The Great Western Railway was created by an
Act of Parliament in 1835 which authorised
construction of a railway linking Bristol with
London. 2010 therefore sees the railway’s 175th
anniversary. The line was designed and engineered
by Isambard Kingdom Brunel to be the finest in
the land, and was completed in 1841.
Since 1967 Didcot, the half way point of the route,
has been home to the Great Western Society who
have recreated a living museum upholding the
traditions of the Great Western Railway based
around the original engine shed, coal stage and
depot. On steam days the whole centre comes to
life and whereas many preserved railways’ steam
sheds are ‘out of bounds’ to the general public the
buildings at Didcot are the focal point.
For many years the centre’s events calendar
included ‘Photographers’ Evenings’ that aimed to
recreate some of the activities which were once
common in a steam locomotive depot at night
but rarely seen. The programme of events provided
a variety of opportunities for photography with
static scenes alongside locomotives in steam
being repositioned around the site throughout
In this unique album photographer Mike Heath
presents a collection of more than 140 images
from his stunning portfolio of atmospheric night
time scenes taken over a number of years at these
events and depicting the real steam atmosphere
generated by the only surviving original Great
Western engine shed at work.
For well over 25 years Mike Heath has
enjoyed combining his hobbies of photography
and visiting preserved railways
all over Britain. In that time he has
amassed a vast collection of stunning
photographs covering all aspects of the
railways across all four seasons, day and
night. He is the author of more than ten
railway titles, all for Halsgrove.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 015 2, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages.