The building of the Great Western Railway from London to the West Country  sparked the growth of Didcot in the 19th century. It is now 160 years since the  passing of the Act authorising construction of the line. Didcot is still an  important railway junction for North-South East-West traffic with connections to  Oxford and the North, London, Bristol and the South coast.

Originally a railway town, the local businesses have changed with the times  with the atomic energy establishment at Harwell International Business Centre a  major employer as is National Power whose cooling towers can be seen for miles  around. It is a 2,000 megawatt coal-fired station with a 650ft chimney and six  325ft cooling towers.

In nearby Chilton the Rutherford  Appleton Laboratory hosts the world's most intense neutron source used for  the study of the structure of materials, an understanding of which is vital to  UK industry in the 21st century.

Chilton also has the National Radiological Protection Board, and a laboratory  of the Medical Research Council, as well as an 11th century church with a unique  nine sided font.

The highly successful Williams formula one motor racing team was based in  Didcot but have now moved to Wantage.