Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon SN2 2EY
STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway is located in a restored Grade II listed building in the heart of Swindon’s former railway works.
STEAM tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. Get up close to magnificent locomotives, be a signalman in the GWR interactive Signal Box and drive the steam train simulator as you travel through STEAM’s story-telling displays.
Once regarded as one of the most advanced railway networks in the world, the Great Western Railway was the brainchild of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and its nerve centre was in Swindon.
Swindon Railway Works opened in January 1843 as a repair and maintenance facility. By 1900 the works had expanded and employed over 12,000 people. A village was built to house them all.
The Great Western Railway reached its peak in the 1930s. The works covered over 300 acres and was produced 3 locomotives a week.
The railway dominated the fortunes of Swindon until after the Second World War, when new industries moved to the area, most notably the automotive industry.
In 1960, the Swindon works completed its last steam locomotive for British Rail. It was aptly called the Evening Star. In 1963 a large part of the old carriage and wagon works was closed and sold for redevelopment and the whole site shut in 1989.
The museum that stands today is a testament to this rich industrial history. It holds over 400,000 objects from the great age of steam locomotion, including locomotives, photographs, fine art, artefacts and much more.
The museum also hosts exhibitions featuring special moments in railway history. They offer you a fascinating insight into the history of Swindon and of the railway.
Visitors to the museum can take home a memento of their visit at the gift shop.