Spa Valley Railway
INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR
This heritage railway has made impressive strides in the comparatively short 25 years of its operation. Although not as extensive as some other lines in terms of length (5.5 miles), it has attracted from time to time many ex-main line steam locomotives to its line, including those of Southern Locomotives Limited, two Bulleid Pacifics of which (‘Sir Keith Park’ and ‘257 Squadron’) are now based there. It also runs numerous galas annually which have attracted a range of interesting locomotives and have proved to be popular. Tunbridge Wells West station is just a mile from the main railway station in the town, making this railway readily accessible from London and the wider Kent area. The line runs to Eridge, which is also on the national rail network, from which trains run on the London Victoria - Uckfield line. The engine shed at Tunbridge Wells is the only London Brighton & South Coast Railway engine shed still performing its original role today. Impressive to visit, it can be walked around on railway operational days. Tunbridge Wells is itself a popular tourist destination, and a visit to the Spa Valley Railway is recommended to those visiting the town.
Key Facts (where and when)
Extent of Railway (where to where):
Tunbridge Wells West (Kent) to Eridge (East Sussex)
Principal Visitor Centre:
Tunbridge Wells West station (TN2 5QY)
Period of Operation*
- February, March and October - (Selected weekends)
- April to September (Saturdays and Sundays)
- July and August (also selected weekdays)
[* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days]
Key Facts (what you’ll see)
Services usually steam or diesel?
Mixture of both steam and diesel
Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:
Large, mid and small-sized steam and diesel locomotives
Length of Line:
Time taken for a round trip:
1 hour 5 mins
Number of trains per day:
5 trains in each direction
Adult Rover: £15.SeniorRover: £14. Child Rover: £7.50 Family: £38
Number of Stations:
Time to allow for Visit:
2 to 3 hours
Small picnic area at Groombridge station
Car Park Facilities:
Available at all stations (charges and restrictions may apply)
Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)
- High Weald Belle Sunday Lunch
- Fish & Chip Lunches
- Afternoon Tea
- Ploughman's Lunch
- The Kent Gin Train!
- Cream Teas
- Fish & Chip Supper
- Real Ale & Cider Train
- Murder Mystery Fish & Chip Supper
- Polar Express: From mid-November and December
- Winter Steam Up: January
- Spring Steam Up: April
- Summer Diesel Gala: August
- Summer Steam Up: August
- Driver Experience
Telephone: 01892 300141
Social Media: www.facebook.com/SpaValleyRailway
Also on Twitter
INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST
Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation
The line from Tunbridge Wells to Eridge was once part of an extensive network of railway lines owned by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, allowing services from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton and Eastbourne, as well as to London Victoria via Oxted. It was a double track line, and at its peak often saw 2 trains per hour each way. The Tunbridge Wells - Eridge section of the network survived the Beeching cuts of the 1960’s but was closed in 1983 primarily as capital investment was unavailable at the time to up-grade the line to modern standards. Almost immediately following closure a railway preservation society was formed which succeeded in opening a small section of the line in 1996. The railway extended westwards reaching Groombridge in 1997 and back to Eridge in 2011, where the heritage railway now has main line connections, Eridge being on the Victoria - Uckfield line.
To continually develop its railway services and facilities, and to extend its steam locomotive collection by completing restorations and overhauls (in particular the preservation of the Society’s own ‘Jinty’ locomotive).
Steam Operational Locomotives:
Bulleid Pacific 4-6-2 - No. 34072 ‘257 Squadron’
Hunslet Austerity - No. 2890 'Douglas'
Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:
(1) BR Class 31 - 31 430 'Sister Dora'
(2) BR Class 33 - 33 063 'R. J. Mitchell'
(3) BR Class 73 - 73 140
(4) Drewry shunter - No. 2591 'Southerham'
(5) BR Class 10 - D3489 'Colonel Tomline'
(6) Heritage DEMU Class 207 - 1317
(7) Heritage EMU Class 421 3CIG - 1497
Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:
(1) Bulleid Pacific 4-6-2 - No. 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’
(2) LMS Jinty - No. 47493
(3) LB&SCR Terrier - No. 650 ‘Sutton’
(4) Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST - No. 2315 ‘Lady Ingrid'
(5) Hunslet 0-6-0ST - No. 1589 ‘Newstead’
Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:
(1) BR Class 09 shunter - 09026 'Cedric Wares'
(2) BR Class 33 - 33065 'Sealion'
Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:
- RSH - No. 62 'Ugly'
- Bagnall - No. 2193 ‘Topham’
- LNER J94 - No. 68077
- RSH - No. 57 ‘Samson’
- BR Class 12 shunter - 15224
INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP
Name of Support Group:
Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society
Annual membership fee:
Adult: £20. Senior: £13. Junior: £6. Family: £30. Life: £400
Benefits of membership
- Member's Privilege Rate Tickets for unlimited travel on day of purchase (currently £5 for a return trip)
- The chance to actively participate in the running of the railway as a volunteer.
- Quarterly Magazine, ‘Spa Valley Starter’
What They Say About Volunteering:
A good proportion of members actively contribute as volunteers. Members operate and support the railway by giving their time when they can. Whether you've got a specific interest already, or simply want to contribute to something that benefits the local community, there's something interesting and rewarding for you to do on the railway. Being part of the team that runs the railway is richly fulfilling, and brings with it the benefit of acquiring new skills and new friends.
How to Volunteer: Go to www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/article.php/8/join-our-railway
How to Donate: Go to www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/article.php/129/donations-for-general-purpose
WHY JOIN: Help the railway develop its rail services and facilities and complete the restoration and overhaul of its locomotives.
INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST
Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this
Traditional Railway Societies:
- Brighton Circle
- Southern Railways Group
- Gravesend Railway Enthusiasts Society
Locomotive Societies (steam):
- Southern Locomotives Limited
Model Railway Clubs:
- Tonbridge Model Railway Club
- Eridge & Tunbridge Wells Model Railway Society