Old Oak Common – the superb grand finale


A legendary name among railway historians and enthusiasts, Old Oak Common shed signed off with its last-ever open day on September 2, when locomotives and traction units of the past, present and future came together to pay tribute to 111 proud years of history, in a showpiece event organised by the modern-day Great Western Railway, writes Robin Jones.

Didcot Railway Centre’s now-unique GWR steam railmotor No. 93, a vehicle of profound historical importance as it provides a bridge link between the steam age and the modern-day multiple units that dominate most of the world’s railways, approaches the line-up of classic traction, beginning with steam on the left and ending with the new Hitachi Class 800 set No. 800 003 Queen Elizabeth II/Queen Victoria on the far right. FRANK DUMBLETON

More than 7000 people turned up to pay their last respects to Old Oak Common traction and maintenance depot before it closes forever.

Modern-day train operation Great Western Railway laid on a special event, OOC:111 Legends of the Great Western, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Classic GWR steam, including the sole surviving steam railmotor, lined up alongside first generation Western Region diesels, High Speed Trains and an example of the new Hitachi Class 800 Intercity Express to celebrate 111 years of history, during which time Old Oak Common because a byword for transport excellence.

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The sun sets on the doomed legend that is Old Oak Common TMD for the last time on an open day. JACK BOSKETT/GWR

It is 111 years since Old Oak Common opened on March 17, 1906, and the open day celebrated its contribution to maintaining the legends of the GWR.

Following the reconstruction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Paddington station and the introduction of larger locomotives and new routes, the GWR found itself in need of a larger depot than that at Westbourne Park to service its locomotives and carriages. The Westbourne Park depot was built in 1855 and had long been outgrown.

Read more in Issue 233 of HR – on sale now!

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A line-up of Class 50s: from left to right, Nos. 50050, 50049, 50044, 50026, 50017 and 50007. JACK BOSKETT/GWR

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