Living Museum of the Great Western Railway

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CANCELLED - Historic Transport Rally

Sun 31 May - Vintage omnibuses, charabancs, cars and trucks

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The ongoing restrictions and uncertainties around the Coronavirus mean that we have decided to cancel this event.

We plan to stage a similar event as part of our 60th Anniversary next year - provisional date 6 June 2021.


The fourth annual Historic Transport Rally, in conjunction with Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust, will see vintage omnibuses, charabancs, cars and trucks will descend on Didcot to create a colourful spectacle.

As well as the Centre’s historic steam trains and usual activities, visitors will be able to hop on a vintage bus or take a short walk from the Centre to the two Rally Sites adjacent to Didcot Parkway Station.  Over 200 historic cars are expected along with several unusual commercial vehicles, fire engines and tractors. Stalls will include models, tools and food outlets. The Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust will also be running free trips to Wallingford, Abingdon, Wantage and local villages.

Exhibitors' Application

For visitors, normal prices apply and will include admission to the Railway Centre, unlimited steam train rides, entrance to both sites for the Transport Rally.

As well as the special activites, all the usual attractions of a Steam Day will be open, meaning 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.

There’s a chance to get hands-on in the Science of Railways carriages and 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. On Steam Days, don't miss the opportunity to get hands-on and control trains using the 1960s technology of the Swindon Panel.  The equipment was once the heart of Swindon signalbox has been saved and restored so, guided by one of our experts, you can keep trains running safely and to time on a virtual Great Western mainline!

Children can let off steam in the outdoor play area, make tracks to the indoor toy train sets 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 180 years of railway progress in just one day!

More details our collections can be found in the Explore section, and in our Guidebook (available for purchase online with your tickets or at the entrance).

Open 10.30am – 5.00pm, last admission 3.30pm

The cheapest and most convenient way to buy tickets is online in advance as these are discounted by 10%.

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