Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

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10 Things Not To Miss

Make sure you see and enjoy all there is to do at Didcot Railway Centre.

The EXPLORE seciton has more information on the many things to discover on site but here are brief details of our 10 Things Not To Miss to get you started!

 

1) See the towering Coal Stage

Didcot’s Coal Stage is the only surviving working example of a type of building once commonplace at locomotive sheds.  Wagons loaded with coal are propelled up the steep incline – at the top, the solid fuel is transferred into tubs which then tip to fill the bunker of a locomotive waiting below.

 

2) Explore the 1932 Engine Shed

Stroll around the Engine Shed and discover 15 or more preserved locomotives.  Climb onto the footplates of those where stairs are provided and imagine yourself in the shoes of a driver or fireman.

 

3) See fascinating smaller artefacts in the Museum

From a platform ticket machine to brass nameplates and distinctive posters the Museum is full of exhibits recalling the heyday of the Great Western Railway

 

4) Refreshment Rooms

Grab a drink or take-away snack from the Refreshment Rooms.

 

5) Gift Shop

Pick up a souvenir from the wide range in the Gift Shop or browse for a book.

 

6) Locomotive Turntable

The turntable is used to ensure that tender locomotives, in particular, are facing in the direction of travel.

The current turntable is on the site of the 1932 Great Western one but is a replacement table, as the original had been removed by British Railways.

 

7) See magnificently restored coaches in the Carriage Display

Coaches dating from Victorian times to the 1940s evoke bygone eras. See the VIP Saloon reputed to have been used by General Eisenhower during the preparations for D-Day and later used in the GWR Royal Train!

 

8) Delivering The Goods

Freight traffic was once more important to the railways than passengers - there are a host of restored goods wagons around the site used for carrying all sorts of loads from milk to bananas and from coal to gunpowder - see how many you can find!

 

9) See the pipe from Brunel’s innovative Atmospheric Railway

A remarkable artefact from Brunel’s experiments with alternative traction.

 

10) Discover the earliest days of railways with the Broad Gauge and Transfer Shed

Fascinating replicas of Iron Duke and Fire Fly – the high speed trains of the 1840s – along with reproductions of the primitive carriages from that era can be compared with later standard gauge rolling stock in the Transfer Shed.  The building originally stood elsewhere in Didcot and was used to tranship goods between trains of the two gauges.

 

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