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Thursday 6th June 2024 Didcot Parkway Station, Station Rd, Didcot OX11 7NR

Join us at Didcot Railway Centre for a day photographing the unique Wantage Tramway loco Shannon

Join us at Didcot Railway Centre for a day photographing the unique 1857-built Wantage Tramway locomotive Shannon on goods wagons at locations around the Museum site with appropriately-dressed crew


Book your place

6 tickets left

About this event

The Wantage Tramway ran for a little over two miles from Mill Road in the town of Wantage to Wantage Road Station on the Great Western main line. It opened to goods traffic on 1st October 1875 and for passenger services on 11th October. Initially worked by horse-drawn traction, a steam tram was introduced in 1876 following trials in the previous year, and the tramway was then converted for steam operation. Although a successful enterprise, over the years its profitability was gradually undermined by the advent of ever-increasing road competition and passengers services ceased in 1925. Goods traffic continued until 1945, when the line finally closed completely.

No.5 is a remarkable survivor. The locomotive is a 0-4-0 Well Tank was built by George England and Company in 1857 for the Sandy and Potton Railway. It was named Shannon after HMS Shannon which was the ship commanded by the line’s promoter Captain Sir William Powell VC. In 1862, Shannon was sold to the London and North Western Railway and used for shunting at Crewe Works, and was briefly involved in trials on the Cromford and High Peak route. It was sold for use on the Wantage Tramway in 1878 where it was unofficially known as Jane. Upon closure in 1945, the locomotive was purchased by the Great Western Railway for £100 and put on static display at Wantage Road Station where it remained until closure of that station in 1964. After storage by the Atomic Energy Authority, No.5 moved to Didcot Railway Centre in 1969 where it has been a resident ever since and is part of the National Collection. Its current deep red livery is an approximation of the colours carried when it first arrived at Wantage.

Although not currently steamable, we will be able to create steam effects with smoke machines, oily rags or both. Along with two or three suitable wagons (the Tramway did not use brake vans) the loco will be posed on the branch line and at other points around the site. We will have a suitably-dressed crew and aim to recreate authentic-looking scenes with this attractive little locomotive that is seldom seen outside the shed.

We are only offering 25 tickets for this shoot so book now before it sells out.

Photo courtesy Frank Dumbleton

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Camera protection - rain covers etc

Other things you should bring

  • Packed lunch
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Wet weather gear

Event location