Didcot bucks the trend towards main line layouts or rural branch lines by focusing on a real industrial landscape in the form of the coal fired power station with its huge cooling towers just south of Oxford.
Set in the era of Tony Blair's labour government, the eye is immediately drawn to a group of environmental protesters who took over the real chimney and abseiled down to proclaim "Blair's Legacy" which could be seen from miles away. Nevertheless, all the protesting doesn't seem to prevent the merry-go-round trains delivering thier loads of coal or the high speed trains on the main line from London to Bristol!
Another interesting feature of the layout is the smoke unit which delivers white steam from the cooling towers, just like the real thing. Didcot is owned and operated by Tony Musgrave and was built in partnership with Roly Hamblin. The layout has been exhibited at a number of shows and recently appeared in magazines including Railway Modeller and Model Rail.
Didcot made its final appearance with Tony before its donation to
The Didcot Railway Centre and Abingdon MRC at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC November 2018.
Didcot ‘A’ was withdrawn from the exhibition circuit in early 2016, following the collapse of the generator hall, which tragically claimed the lives of four men working on its demolition. Tony and his team have now dedicated the layout to their memory and to the people of Didcot. ADMRC and Didcot Railway Centre will act as joint guardians. The layout will eventually take its place as part of a permanent exhibit at the railway centre, until then it will reside at the ADMRC clubrooms from where it will be available for exhibitions as required.