also in the relative same catchment area as the late November one compare in terms of take up from everyone from both sides. In summary the very best wishes to those in the sponsorship and organising team. Graham Maltby. Stone. Staffordshire

Posted by Graham Maltby on Sat 17 Feb 12:37:45

So, back to the NEC with another organiser. All for the good of the NEC I suspect. I went to the Warley show on its last day and did not buy anything in the world of model railways. After spending about 63 gold bars on parking, entry, 2 awful coffees and a bun there was no more available money to buy anything. Over 1/10 th of my state pension. It needs to be a lot better than the over rated Warley shows. The 3 times I have been left me stone cold on each occasion apart from the life size exhibits I did go with an agenda to see Ellis Clark’s black 5’sand Rapido’s Metropolitan steam locomotives both of which I have on order prior to Warley which were great to see. I wish the new rail show all the best wishes mainly due to the formidable excess cost of parking, entry fees and refreshments. I will enjoy my less expensive local railex at Thornbury as usual.

Posted by Graham Sharpley on Fri 16 Feb 21:17:38