Standardisation. One word that sometimes has sent shivers down the spine of railwaymen, planners, engineers and enthusiasts alike. Not for some. In fact for some its a byword for success. While others have wanted to use design and operation for each purpose required, others have crafted ideals to encompass many challenges. In railway terms this often means designs and engines, thus their crews and companies too, being able to perform different roles equally as well. Parts are made to be shared, copied, or swapped, being efficient in use, while roles were able to be done by many. Such purpose and dynamic aproach led to great designs, but not just of the North Eastern region I champion, but also of the Western region too.
Here the evolution of design continued uninterupted and while Darlington and the NER continued their work on the workhorses like the J39, D49, B1 and K1 using standard parts and ideas, the Western region took grouping in its stride and led from the outset. Castles reigned supreme and taught lessons in design and performance. Even Gresley took note. My visit to Didcot railway centre was in essence as much a journey to a centre of shared belief and ethos as much as acknowledging and enjoying the work of the Western region, which is something I really admit was impressive to see.
Here pictures show the collection at Didcot Museum, parked up in the main shed making photography very tricky. However, some might think the photos are as good as the engines from the region equal to that which I belong.
© The Black Hat