Well, for so many it has been 15 months or more since they last went to an actual event and saw visitors and exhibitors alike, face to face.
Individuals and companies will have had a wide range of feelings and thoughts about going. We certainly flittered between being keen and being anxious. Particularly the latter when we heard on the grapevine that Network Rail - a major exhibitor, supporter, source of visitors, not to mention a lynch pin in the industry, were not going to be there. We were pleased to establish that what we had been misinformed.
Norbar has exhibited at Rail Live previously but it has always been on someone on a distributor’s stand. In 2021 we opted to exhibit in our own right, and that almost certainly extenuated the desire to be sure it was a sound decision with minimal risk (to health and budgets).
What a help it was being able to visit the site before the show by attending the Exhibitor’s Day in May. It made the planning stages far easier and helped to alleviate the concerns and mitigate the risks about returning to the exhibition circuit for an event that was scheduled to run before the much anticipated (and now postponed) June 21st Freedom Day. How helpful it would be to visit any show venue you plan on exhibiting at but have little or no previous experience of. Thank you to the Rail Live Team.
Arriving on site on Tuesday 15th (final set-up) was something that prompted mostly excitement together with some reservation. Will the weather play ball, will the visitors come, will everyone be safe, will it all pay off? Personally, I concluded that wisdom had prevailed - everyone had done or was doing all they could reasonably do to make it safe and successful. As individuals, as companies, indeed as an industry we have to move forward, and this most certainly felt like an encouraging and welcome step.
When Wednesday came, the sun came too, and warmer and brighter than on Tuesday. What a joy it was to see the visitors come too - and in such numbers. A buzz quickly established itself everywhere. A very encouraging level of footfall made it all the way to zone J (the location of the smart and innovative pedestrian bridge erected for the show) and the leads and demonstrations built and built.
Day two often tended to be less busy than day one. For many visitors one day is sufficient so it was understandable that day one, with warm and dry weather forecast, was the busier. As it transpired the rain on day two only put in an appearance at about 3:30pm, by which time I suspect most people’s minds were focused on breakdown and exiting. The interest and leads generated on the first morning alone vindicated our decision to exhibit. The level of demo requests and interest was very pleasing. Most in demand was our Network Rail approved battery torque tool, then our newly launched electronic torque wrench - the ProTronic family, and the ever-popular Industrial torque wrench.
Throughout the show were product demonstrations, engaging presentations, avid discussions, requested quotations, inevitable negotiations and yet perhaps best of all, the simple face to face conversations. From all of this came an air of quiet optimism and positive industry expectation!
Of course, for Norbar it’s all about torqueing - that’s what we do. That was true of Rail Live as well, but at this event it was also just great to meet, to discuss, to catch up and at last, face to face, just talk.
Well done the Rail Live team, the event sponsors, the venue, fellow exhibitors, colleagues and the all-important willing and engaged visitors. From all perspectives this was an undoubted and encouraging step forward. Let’s keep taking such steps, it is in all our interests.