Rails on the Western Front – Didcot Railway Centre

On 26th May 2018 the Didcot Railway Centre – also known as the Living Museum of the Great Western Railway –  held a WWI event titled as Rails on the Western Front. Having only visited the Centre on one previous occasion and as the event crossed my interests in railway and military history, attendance was a must.

The Centre is home to a well maintained variety of (mostly steam) locomotives, while almost as impressive is the railway infrastructure including the splendid engine shed, turntable, traverser  and broad gauge running lines. A casual visitor to the Centre will take about 2 hours to go round, while the enthusiast will likely take all day. Two demonstration running lines are within the Centre and on steam days the visitor may take as many rides as they wish for the single entry price.

Rather than list all the locomotives on site – which would be a tedious task and quite unnecessary as this information is available  elsewhere – I will list only the locomotives that  feature in my photographs.

As usual the captions will show just the running number and name (where appropriate), so on to the images:

WWI Theme
There was also, of course, displays specific to the WWI theme.  The re-enactors were happy to chat (and pose for pictures) and very knowledgeable about their period while the ambulance train was something I’d never seen before.

Centre & Event Guides

For a very reasonable £5 (price correct as of May 2018) a very informative, 47 page guide is available for the Centre. The guide is crammed with informative text, photographs ( many of them in colour), a map of the site, a walk-round guided tour and a stock list. Because the day we visited was a special event, there was also a specific guide included in the entry price.

And finally…


So this was my second visit to the Didcot Railway Centre and my first at a special event.. Tony and I spent pretty much the whole day at the event and were thoroughly entertained.  To all railway enthusiasts I very much recommend a visit, if possible on a steaming day. Details of all events are on the Centre’s website.

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