The Swindon Railway Festival will take place this weekend, with giant model railways built around the permanent historic collection of trains at the Steam museum, with the sights and the sounds of the old railway brought to life.

Exhibitions and live demonstrations will make up the event in celebration of the historic Great Western Railway, with trade stands giving visitors the opportunity to take away some railway paraphernalia of their own.

Carolyn Lovett, the events officer at the Steam museum, said: “After many months of planning and preparation, we are all set to deliver a wonderful and different experience to our festival visitors.

“Renowned for being the home of some of the finest model railway layouts in the UK, our jam-packed railway weekend features model railways that cross a whole variety of gauges.

“Among the amazing 24 model railway layouts on display throughout the museum, we have nine brand new layouts. These are uniquely designed and built by railway groups and enthusiasts all over the country and we are thrilled to have them on display for the first time here at Steam.”

The festival provides visitors with the opportunity to see a slice of the past, Caroline added: “Visitors can take a real step back in time as they experience intricate model railway scenes alongside real steam locomotives.

“The excitement of seeing such beautiful models running on the track appeals to visitors of all ages and generations so the festival is a great day out for all the family.”

This year’s event will include tributes to the No. 6000 King George V train, which is celebrating its 90th birthday.

Other attractions will include displays from preserved railways all over the country, and the opportunity to see working machinery and steam rollers constructing a temporary ‘roadway’.

The event will also see the return of the Swindon Works Hooter, which will sound every hour, just as it did to remind employees and their families of the time at the GWR works until March 1986.

Coun Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Steam, said: “The Swindon Railway Festival is a fitting tribute to the town’s railway heritage, and the fact that we will have the sounds of the replica Swindon Works Hooter will only add to the special atmosphere on both days.

“The festival has grown in popularity over the years and is not just confined to railway enthusiasts as there is plenty to do for all the family. I’m sure this year’s event will once again prove to be a big hit with visitors.”

Tickets for the event are priced at £12 for adults, £9 for seniors and £8 for children, or £32 for a family of four. There is a 10% discount for Steam season ticket holders when tickets are purchased directly from the museum. Advance tickets are available at