Swindon Steam Railway Museum

STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway, also known as Swindon Steam Railway Museum, is located at the site of the old railway works in Swindon, England – Wiltshire's 'railway town'. The museum opened in 2000 and replaced the former GWR Museum, which was located on Faringdon Road in Swindon.

Apart from the museum itself, the site has become home to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet and, since 2005, the Head Office of the National Trust.

The site

The museum is housed in a restored Grade II listed railway building. This was part of the old Swindon Great Western Railway works, which was one of the largest in the world and operated from 1843 to 1986. In its heyday, it covered more than 300 acres (120 hectares) and could turn out three locomotives per week.

The museum

Apart from many exhibits of interest to railway engine and rolling stock enthusiasts, it tells the social story of the railway community in Swindon, with recorded personal experiences and film archives. Life-like exhibits show people at work and human interactions. There are exhibits explaining the construction of locomotives, of railway equipment and of the railways themselves. It also tells the history of the Great Western Railway and the life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous Victorian engineer, who masterminded the Great Western Railway. There are many hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. Enthusiastic ex-railway workers are on hand, to give a personal insight into many of the exhibits.

There is a series of reconstructions of areas of work, such as office, stores, workshop, signal box and foundry.

The museum holds a massive archive of books, periodicals, photographs, drawings and plans, relating to the Great Western Railway.


The museum is near Swindon's town centre, adjacent to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Village. It is located at Ordnance Survey mapping six-figure grid reference SU 143848.


The museum is home to several GWR pre-nationalization-era locomotives, two of which are the first members of their respective classes. The majority of these are part of the UK National Collection.

  • GWR Star Class North Star – a replica of an early broad gauge locomotive. Part of the National Collection
  • GWR 2301 Class 2516 - part of the National Collection
  • GWR 4073 Class 4073 Caerphilly Castle – on static display, part of the National Collection
  • GWR 9400 Class 9400 – part of the National Collection
  • GWR 4200 Class 4248 – on static display, largely dismantled to look like a locomotive in the works
  • GWR 4000 Class 4003 Lode Star - Arrived in November 2010 from the National Railway Museum as a replacement for Evening Star
  • GWR 7800 Class 7821 Ditcheat Manor - on static display, on loan from the West Somerset Railway

The museum also displays a small collection of Great Western rolling stock and equipment, including:

  • GWR Railcar W4W – Static, Part of National Collection


2 photos

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
  • updated a digital reference and removed a media
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com