Gisela and Mim get steamy!
|If they're going to put hats out, I'm going to |
make an arse of myself...
The enthusiasts at Didcot are heroes when it comes to railway preservation, the whole thing having started in the 1960s when four schoolboys decided to purchase a steam train in order to preserve it. From there, over many decades, things grew, and more and more engines and carriages were saved from the scrapyard.
I was surprised to realise how easy it is to access the site from Didcot's mainline station. (NB it's very close, but steps are unavoidable.) The centre occupies the Didcot locomotive depot, which became redundant in the 1960s. This meant it had track, workshops, and everything the enthusiasts needed to preserve engines and carriages. It's even got a working water tower for refilling steam engines.
The 1930s engine shed has been used for a lot of filming; recently it doubled for Moscow station in Anna Karenina (2012), and was also used in The Danish Girl. That said, the site didn't have much in the way of passenger facilities back when it was first taken over – British Rail kept hold of Didcot station.
|Fromies, I found bits of your rail network!|
One thing that did surprise me was how little track there was – I've ridden on less well-known heritage railways such as the Swindon and Cricklade, and expected this one to have miles to travel on, but the journey from one end of the site to the other must've been about five minutes. Probably, like the lack of an original station, to do with the site being a repurposed works beside a mainline station and track that's still in use.
Of course, it wasn't all trains: there was tea and cake, and much chatter, and then there was cider and even more chatter. Then it was time to go home, but we won't leave it as long before our next get-together, I'm sure... we were musing over attacking the next Classic Car Boot in London, especially if Vix is trading. I'm really looking forward to our next adventure!
|Never a bad day out with this lady!|