Progress Report - April 2021

Progress on site slowed down significantly from January to March during the covid lockdown. Some work has been done on a socially distant basis.  The Society employees continued preparing for the batch mixer’s arrival and a good stock of aggregate is now in place.  They also re-laid track in the area and we are still clearing up some of the spent ballast so there is a lot of plant around. In March a small bubble of 3 workers were able to return, and in April we will return to working in line with the rule of 6, but we may have more than one group.

The stock of aggregate

Didcot Railway Centre is preparing to open again in mid-April, so our first job has been to repair the fence beside the demonstration line that was damaged by the stone piles over 35 years and our need to get the mini digger in to place the stone on pallets.  We have replaced a few concrete posts and it is ready for the new chain link which has been ordered.

The Planning application is still being processed and we are negotiating on some reasonable conditions, notably about how we protect some of the trees from damage during building works.

We are still investigating how best to construct the building and design the foundations.  The issue is that the soil survey has shown the ground to be quite weak.

We still have a little more stone to lift out of the undergrowth.  The focus is now moving on to assessing the stone, so we know what we need to replace.

Palletising the final pieces of dressed stone - (l to r) Ian Kinloch, David Greenaway, Richard Beacham and Laurence Stant

We are also tidying up and moving material that has been stored adjacent to the station site and moving it to somewhere more suitable. 

We have the dismantled frames of a lamp hut – or possibly parts of two lamp huts – which we are about to move to centre sidings so that we can make up the missing pieces and fit new corrugated iron onto it, before moving it back as a kit of parts.  We will then erect it as our tool store.

Some of the lamp hut parts

There is more fence replacement work to do on the Broad Gauge side of the copse, where the posts of 40 years ago have finally rotted.

We are currently thinking about how we supply electricity, water and drainage to the site, and we may start physical work on this quite soon.

Finally, Transport for London/MTR got in touch recently concerning their refurbishment at Taplow station, which has passed into their management.  Taplow is close to the heart of the Society, as we held some of our first open days there.  MTR are refurbishing their booking office and invited us to take the counter, which we collected along with a pair of Bayliss cast iron fence posts and spear fencing from Langley.  The counter is now in Somerset being restored for eventual use in our building.  We are grateful for MTR and TfL for their kind gifts.

The booking office counter from Taplow

If you would like to join our workparties please contact Tim Part at