175th Anniversary Celebrations

Great interest has been shown in the 175th anniversary of the opening of the branch connecting Oxford to the Great Western Railway main line at Didcot. Various groups of volunteers at each station along the line are co-ordinating the celebrations which are being planned all along the route. Whilst this page is intended to reflect those activities and sponsors specific to Culham, together with any media coverage, we include below a foretaste of what will prove to be a very full day of activities wherever you are.

If anybody would like to particiate in or sponsor the celebrations at the Old Ticket Office in Culham we would be very pleased to hear from you via ku.oc.noitatsmahluc@ofni

Full details of all the activities planned at each venue, together with details of special trains etc. can be found at the dedicated website DidcotOxfordGWR175.org

Wednesday 12th June - Media day

Today marks the 175th anniversary proper of the opening of the Didcot to Oxford branch line and of the Old Ticket Office itself. Radio, TV and Press will be invited to visit the line both in recognition of the actual anniversary of the opening and to publicise the whole line celebrations taking place on the following Saturday.

It is hoped that GWR will be able to recreate the first day of operations exactly 175 years previously by running a special train carrying invited guests from Paddington to Oxford and return. This train will be one of the latest Hitachi Intercity Express Train sets and will possibly be able to come to a stand in Culham station for photographs. Whilst at Oxford a special train naming ceremony will take place - name to be revealed on the day. The train will have a vinyl wrap on its nose to commemorate the run (name boards don't fit anymore) and possibly each coach being temporarily named after a station along the line. This would emulate the old practice of putting destination boards on the coaches of express trains.

It is possible that an attempt will be made to set a new end to end speed record between Paddington and Oxford.

Saturday 15th June 9:00am - 4:00pm

Although not part of the line celebrations, the Railway Touring Company have scheduled their Cotswold Venturer railtour to pass along the line this Saturday. It is going on a round trip from Paddington to Worcester and the Flying Scotsman is rostered to do the honours. After its final stop to pick up passengers it is scheduled to depart Didcot at 08:40. The train will travel down the line towards, but not stopping at, Oxford and thence on to Worcester. This will be a great start to the day of celebrations. The Old Ticket Office will open its doors to the public from 9:00 so that early birds catching the Flying Scotsman coming through also have the opportunity to see inside the Old Ticket Office.

Explore the original Brunel broad gauge era building and it surroundings where there are a few surprises waiting to be discovered. See the old ticket office window, original tickets dating back to the 1890's, and Edmondson date punches. You can even take home a special souvenir ticket after punching it like an old time Ticket Inspector.

Using the Discovery Trail booklet search out some remnants of broad gauge rail, see graffiti from 140 years ago and try to find the mark where a fatal shot ricocheted from the ticket counter top in 1868. See if you can find all the items of interest and answer all the questions about them.

Sunday 16th June 10:00am - 2:00pm

As there is so much to see and do on the Saturday, it has been decided to open the Old Ticket Office on Sunday (Father's Day) also.

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Refreshments will be available on both days at The Railway Inn which is adjacent to Platform 1.

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At the Old Ticket Office we plan to have:

  • Display of GWR memorabilia including original books, staff magazines, tickets, jigsaws and uniforms
  • Display of model railway items in four scales from '0' down to 'Z' including wagons from local coal merchants
  • Illustrated history of Culham station, featuring original plans from 1843
  • Display of items from 1935 celebrating the centenary of the GWR
  • Video display of steam excursions that have passed through Culham
  • Learn about the links with Nuneham House and how the station was visited by the King in 1909
  • Original GWR books and jigsaws available to buy - ideal for Father's Day

There will be lots of free souvenirs to collect and take home:

  • Souvenir vintage style ticket
  • Coloured information leaflet
  • Postcard with drawing of the Old Ticket Office and potted history of the station
  • Discovery Trail booklet for children and grown ups too
  • Building sheets to download and make your own models of the Old Ticket Office on Platform 2 and the original Waiting Rooms on Platform 1
  • Sample packs of acid free card, ideal for model making

Travelling to and from Culham will be easy:

  • Special buses between Abingdon and Culham Station
  • Local trains between Oxford and Didcot will be stopping at Culham throughout the day (refer to special timetable). Combined tickets available from GWR will also allow entry to Didcot Railway Centre
  • Free parking outside the Old Ticket Office and alongside Platform 2

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Culham celebrations diary

Our stand at Oxrail 2018

Our stand at Oxrail 2018

Sunday 14th October 2018 - Oxrail 2018

To help celebrate and publicise the 175th anniversary, the Old Ticket Office at Culham attended the 2018 exhibition of the Oxford & District Model Railway Club. On display were various items of memorabilia, photographs, models from our collection and a slide show of both historic photographs of Culham and of some of the steam specials which had passed through in the previous 5 years.

The stand was well placed in the main entrance corridor so everybody had to pass us at least twice. Great interest was shown in both the Old Ticket Office and the upcoming 175th celebrations with about eighty information packs being handed out. Many people had interesting stories to tell about the line and Culham with everybody saying they looked forward to June 2019 when they would visit at least one of the venues.

Saturday 16th March 2019 - Abrail 2019

The second (and last) exhibition the Old Ticket Office at Culham will be attending is the 2019 exhibition of the Abingdon & District Model Railway Club. This will provide another opportunity to see various items of memorabilia, photographs, and models from our collection.

Wednesday 12th June 2019 - Media day

Today marks the 175th anniversary proper of the opening of the Didcot to Oxford branch line and of the Old Ticket Office itself. Radio, TV and Press will be invited to visit the line both in recognition of the actual anniversary of the opening and to publicise the whole line celebrations taking place on the following Saturday.

Saturday 15th June 2019 - Public open day 9:00am until 4:00pm (special early opening)

Being the day before Father's Day it provides the perfect opportunity to come and discover the history and background of the station. The Old Ticket Office will be open to the public to explore the original Brunel era features of this unique building and its surroundings.

Sunday 16th June 2019 - Public open day 12:00am until 2:00pm (extra day by popular demand)

The Old Ticket Office will be open to the public for a few hours today so that those who didn't have time to visit during the main celebrations day have a second chance. Being Father's Day there is no excuse not to visit and perhaps buy a souvenir before seeking refreshment at the Railway Inn.

Our banner advertising the Open Days - featuring the original station Name Board

Our 175th banner

We are enormously grateful for the support received from several manufacturers who have donated unique pre-production samples for permanent display in the ticket office, and to all other individuals or organisations who have given their support in various ways.

Celebration at Culham sponsors

Network Rail Corporate Archive who kindly supplied high resolution scans of historical drawings and plans of Culham station

Dapol who kindly donated decorated samples for static display of their GWR streamlined Railcar in '00' and a 57xx Pannier tank in '0' gauge. They have also offered to publicise the anniversary

Oxforddiecast who kindly donated the first painted tooling sample of their delightful '00' scale Dean goods engine

Culham Science Centre who will be publicising the event via their intranet and social media outlets

Main sponsors of the Anniversary at Culham are:

Entikera Limited - with registered office at the Old Ticket Office, trading as :
Mpfineartprinting.co.uk - Fine art Giclée & photographic printing, digital fine art reproduction and picture framing

Please note:

When visiting the station members of the public are not allowed onto the old Platform 2 upon which stands the Old Ticket Office. The station itself is operational with trains passing throughout the day, so sensible care must be taken at all times to ensure one's own safety and that of others. Children should always be kept under adult supervision.
All visitors to the Old Ticket Office do so at their own risk, no responsibility will be accepted by Entikera Ltd. for any loss or injury howsoever caused.

Free parking is available on the station forecourt, or over the line by the Railway Inn.

Wheelchair logo

No public facilities of any type exist either in the Old Ticket Office or at the station itself.
Access into the building and Waiting Room is through a wide doorway and up one small step. The door between here and the inner office is however very narrow and not suitable for wheelchairs. It is possible to cross between platforms step free by means of the old road bridge.
Caution should be exercised by anyone doing so as there are no footpaths and it is still open to traffic.