Didcot residents might remember seeing a small concrete building that used to stand in Didcot Parkway station car park in the area now used as the taxi rank.

When the station forecourt was being developed, the building was donated to us by Oxfordshire County Council.

Not all of the parts could be dismantled without damage so ours is a bit smaller than the original, but still large enough for storage and volunteer facilities.

The concrete building is an example of a type produced by the Great Western Railway from prefabricated concrete parts made at the company’s Taunton Concrete Works.

The Works Catalogue lists our design as ‘HUT’, catalogue number 1219 and sets of parts would be sent to a site for a team to erect. In 1948 the building would have cost £118-10s-0d (£180.50p). They were used all over the railway network for storage.

Re-erecting this building is just one of the projects that our volunteers will be doing during our annual Work Week, which is a chance for our volunteers to work on some of our larger projects. We have completed the building’s floor and walls, including re-using the surviving metal window frames and windows. So next week the plan is to finish the roof and build a path to the door. And while we’re building paths, if we have enough volunteers we will also finish the work we started earlier this year on realigning the path near Didcot Halt.

Still on a building theme, about 10 years ago we built a shed to house our steam rail motor. It was based on an original shed in Southall and the corrugated iron has been gently weathering since then. The plan was always to paint it black like the original and this is another Work Week project. Sharp-eyed visitors to Didcot Parkway Station may have noticed that we have already started the painting and, the bottom half of the building now has its first coat of paint.

Work Week is also a time for locomotive restoration projects and one of our teams is using it to finish a lot of small engineering jobs on our heavy freight tank engine, GWR No 7202. The group will also be opening our famous real ale bar, the Black Python, which will refresh our volunteers in the evenings.

As well as the bar, our volunteers can enjoy workers’ playtime, which is a chance for us all to drive one of our steam engines and have some fun.

There are many volunteering opportunities at the centre and it’s a great chance to meet like-minded people and contribute to our aim of recreating the golden age of the Great Western Railway.