By the beginning of December, the shuttering was starting to come down on some of the large reinforced concrete retaining walls, and it is becoming easier to visualise the final shape of the ramp.
Looking north from the site entrance. On the right a new set of steps will lead down to the subway, whilst on the left a bridge will carry those who have walked up the ramp to the ticket office.
These walls have obviously been the subject of much assembling of reinforcing steel and shuttering over the past few weeks, and there is clearly some further similar work to do now for the remaining walls.
Looking across towards the existing subway. We will eventually break through in the area where the hoses are currently. Another wall will be constructed shortly to carry the other end of the small bridge span.
We still anticipate completion of the basic structure by the end of the year, but the 'breakthrough' into the existing subway will not take place until January as it would inevitably conflict with our Santa steamings.
We are also commencing work on the various GWR-style fittings which will be required, starting with a new entrance gate and some drainage gratings.
Whilst we have the funds to complete the structure itself, we intend to introduce some Great Western features into what will become the first structure that our visitors see on entering our site. As well as the gates and drainage gratings this could include such features as railings and tiling. We have launched an appeal to pay for these 'nice-to haves' and would welcome any contribution you may be able to make.
A ceremonial opening is planned for February 2024.
For more information see the Appeal Leaflet
The steps at the entrance to Didcot Railway Centre have been challenging to some and impossible for others. In particular, for events aimed at young families, a huge number of prams and buggies have to be carried up the steps and then back down at the end of the visit. Whilst we try to provide help with this, it is not appropriate for a modern visitor attraction.