The Friends of the
National Railway Museum

South of England Group
Vice Presidents: Richard Hardy; Sir William McAlpine Bt, FRSE, FCIT, FRSA

Last Update

    7 April 2011

Pendon Museum and Didcot Railway Centre
  29 July 2001

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On Sunday 29th July, twenty Friends joined our summer outing.  We met outside Didcot station in glorious sunshine and high temperatures, before we made our way to the Pendon Museum at Long Wittenham.  Here we were treated to a private guided tour round both floors of the establishment.

Our guides explained the background to the building of the super-detailed models - the 4mm rolling stock on the Dartmoor layout.

Also the exquisite buildings and scenery on the "Vale of the White Horse".  If you have not visited the museum it is a real eye-opener and even if you have, there has been a good deal of progress in recent years.

From there it was back to Didcot, to the Great Western Society's museum.

We had lunch before watching the demonstrations of the travelling post office service, hauled with gusto by  Castle-Class No 5051 Earl Bathurst  As there was a professional film crew on hand from Harlech TV, we were treated to several retakes - the volunteer Post Office stand-ins were really made to work, hauling the mail-bags up to the pick-up equipment in the summer heat.  Those of you in the South West and Wales, should keep an eye out to see if you spot any of the group in the background when the programme is finally screened. 

A leisurely tour followed round the extensive site, taking in the replica broad-gauge exchange sidings, the carriage sheds with the GWR diesel railcar.

Followed by rides on the two demonstration trains and inspections of the National Collection's 1857 Wantage Tramway 0-4-0WT Shannon and the Pollen E - four GWR, 1909-built, 6-wheel vehicles which together form a girder wagon set.

For those who didn't manage to join us on the visits, and for those who did but want to find out more about the Pendon Museum, Ken Surman has agreed to give us a talk on the history and future of the establishment in next year's lecture programme.