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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 14 - December 1972
A Year's Publicity - By Reg and Janice Uphill
When we took over the publicity from Graham Mimms at about this time last year, he told us that the main problem was to persuade the Executive to let us have the money! So armed with this advice, and knowing that the Society must save as much money as it can for the east yard and other projects, we have tried to justify every penny that has been spent and get the maximum publicity for as little as we can. Publicity does not give one an obvious return for money paid out, as happens in the sales department, for instance, and it is impossible to tell which of our posters or adverts, bring in the most people, but now and again we do get wind that a bit of publicity has borne fruit.
Having now done the publicity for a whole year, it seems a good time to look back and see what has been achieved. We tried advertising in all the major local papers within a 50 miles radius from Quainton, and at the Late Summer Bank Holiday we also advertised in the Evening News. We have also managed to get regular publicity on the 'Today' programme and on Radio Oxford. Next year we will also be trying the medium wave station , Radio London.
The number of visitors at Open Weekends in 1972 were about the same as the previous year, but we were dogged with terrible weather at each one, so it is possible we would have had more people had the weather been better. The DMU operated on each occasion, but for the Spring Bank Holiday BR did not advertise it themselves due to their own internal troubles. However, if one reckons that most of the people who come on the train would not come to Quainton if the train was not available, one could add to our income their contributions to the purchase of tickets for train rides and refreshments.
We have done our best to get as much free advertising as possible, on the radio as well as in print, and many thanks are due to our contacts who feed information to various local papers. We have also found that advertising in certain papers sometimes results in a few lines of report without their being asked to do so. Both the "Harrow" and "Watford Observers" have specifically asked us to give them information; they cannot promise always to publish it, but very often they have space to spare and will put something in. We did tell all the local papers about the arrival of Bodmin, and this certainly had the right effect as a member of the Bodmin team was kept as permanent public relations officer over the August Bank Holiday weekend; there were so many people asking questions! The "Bucks Advertiser" reporter, whom we had told about the arrival of our horse box, not only took copious notes and reported its arrival, but later came to the August Bank Holiday weekend and gave us another good write up!
Some papers give cheaper rates now that we are a registered charity, so it is well worth mentioning this fact when writing on behalf of the Society.
We are very grateful to all the people who display posters; some in faraway places, and also to all those who have told us where they have seen our posters at other societies' premises as this is the only way we know if our reciprocating posters are really being displayed. If any of you have a loco or piece of rolling stock arriving at Quainton, it is well worth telling the local papers on the day of the move as they will often send a reporter and photographer to witness the event. It is usually too late once the vehicle has passed through a town as the papers want the news as it occurs, though a written report sent immediately afterwards and a photograph is sometimes printed.
Another way in which members can help our publicity is by good exhibition of stock at our Open Weekends. It is not enough to have a loco which interests visitors if it is sheeted over so that it cannot be seen. We admit we've been culprits with Chislet on one or two occasions, but will try and practise what we preach in future! Although many people visit the site just to see the locos, whether stationary or in steam, many visitors are also interested in us as a small railway, and it is most important that we are seen to be trying to run things properly and not just playing trains. Many people take photos and we do not want to be seen doing things we shouldn't; if we have any misdemeanours let us hide them for goodness sake! What will bring people back to the site again is not only a new loco or historic piece of rolling stock, but also the way we do things. If members of the public get a friendly reception in the booking office, for instance, when they ask a question (however stupid it may seem to the person being asked!) it could encourage them to come again. We very rarely know if any senior officials from British Rail or the Ministry are on the site at Open Weekends, unless of course they are officially invited, but sometimes they ask questions and then do say who they are. Members would probably be surprised at the official interest which has been shown in our site from the first Open Weekend. We also have ex-steam loco drivers and signalmen, and inspectors from Aylesbury Station (though we are beginning to recognize them!) visiting us at frequent intervals, and all these people can put in either a good word or a bad for us. Presuming we would all like to be linked up with British Rail again one day, even if only for the movement of stock initially, it is how we behave now which will mould our future. The grapevine has told us that Quainton has been considered to be a junk yard without much of interest. We know this is absolutely untrue and that we have a unique collection of valuable and fascinating exhibits in our possession, but we must always give the public good value on their visits to our site. After all we depend on them for our future expansion.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 21 October 2017