New iet
Image courtesy of GWR
The very first timetable
The very first timetable, June 1844
Courtesy of the Great Western Trust
Vintage Trains circular railtour poster
Poster courtesy of Vintage Trains
Clun Castle and Flying Scotsman passing at Hinksey
Clun Castle and Flying Scotsman passing at Hinksey
Courtesy of Vintage Trains

All along the line

Wednesday 12th June

GWR ran a special non-stop train from Oxford to London Paddington to commemorate the very first train between the two cities exactly 175 years previously. The train left Oxford at 11:27 carrying invited guests and arrived in London several minutes earlier than scheduled setting a new end to end record time of 37 minutes and 35 seconds. Go here for a full report and photos of this unique event.

Saturday 15th June

  • Broadcaster and train enthusiast Tim Dunn travelled the line with Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great-great-great grandson Jim Noble, and broadcast live along the way
  • The Flying Scotsman left Didcot shortly after 9:07am travelling towards Swindon, hauling the Railway Touring Company's Cotswold Venturer bound for Worcester. The return journey was via Oxford arriving at Didcot at about 6:46pm
  • Vintage Trains joined the celebrations by bringing their Oxford 175 Express railtour from Birmingham to Oxford hauled by their flagship locomotive, GWR number 7029 'Clun Castle'
  • Vintage Trains also operated a very special Oxford 175 Luncheon Circular from Oxford Parkway and Oxford hauled of course by 'Clun Castle'


Vintage Trains turned their train round using the Didcot triangle prior to its return to Birmingham leading to Clun Castle travelling along the line between Oxford and Didcot three times in the one day.
The published timings also raised the very exciting prospect that Clun Castle and Flying Scotsman would acually pass each other, travelling in opposite directions, somewhere near Hinksey at about 6:22pm.

Incredibly this meeting did take place where we predicted, and the remarkable event has been captured in the image at the foot of this page. Click on the photo to see a larger version.


Combined ticket offer

You could buy a special combined ticket which would allow unlimited travel by any GWR local service train along the Didcot to Oxford railway line, so visitors could hop on and hop off wherever they liked. This ticket also gave entry to the Didcot Railway Centre and unlimited travel on the special 175 bus service which was operated by Thames Travel and ran hourly on a circular route from Didcot to Abingdon.

Photography Competition

In conjunction with the celebrations marking the coming of the railway to Oxford there was a photography competition. Find more details under the 'OTHER EVENTS' menu tab.

Further information

Read about the special record breaking train which celebrated the actual anniversary day

Follow the South Oxford railway history trail

Learn more about the history of the Didcot to Oxford railway here

A 'pop-up' exhibition of information banners illustrating the history of the line will continue to tour the area until the end of the anniversary year. Find more details under the 'OTHER EVENTS' menu tab.

See the results and winners of the photo competition