NOW that we have come to the end of our main season we are starting to get ready for the winter when Thomas joins us in December for our Christmas events.

Of course we are still open every weekend and look forward to welcoming visitors.

This year we have had some very interesting visitors from all over the world, including quite a few from Australia.

In one week in the summer there were two couples who had flown to the UK on the new non-stop flight from Perth: it was fascinating to hear their experience of such a long flight.

They both lived near Perth so the direct flight was a great advantage.

Most of our Australian visitors come from the New South Wales area and I’ve got relatives in that area so it’s lovely to compare notes and remember family holidays. Last week we were reminiscing on the road and railway journeys between Sydney and Newcastle and I made a mental note to visit the NSW Rail Museum in Thirlmere.

We also had some visitors this summer from India.

They were involved in a railway museum and it was fascinating to compare notes on railway preservation in both countries – we all face very similar challenges.

Our American visitors are amazed at the huge number and variety of railway museums and heritage railways here in the UK. While there are some fantastic museums and steam railways across the United States, there is nowhere near the concentration we have here.

And of course we welcome lots of visitors from all over the UK. Quite a few pop in on their way from visiting friends and family when they are travelling from the north to the south or from the east to the west, and vice versa.

Once people have negotiated the car parks, they are often amazed by Didcot Railway Centre’s size and what there is to do. I have heard so many visitors say that they had only expected to spend an hour with us and were still there three hours later.

During half term we had a lovely visit from a couple who had got married the previous week and were on their honeymoon – celebrating seven days of marriage! They went home with some of our lovely GWR hotel chinaware as a honeymoon gift and a souvenir of their visit.

We will be enjoying the lull before the storm of a busy Christmas when people come from all over the world to see Thomas and get a present from Father Christmas. Online booking is now open for the Christmas events so book early.