York 2023 is the first N Gauge Society organised event since the 40th Anniversary held at Kettering in 2007.
The original aim for this event was to combine it with the Annual General Meeting in 2023 which was going to be a face-to-face meeting with an associated exhibtion as was the format prior to the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21.
As we evolved from the pandemic the committee was coming to terms with the way forward and how best to serve the membership and to find the best way to conduct future business. With the 2021 AGM being held online via ZOOM the discussions started on the 2022 AGM and how best to conduct the meeting. Use the old pre-pandemic format or retain ZOOM for the present. The decision was taken to remain with the ZOOM format for the time being and to organise a ‘Landmark Event’ for 2023.
The question now was What, Where and When:
WHAT: This was the easy part. It had to be specifically N Gauge and it had to be focused on our members. It also needed to be something that would set high standards and have variety for members, model railway enthusiasts in general and the visiting public. So it had to contain: Layouts, Manufacturers of N Gauge Models, Traders from across all areas of the hobby, Presentations and Lectures from key people across the hobby, a members competitions with prizes donated by our Traders and Manufactures and the all import N Gauge Society Main Display Stand with Tim and his Team and the Travelling N Gauge Shop.
WHERE The Problem: This was not an easy question to answer. If you hold it in the North that benefits the Northern Members, hold it in the South then it benefits the Southerners. Hold it in the Midlands with those in the Midlands Benefit and the Northerners and Southerners have the same travelling problems. No matter where we hold it someone can complain.
WHERE The Place: Someone suggest that we hold the event in a place with significant Railway History and Attraction that will be a focal point for the exhibition. But will also have the added attraction of something else related to the Railways going on. The choice of venues was not exhaustive.
Option One – Locomotion – Great Venue excellent Railway Heritage, lots going on – Disadvantage to far North
Option Two – Museum of the Great Western Railway – Great Venue lots going on – Disadvantage to far South
Option Three – Barrow Hill Roundhouse – Good Heritage Location – In the Midlands
Option Four – National Railway Museum Convention Centre (NRM), York – excellent Venue in terms of attraction and Railway Heritage with lots going on. The Convention Centre is a part of the NRM but is not in the museum Main Halls – Disadvantage between Midlands and the North
WHEN: This initially was not seen as a big issue but some thought was given to avoiding the major Model Railway events of the year like TINGs, Ali Pally, Warley, Doncaster etc.
Initial Decision: Based on all the factors it was decided to look at the NRM in York to see if the venue was a suitable space for such an event.
A sub-committee was formed and the local NGS Area Group were invited to be a part of that committee. Tony Woodruff the Area Groups Coordinator and Arthur Frost the General Secretary volunteered to lead the sub-committee and organise the event. First item on the agenda was to conduct a site visit to the NRM to assess its suitability and to ascertain the availability of the venue.
Final Decision: Having completed the site visit in February 2022. The sub-committee reported at the NGS March committee meeting the findings of that visit, where it was agreed that the NRM Convention Centre was fit for the purpose of an exhibition and that the required dates of 12 – 14 May were available. So the site was booked.