Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

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Diamond Jubilee Gala - Part 1

Sat 31 July & Sun 1 August | Celebrate our 60th Anniversary with 6 locos in action

The Great Western Society, the Charity which runs Didcot Railway Centre, was born out of an appeal in 1961 to save a GWR tank engine.  Six decades on the Centre is home to the largest collection of artefacts anywhere in the World relating to a single transport company. Come and celebrate our Diamond Jubilee and ride behind up to six locomotives!

 


 

Locomotive No 6046 will be visiting from the Churnet Valley Railway and is a type known as an S160 and having her in action at Didcot will recall the days when six of the gargantuan American-built locos were based at Didcot in 1943-44. Find out more about S160s and 6046.

S160 No. 6046 in action at the Churnet Valley Railway

 

Other steam power will be come in the form of the award-winning 2999 ‘Lady of Legend which entered service in 2019 following a 24-year project to recreate the elegant Edwardian engine; No 29 a powerful colliery locomotive built to haul heavy coal trains on the Lambton Colliery system in Wearside; and 1340 - the oldest working Great Western Railway engine having been built in 1897 to work at Newport Docks in South Wales.

Two of Centre's diesels will also play their part in the celebrations with Class 14 D9516 and 08604 ‘Phantom’, which is normally confined to shunting duties, taking a turn on passenger workings.

In addition to passenger trains, the event will feature goods workings, demonstrations of the 70ft turntable in action, a chance to see locomotives taking coal from the Grade II Listed 1932 coal stage and dramatic action as a coal truck is propelled up the steep incline to the coal stage – all sights that were commonplace at the steam depot in GWR days.

 

On site, you will find painstakingly restored buildings, carriages, and wagons and learn more about the development of railways and how they changed everyday lives. Visitors will also have the chance to get up close to the locomotives in the spacious Engine Shed which has remained largely-unchanged since it was built in 1932. See the magnificent preserved locomotives - you can even climb onto the footplate of some! A leisurely walk or a trip on our branch line will take you to the Transfer Shed where you can see surviving track from Brunel's Broad Gauge railway with replica locomotives and carriages.

The large, well-ventilated carriage shed will also be open with coaches dating from Victorian times to the 1940s that 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!

 

Enjoy a snack or light lunch in the Refreshment Rooms and pick up a souvenir from our exclusive range in the Gift Shop.

 

 

Select your date and arrival time.

You should arrive within your 30 minute time slot and will then be welcome to stay all day until we close at 5.00pm.

See our latest pre-arrival advice here.

NOTE FOR MEMBERS: We are asking members to pay a modest fee to attend this event as the costs of steaming four locomotives are significant. We thank you for your support and understanding and free members tickets are available for our Steam Days.

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