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Didcot Railway Centre
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Carriage and Wagon Work
Fitting the oil pipes in 
the crankcase of Diesel Railcar No. 22
My Turn to Drive

Latest News

Didcot visits Model Railway Shows

Didcot Railway Centre stand with Gerry Norris

Gerry Norris, a member of the Didcot Railway Centre Education Team, regularly takes a railway centre information stand to Model Railway Exhibitions. If you are going along to any of the following, please do say hello.

Bookings for Didcot Railway Centre display stand for 2015

3/4 January Scout Rail - Kidlington
14 February Newbury Model Railway Exhibition
21 February Kenavon Railway Society - Reading
28 February Abingdon Model Railway Exhibition
14 March Modrail 2015 - Steam, Swindon
9 May Loddon Vale Model Railway Club - Arborfield
4 July Beaconsfield Model Railway Exhibition
12/13 September Swindon Railway Festival 2015 - Steam, Swindon
26 September Earley Model Railway Exhibition
31 October Abingdon Model Railway Exhibition - Didcot
November White House Model Railway Exhibition - Hampton, Middlesex

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4144 Steams Again


On Wednesday18 February 2-6-2T No 4144 had her boiler inspected in steam by the insurance company and we're pleased to report that all went well.

The restoration team then took her onto the main demonstration line for a bit of exercise in the late afternoon sunshine, before returning to the lifting shop to complete the final jobs in the loco's restoration.

Hopefully, it should not be long now before this lovely locomotive is completed, finish painted and running passenger trains at Didcot Railway Centre once more.

Starlight Wish of a Lifetime at Didcot Railway Centre

Daniel Bainbridge

Didcot Railway Centre was proud to help Starlight Children’s Foundation grant Daniel Bainbridge’s wish of a lifetime last Sunday. Starlight Children’s Foundation is the UK’s leading wish granting charity for children and young people with serious and terminal illness.

Ten year old Daniel from Abingdon was diagnosed shortly after birth with Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disease that causes tumours to grow along the nerves. Late in 2012, Daniel was also sadly diagnosed with an Optic Pathway Glioma; a type of slow growing brain tumour. Since then, Daniel has undergone intense chemotherapy.

Despite all these challenges, Daniel has remained positive, often cheering up other children on his ward. Daniel’s mother, Julia, wrote to Starlight, to ask them to help grant Daniel’s wish to be a train driver.

The Foundation contacted Didcot Railway Centre, and plans were put in place for Daniel to have a footplate ride on a steam engine, speak to a train driver about what it’s like to drive a train and explore the engine shed.

Daniel was shown around the railway centre by the Mayor of Didcot, Councillor Scott Wilgrove, who also loaned Daniel his chain of office!

Neil Swan, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, said “We are delighted to be granting Daniel's wish-of-lifetime this weekend and to be creating precious memories for his family to cherish. The positive focus that a Starlight wish brings really does have a beneficial effect and helps to restore the fun and magic of childhood. We are extremely grateful to Didcot Railway Centre for their assistance in helping make Daniel's wish come true.

Details of the Starlight Children’s Foundation can be found on their website.

The Great Western Society is not responsible for the content of external web sites.

A Valentine's Day Boost to Castle Restoration

Cheque Presentation
Members of the 'Pendennis Castle' team, standing left to right, Keith Turfrey, Richard Croucher, Dudley Allewey, Kevin Paul (holding cheque), Clive Sparling, Angus Pottinger, Jim Secchi, Drew Fermor (holding cheque) and Mike Bodsworth. On the locomotive's chassis are left to right Andrew Vaughan, Charlie McCarthy and Ben Shakeshaft.

On Saturday 14 February, during a book signing to launch the Haynes Owner's Workshop Manual for the GWR/BR (WR) Castle class, a cheque for £2,500 was presented by Kevin Paul, Sales Manager of Haynes Publishing, to Drew Fermor, the book's author who is also the Project Manager for restoration of 4079 ‘Pendennis Castle’ at Didcot Railway Centre.

Drew said “Drew said: "My long-suffering and very supportive partner affectionately refers to Pendennis Castle as ‘the other woman'! It is appropriate, therefore that the generous gift to the 'other woman' was presented on Valentine's Day. This money will go into the restoration fund for 'Pendennis Castle'. It represents the photograph budget for the book, thanks to the generosity of the photographers whose work is published in it and who all agreed to donate their reproduction fees to the locomotive's fund”.

Book Signings - 14 & 22 February

Book Signings

On Saturday 14 February the author of the new Haynes Castle Class Manual, Drew Fermor, will be at Didcot Railway Centre to sign copies of the book and talk about his work restoring the iconic locomotives.

Drew is the project manager for the restoration and mainline running of No 4079 Pendennis Castle at Didcot Railway Centre. He says:

When the Castles were built after World War I they proved an instant hit, and were the pinnacle of engineering at both a power and efficiency level. Their reign was short lived but they captured my heart and that of thousands of other enthusiasts. I have been involved in a torrid affair with one of them for nearly ten years now. My long-suffering and very supportive partner affectionately refers to Pendennis Castle as ‘the other woman! In that time I have become project manager and the obsession has continued. I am thrilled to be able to share this passion with readers through the book, and look forward to meeting fellow enthusiasts and signing copies at the event.

On Sunday 22 February the author of a new book ‘What the Railways Did For Us’, Stuart Hylton, will be at Didcot Railway Centre to sign copies of the book.

Stuart is a member of the Education Team at Didcot Railway Centre. He says:

It is hard, from a distance of nearly two centuries, to imagine the impact the coming of the railways must have had at the start of the nineteenth century. Their physical impact was dramatic enough – great mechanical horses, breathing fire and smoke and drawing impossibly heavy trains at unimaginable speeds, across a landscape transformed by the embankments and cuttings, viaducts and tunnels which their passage demanded. However, they would also transform the way war was conducted and peace was maintained; prove to be one of the drivers of the dramatic industrial growth of the nineteenth century; create opportunities for many to become enormously wealthy, but impoverish many more, who invested unwisely; cause the state to think again about the policy of laissez-faire that was its default position; transform our leisure; radically re-shape our towns and cities and change our very notions of time and how we measured it.

How Many Mayors ... ?

Mayors and Council Leaders

On Saturday 10 January the Mayor of Didcot, Cllr Scott Wilgrove, hosted an event for mayors of local towns and other council leaders to visit Didcot Railway Centre. The group travelled in a 102-year-old railway carriage, No 92, and took turns to ride on the footplate of 75-year-old pannier tank locomotive No 3650 that was hauling their train.

In this photograph of the group with 3650, those wearing chains of office in the front row are, right to left: Cllr Scott Wilgrove, Mayor of Didcot; Penny Wilgrove, Mayoress of Didcot; Cllr Anne Purse, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council; Cllr Helen Pighills, Deputy Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames; Cllr Jane Titchener, Mayor of Wallingford; Mark Savery, Mayor of Wallingford's Consort; Cllr Margaret Turner, Deputy Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council; Michael Turner, Margaret Turner's Consort; Cllr Des Healy, Deputy Mayor of Didcot; Cllr Jeannette Matelot-Green, Mayor of Thame.

The group also had a tour of the carriage works and of the locomotive works to see restoration projects in progress.


Recreating the golden age of the Great Western Railway