Sell out confirmed for conference

The Heritage Railway Association has confirmed that its autumn conference sold out with more than a week to go, in a first for the increasingly important event.

More than 200 top heritage railway sector representatives will be coming together in Newcastle to discuss everything from safety to conservation on November 7/8. Demand for tickets to the event has been higher than ever before and the conference looks set to be the best attended HRA event in recent history.

The strong lineup of speakers has generated much excitement in the sector. Taking to the stage during the event will be figures including Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Parkinson, and President of US-based railroad contractors and oil-firing specialist Davidson Ward. The event is supported by Steam Railway Magazine.

Heritage Railway Association Chief Executive, Steve Oates, said: “We’re hugely pleased with the interest in this event. Our conferences have been growing for some time and we’ve been steadily increasing the size of venue. But this time around demand has even outstripped our bigger venue.

“I think the demand is evidence of an increased understanding in the sector of just how important working together on some of the big issues we’re facing is. It also shows the ever-increasing professionalism being displayed by volunteers and paid staff in heritage rail – something that we know both industry regulators and our end customers really expect.”

Alongside the lineup of some 22 guest speakers at the event, Heritage Railway Association members will also have the opportunity to meet specialist suppliers to the sector and take advantage of a host of networking opportunities. 

The Heritage Railway Association strives to ensure that its conference events utilise a variety of sites throughout the UK to ensure that no part of the sector is left out. Newcastle was chosen for the latest conference partly to commemorate 200-years since the creation of Robert Stephenson & Co’s works in the city – the first dedicated locomotive building facility in the world.

Even before the Autumn 2023 conference has begun, the HRA is already planning for its next conference, which is set to take place in the North Wales seaside resort of Llandudno during early 2024. Full details of the latter event are expected to be released soon.