EARLIER this year Didcot hit the headlines after it was named England’s ‘most normal town’ by researchers.

This bank holiday weekend, Didcot Railway Centre is on a mission to prove this wrong - by bringing an extraordinary feat of engineering to the town. 

Tim Nicholls, front of house manager at the centre, remind us of the impact made by the world's most famous locomotive, the Flying Scotsman.

He said: “The Flying Scotsman was the first train to top 100mph, it has the record for the longest continuous trip, it’s been right around the world and is known globally

“Having it in the town shows we’re not just an ordinary place - it puts Didcot’s name on the map. This extraordinary engine brings something extraordinary and everyone wants to be a part of it.”

The Railway Centre is awash with anticipation this week as staff and volunteers await the arrival of the famous engine. 

“Everyone has been working really hard to make sure we are ready, they are all very excited," added Mr Nicholls.

“There’s been a frenzy of painting and cleaning. We are doing everything we can to make the site look as good as possible and show off its best side”

The legendary locomotive hasn’t been in Didcot since 2005 and this is the first time since a multi-million pound restoration. 

The centre is expecting between 1,500 and 2,000 visitors for each day the Scotsman is on site - well above the numbers they attract on a regular weekend. 

Tim is hoping that the influx of visitors from all over the country, many of whom are visiting for the first time, will be tempted to return once they have seen what else the centre has to offer year-round. 

“We will have the Flying Scotsman running on the main demonstration line so it will go past multiple times and that’s obviously the main event” he said. 

“While people are waiting for their turn to ride, they can also pose in front of the engine that was in a Queen video. There will be live music, a flypast and we have another engine operating for trips as well.

“This is potentially going to be our biggest weekend in years and we want to show off all we’ve got.”

After problems with people trespassing on train tracks during the Scotsman’s inaugural run last year, the centre have had to put in place various security precautions including keeping the exact details of the engine’s arrival and departure a secret. 

“I think it shows how desperate people are to get a glimpse of it but the only way to see if safely is by coming to us.”

Mr Nicholls' family worked on the railways for generations and he has a deep personal connection to the trains at the centre.

He said: “My whole family would have been very excited to see this engine and to play a part in bringing it to Didcot is very special for me. It’s going to be a fantastic event.”

Tickets to see the Flying Scotsman at Didcot Railway Centre are still available from http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/ and cost £20 for adults and £10 for children.