Happy new year to all.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year and is looking forward to a busy and successful 2018.

At Didcot Railway Centre we have recovered from our Christmas events and our final weekday opening of 2017. Our new leaflet is out and being distributed around the area and we are back to our normal weekend opening for the first few weeks. This year we are extending our opening period and we will open daily from March until the beginning of October.

On Sunday, January 28, we have another one of our successful Little Engineers’ Workshops, aimed at children aged between three and six years old, when the subject will be levers. The Little Engineers will have a chance to build a see saw and take part in activity workshops to build their own levers. There will also be a ‘Spot the lever around Didcot Railway Centre’ activity sheet to follow. The workshop is included in our normal admission and there is no need to book.

We have a splendid fleet of carriages dating from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s. Our vintage carriages are some of the gems of our collection and we will be running a vintage train on specific weekends this year. Visitors can experience how their ancestors used to travel in compartments with no toilets or buffet facilities.

The Spring Bank Holiday is a chance to see The Great War Society (GWS) in action again at our Rails on the Western Front event. The GWS will be setting up an infantry camp and demonstrating the life of First World War soldiers. We have a new exhibit to display too – a desk from a pharmacist’s saloon on a First World War ambulance train.

Our major event of the year will be the opening of The Signalling Centre, a new exhibition that tells the story of signalling from the railway policeman in Victorian times to the modern computer controlled signalling that keeps the railway safe today. The exhibition is built around the Swindon Panel which will be on display in the building on our open days. On certain days members of the Swindon Panel Society are planning to open the Panel room for visitors to signal trains. The grand opening will take place on Saturday, June 23.

We will also be running our popular programme of themed days, including a new event in September that tells the story of the role that the railways played in moving freight around the country – Delivering the Goods.

It is going to be an exciting year for us so if you’re looking for a day out, come along and see us.