Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

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Main Demonstration Line

The main demonstration line at Didcot runs the entire length of the Centre, a distance of nearly half a mile.

Starting adjacent to the entrance, it runs along the Centre's eastern boundary, paralleling Network Rail's 'east curve'.

On running days you will usually be able to ride on a train formed of coaches from the 1930s hauled by one our larger steam locomotives.

Main Line Platform

About to Depart the Mainline Platform

The platform opposite the Railway Centre entrance is of a prefabricated concrete construction, based on the design of materials recovered from Eynsham station. These are complemented by a replica Great Western style waiting room.

Near to the station you can see an example of the Exchange Apparatus traditionally used to transfer mail bags to and from the Royal Mail's Travelling Post Office trains.

Down the Line

Down Line

As you travel down the line you pass the engine shed and locomotive works before entering the ‘countryside’ near the picnic area, and finally heading into the woods before arriving at the rural station of Oxford Road.

You may notice, as you travel on the train or follow the path beside the line, that you pass two signals, both fulfilling the same function, but of very different construction and appearance; one is built on a tall timber pole and has a red signal arm, the other is tubular steel and has a yellow arm, yet they are both ‘distant signals’.

Oxford Road

Oxford Road is at the northern extremity of the Centre and at present consists of little more than a basic platform in the woods. We do have plans to re-erect the substantial station building from Heyford, which is in store on-site, in due course.

You should be aware that the Great Western Railway practice of placing the term ‘Road’ in a station name, was intended to inform the traveller that the station was nowhere near the town in question, it was simply on the road to that town. We have followed this tradition, and Oxford Road station is nowhere near Oxford, though to be honest it's not strictly on a road to it either! You can however leave the train here, if you wish to do so, and go into the Transfer Shed for the Broad Gauge Railway or a ride on the Branch Line, or you can simply walk back through the Centre.

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