GWR 175th celebration
STEAM to mark landmark railway anniversary in style
Railway enthusiasts can look forward to a year-long programme of events to mark the 175th anniversary of the Great Western Railway.
STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway is hosting a series of celebrations between March and December to coincide with the landmark birthday.
Among the highlights is a visit by the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow on 22 April, while Thomas the Tank Engine will mark his own 65th birthday by visiting STEAM for the first time in three years on 22 and 23 May.
The following month the Swindon Borough Council-run museum celebrates its 10th birthday where there will be lots of activities for all the family and on 21 August music guru Pete Waterman will be among a host of guest speakers at the GWR 175 Gala Dinner.
And there will be plenty of opportunity for former railway workers and their families to reminisce about the history of the Great Western Railway throughout the year, not least when STEAM hosts a Workers’ Weekend on 28 and 29 August.
The Great Western Railway was founded on 31 August 1835 when a group of Bristol Merchant Venturers led by emerging engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel spearheaded an ambitious scheme to link the commercial centres of London and Bristol.
The project, which was passed by Parliament, ensured the Great Western Railway went on to become the most famous railway in the world, while at the same time playing a significant role in the development of Swindon as a whole.
Pete Waterman said: “I’m really looking forward to visiting STEAM next year in what is a significant milestone in the history of the Great Western Railway.
"As patron of the museum I’m delighted Swindon is putting on so many events to celebrate the Great Western Railway’s 175th birthday and it will be great to share my passion for railways with so many people throughout the year.”