Part shopping mall, part museum
The last time I visited the outlet center would have been at some point in the 90’s and I can remember that I enjoyed it then. I am fascinated by trains, absolutely love them and I think this has a lot to do with why this place appeals so much. There are some great brands there and I did spend a lot on some new clothes. I did find some time to take some photos as we walked around.
The Outlet occupies what was the Great Western Railway Works, the project was carried out by Tarmac Construction, opened in 1997 and the site is owned by McArthurGlen.
The Locomotive currently on display is the 7821 Ditcheat Manor, which is the second of the last batch of 10 engines of the thirty-strong class. Built in 1950 by British Railways. It was allocated to lines in Mid Wales but was also based in Oxley and Newton Abbott. It was withdrawn from service in 1965 and sent to a scrapyard in Barry, South Wales. Thankfully it was rescued in 1980 and after restoration elsewhere in the UK made it’s way to the Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon. Today it is on show at the Outlet Center where it has been since 2018.
Prior to that, other locomotives have been on display and from time to time, they are swapped around.
Factory machinery and other heritage
I was fascinated by the former Great Western Railway Works and how it had been developed to host a range of great retail outlets, cafes and restaurants. It has a fabulous ambiance and I really love it. The heritage has been beautifully preserved and I have no idea what any of these wonderful machines used to do - if anyone out there knows, I’d love to hear from you. Just DM me on Twitter :-)
If you are a kid or a big kid. Go on, what’s stopping you? No. I didn’t hitch a ride but it was very cool and made all the right noises too, as it chuffed along and blew it’s whistle!