Didcot Railway Centre in Oxfordshire is a working heritage railway museum and a treat for rail enthusiasts or budding historians.
The centre focuses on restoration as well as being a museum and is home to a number of steam locomotives that are authorised to run on the main line. With a collection of steam locomotives drawn from the original Great Western Railway and a host of rolling stock including a Travelling Post Office, which is the centrepiece of an excellent demonstration, it is an excellent place to learn about the golden age of steam.
Other demonstrations include a traditional lever-operated signal box, a coaling stage and turntable, plus the restoration activities and maintenance tasks that go on inside the engine sheds.
Didcot is also home to ‘Firefly’, a replica (built in 2005) of a Broad Gauge locomotive dating back to the year 1840.
Admission includes rides on operational ‘running’ days, although these are only over a short distance – there are no point-to-point stations as Didcot Railway Centre is not an operational line. A roster of which locomotives will be in steam on particular dates can be found at the Didcot Railway Centre website.
It should be noted that wheelchair and pram access is not available; the centre is surrounded on all sides by operational railway lines and access to the centre is via a subway and a flight of stairs. There are no lift facilities.