Various Exhibition Trains toured Britain during the BR era, usually spending a few days, sometimes longer, at different locations. Companies and other organisations would hire complete trains and in some cases apply distinctive liveries to them. Until the 1970s these were predominently formed of adapted vehicles of LMSR design. During 1970 the first adapted vehicles of BR design started to enter service.
BR also had Exhibition Trains promoting itself. Such trains usually used Exhibition Vans carrying departmental numbers. Often though trains were formed of a mixture of revenue earning and departmental Exhibition Vans. Also, passenger carrying and catering carriages were included in formations as were Wolverton based Cinema Coaches ZDW150353 and ZDB975403.
A significant development in 1969 was that Train Ex (trading name of Exhibitions on the move who were part of the Builder Group) started chartering Exhibition Trains from BR, continuing to do so until 1978. The following year Rea Mobile Marketing who had there own fleet of LNER design Exhibitiion Vans and also chartered Exhibition Vans from BR entered the market. Rea Mobile Marketing sold its Exhibition Vans to BR in 1974 following the setting up of Train Ex (see below). They resumed chartering Exhibition Trains from from BR in 1976 and continued to do so until 1980.
Train Ex Exhibition Trains were usually fitted out at Wimborne by Contact Displays of Bournemouth who were also part of the Builder Group. Observations made at Wimborne would be welcomed as it is suspected several Exhibition Vans were stored there for a number of years.
Rea Mobile Marketing were based at Kensington Olympia were there trains were usually fitted out. Kensington Olympia was also used as a location on the itineries of Exhibition Train tours of the country.
In November 1973 BR created a new company, TrainEx Ltd, jointly owned by BR, the Builder Group and Brintex Exhibitions which was granted a monopoly. This continued until July 1975 when an "open market" resumed and Rea Mobile Marketing re-entered the market.
From the Autumn of 1976, possibly earlier, the principal base for Exhibition Trains was the former GWR station and sidings adjacent to the present day Salisbury station on the up side (This is now the site of the South West Trains depot). At the time this was referred to as "Fisherton Yard" or "Coal Yard" although coal traffic was much reduced by the mid / late 1970s. There were also NCL offices and a road vehicle maintenance depot in the yard. Most of the remaining GWR station buildings became a base initially for Train Ex following closure of the line through Wimborne to West Moors. Subsequently for Ambassador Exhibitions who fitted out the Exhibition Vans after Train Ex left the market.
In addition to any at Wimborne, be welcomed, as would any sightings of Exhibition Vans stored elsewhere. At Salisbury the "active" fleet was usually to be found in and around the "Coal Yard" whilst those not required, stored or condemned were kept in "East Yard". "East yard" was to the east of the station on the up side and was also sometimes also referred to as "Fisherton Yard" presumably because of its close proximity to "Fisherton Tunnel". Close to the station though is "Fisherton Mill" and it is presumed this was the reason for the former GWR location being known as "Fisherton Yard".
As well as at Kensington Olympia, Exhibition Trains were often be found at Marylebone station.
Whilst the fleet of carriages adapted for such use is reasonably well documented, the consists were not regularly reported. The prinicpal aim of this conundrum is to bring together references and observations of Exhibition train formations during the 1970s. For each year reported formations are given along with the month(s) reported and exhibition. Generally formations have been reported numerically rather than as formed.
Further details of formations would be very much welcomed. Please forward these to Peter Hall.