Join us as we move back in time to the 1940's and see what life would have been like on the railways during the war. Railways were the most important transport system of the time and moved everything.
We will be showing troop movements, with part of the train acting as an ambulance train, we'll have a small N.A.A.F.I and field hospital and what it would be like during an evacuation. Our air raid shelter completes the picture as you can find out what it was like for the enginemen during an air raid.
Our engines will be in steam working trains to provide unlimited rides on the Centre's two demonstration lines. Arrive early to see these and other locomotives lined up in front of the engine shed affording a host of photographic opportunities.
In addition to above, we will have a special guest! Visiting engine, Lancashire and Yorkshire Tank 752 will be joining us on loan from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust for the weekend, so take a rare opportunity to ride behind this on our branch line over the course of the weekend.
Take in our coal stage – the only surviving working example of a type of building that was once commonplace at locomotive sheds. At the coal stage, the solid fuel can be transferred into tubs which then tip to fill the bunker of a locomotive waiting below.
As well as the trains, there's plenty to see and do as you explore this 21-acre living museum and unearth almost two centuries of railway history. Stroll through the original 1932 engine shed and see magnificent preserved locomotives – you can even climb onto the footplates of some! See surviving track from Brunel’s broad gauge, discover painstakingly restored buildings, coaches and wagons and learn more about the development of railways and how they changed everyday lives.
Steam trains will be operating on both of the Centre's two demonstration lines, allowing you to take unlimited rides. On many days, the second line will be running too and may feature a pioneering diesel railcar, a heritage diesel locomotive or a small branchline steam engine. Check our Locomotive Roster to see what we expect to be running on the date of your visit.
Pick up our colourful Centre Guide, explore this 21-acre living museum and unearth almost two centuries of railway history. Get up close and see them at close quarters. Stroll through the original 1932 Engine Shed and see magnificent preserved locomotives – find 5900 Hinderton Hall, climb onto the footplate and listen to Archie, the driver, and Stan, the fireman, prepare their loco! Listen out for the sounds of a working engine shed and see if you can hear Stan fetch his supplies from Jonah, the storeman.
See surviving track from Brunel's Broad Gauge, discover painstakingly restored buildings, coaches and wagons and learn more about the development of railways and how they changed everyday lives.
There's a chance to get hands-on in The Signalling Centre where you can find out how trains have been controlled through the ages. Descend into a shelter* built to keep Didcot's enginemen safe in WWII and experience an air raid or immerse yourself in the varied collection of fascinating, smaller artefacts in the museum. Don't miss the carriage display 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!
Children can also make tracks to the outdoor play area or dress up as a station master*. You can relax over lunch or enjoy a snack in the refreshment rooms and don't forget to pick up a souvenir in the gift shop. The modern trains running past the centre complete the picture and mean you can experience over 180 years of railway progress in just one day!