SOMETIMES you just can’t get away from Didcot Railway Centre.

I spent last weekend in Sheffield and picked up a copy of the Yorkshire Post only to see lots of photos of our King Edward II on the North York Moors Railway.

It was a rather splendid sight travelling through the Yorkshire countryside and it was lovely to see a mention of Didcot Railway Centre – I hope it encourages more visitors from that part of the world.

That made me think about where our steam engines have been this year and the visitors we have had from other railways.

Our aim is to have at least one engine that is available for hire to give us some income and also promote the centre.

King Edward II went on her travels to the Gloucester & Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) in the spring.

She was hard work for the crews, though, as it took much longer to get her ready for each day than many of their usual steam engines and there are some lovely photos on their website of their crews getting nice and dirty.

Thomas, one of our volunteers, spent a day there and enjoyed the experience of open countryside on a steam hauled train.

Our King must have been in her element hauling eight coach trains through the Cotswolds and she generated a lot of interest from visitors and the GWSR volunteers alike.

After her holiday in the Cotswolds she went north to the North York Moors, hence the coverage in the Yorkshire Post.

But it wasn’t only the King that went away.

We also hired GWR No 4144 to the Severn Valley Railway where she was a great help to them.

They are holding on to her for a little longer but have sent us GWR 813 until November.

Our visitors have been very Great Western too.

In the spring Foremarke Hall came along to meet our new Saint, Lady of Legend, and it was lovely to have GWR 1450 around over the summer so we could run our autotrailers. Of course Thomas the Tank Engine was here for our event last week and he will be coming back for Christmas. We are open for Half Term from October 26 to November 3 and she will be running both weekends and Wednesday 30.

It’s the time of year we are planning next year’s programme and we will be welcoming some more visitors next year. Next year will also be the King’s final year in service before she is withdrawn for overhaul so you won’t have to travel to North Yorkshire to ride behind her.