Step back in time and journey through the rich history of rail travel at the Didcot Railway Centre. Nestled in the heart of Oxfordshire, this living museum is a haven for steam and railway enthusiasts of all ages. Whether you're a lifelong train buff or simply looking for a unique day out, we've got something special waiting for you!
Make sure you see and enjoy all there is to do at Didcot Railway Centre:
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 – 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.
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. Hear from George about his career on the Great Western Railway as he sits in the Office scene. Experience the ambience of railway sounds.
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. See the rare 1905 Lamson ‘Cash & Parcel’ railway originally installed in a shop in Kansas City, USA.
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.
- Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - We have a hearing loop in In the Shop.
- Toilets for Disabled Visitors
Children & Infants
- Baby Changing Facilities
- Dog Friendly - Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the Centre but they should be kept on a lead. Sorry, but dogs, other than assistance dogs, are not allowed into the refreshment rooms.
- Picnic Area