Didcot Railway Centre

3 May 2009

When we arrived, 5322 was sitting waiting its turn on the "main line". Painted in Khaki livery to represent the condition in which it would have appeared during its service with the Railway Operating Division, 5322 was built in 1917 and very soon found itself sent to France to haul ROD troop and supply trains between the Channel Ports and the front line.

Running on the railway centre's "main line" (with the National Rail line from Reading to Oxford on the right), pannier tank 0-6-0 number 3650 was one of 863 class 57xx locomotives built by the Great Western Railway. Built in 1939, it was sold to a private colliery in 1963, then disposed of in 1969. It returned to service in 2008.

Lucy standing in the path of 5322

The engine shed at Didcot Railway Centre: the chimney and cooling towers of Didcot Power Station (familiar from last week's walk) loom on the horizon.

The coal shute - coal wagons were taken up the inclined railway, from where their contents could be discharged directly into the tenders of locomotives on the line below.

Another class 57xx, this time 3738, on another of the Centre's running lines. No. 3738 emerged from Swindon works in September 1937. It was allocated to Old Oak Common depot in London, and sent for scrap in August 1965. It has been returned to operation three times in restoration, most recently at Easter 2007 .

Fire Fly, a replica of the broad gauge loco, completed at Didcot by The Fire Fly Trust in 2005.

The mixed gauge tracks

A replica third-class carriage behind Fire Fly

No 251 the Hawksworth Auto Trailer, built in 1951 - these were allowed the train to be driven from a cab in the leading coach when the locomotive is pushing the train from the back.

Stephen gets busy (though not that busy!) with a trolley at Burlescombe

A mock-up of the short-lived "atmospheric" (vacuum-powered) railway.

The traverser in front of the carriage and wagon workshop

Lucy at Didcot Halt, with no 4866, an 0-4-2T built at Swindon in February 1936. It spent most of its working life as 1466, but since 1999 has returned to its original number of 4866.

GWR diesel railcar number 22. One of only two surviving examples, and to date the only one in running order

Lucy with the turntable.

5322 on the "main line"

After our ride behind 5322, a last look back at the site before catching the train back to London. A great day out.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson