Three days of heritage action with a visiting Standard 4MT Tank Locomotive No. 80078!
20 years ago, in August 1997, the Spa Valley Railway opened the line to Groombridge. This was following a period from late December 1996 and also from March to August 1997 where we operated a shuttle train over 3/4 mile of track from Tunbridge Wells West to Cold Bath Bridge.
On Saturday 23rd August 1997 the line re-opened the 3 1/2 miles to Groombridge Station. Over the past 20yrs the Spa Valley Railway has grown into Tunbridge Wells' biggest tourist attraction and is often described as the South East's friendliest railway! In the years that followed from our opening to Groombridge we have achieved many things - our line was extended to Birchden Junction in 2004 and then on to Eridge in March 2011. We've become home to a wonderful fleet of Steam & Heritage Diesel Locomotives, including a 1876 built Steam engine known as Terrier 'Sutton' and also the train which closed our line in 1985, 'Thumper' 1317.
We would not exist today without the dedicated volunteers that make up our wonderful railway. Come along and join us this August Bank Holiday to celebrate with them the achievements we have made in such a short space of time!
BR Standard 4MT No. 80078 – A popular class of steam locomotive! Courtesy of its owner Stewart Robinson, this locomotive is 'coming home' having been a regular visitor to Tunbridge Wells West in British Railways days. It will certainly be a wonderful sight when hauling a rake of BR Green MK1 carriages which includes our freshly overhauled MK1 BCK No. 21214.
Hunslet No. 1982 'Ring Haw – Visiting us for the Summer, this wonderful little engine, courtesy of the North Norfolk Railway has put in some brilliant performances since its arrival in May of this year. She's a lot more powerful than you might think!
Class 31 5518 – Joining our event as a last minute addition is Class 31 5518 (31101) courtesy of the Suburban Preservation Group and the Avon Valley Railway, it will operate on selected days of the event.
Class 50 50026 – The first Type 4 to haul passenger trains at the Spa Valley Railway is Class 50 50026 'Indomitable', courtesy of its owner Paul Spracklen. This 2,700hp locomotive will operate on selected days at this event.
Class 421 3CIG 1497 – The visiting unit, and one coming to us for a period of 5 years is ex-Lymington Branch 'Slammer' 1497, this will be the first time in a number of years a 3CIG has been seen on the Southern.
- BR Standard 4MT No. 80078
- RSH No. 62 'Ugly'
- Drewry 2591 'Southerham'
- Class 10 D3489 'Colonel Tomline'
- Class 31 5518 - Courtesy of the Suburban Preservation Group
- Class 33/0 33063 'R.J.Mitchell'
- Class 50 50026 'Indomitable' - Courtesy of PTG Tours Ltd.
- Class 207 DEMU 1317
All locomotives/units are subject to availability.
We at the Spa Valley have been operating Fish and Chip Supper trains since the early 2000s and they now have an extremely popular reputation amongst the local population and also from afar, some of these evenings are also combined with our Murder Mystery trains, click here for further details.
Join the train from 19:00 at Tunbridge Wells West and be shown to your seats. At 19:00 the train will set off for Eridge and complete four return journeys. Whilst on your journey you will enjoy a freshly prepared Fish and Chip supper followed by an ice cream dessert. You will return to Tunbridge Wells West and can leave the train at your leisure throughout the evening or stay for as long as our trains are running!
Our on train bar car 'Kate' will be open throughout the evening selling a large range of real ales, cider, wines (including sparkling!) and also hot & cold soft drinks.
- Cod & Chips (can also be gluten free), Sausage (battered or non-battered) & Chips, Spring Roll & Chips
- Ice Cream
Combined Diesel Gala Day Rover & Fish & Chip Supper tickets can be chosen as an option on our Fish & Chip Supper page HERE. It is just £35.00 for adults and £25.00 for children!
Ticket Prices, on the day price shown:
25% DISCOUNT AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED AT THE CHECKOUT!
Adult Day Rover
Child Day Rover
Adult Two Day Rover
Child Two Day Rover
Adult Three Day Rover
Child Three Day Rover
Adult Evening Rover (from 18:00)
Child Evening Rover (from 18:00)
- Child tickets are 2-15yrs.
- Single fares available upon request, standard returns not available.
- Day Rover Ticket is valid for travel on the date shown from the start of service to the end, you DO NOT need to purchase an additional ticket to travel on any evening services or brake van rides.
- There will be no other fares available over the event, nor is any form of discount available such as HRA passes, reciprocal travel or BR Privs.
Tunbridge Wells West
- Our buffet car 'Emily' serving light refreshments.
- Part of shed open for public viewing subject to staff availability.
- Viewing gallery at the end of the main platform.
- Station shop stocking a large variety of railway produce.
- Photographic display of Std4 tanks at TWW & GBR in the 60's.
- Mini-Cinema showing film of the line re-opening in 1997, also films of Std4 tanks on the line.
- Specially commissioned photographic display of portraits of volunteers.
- Immaculate scale models of 4 Signal Boxes once based at Groombridge.
- Access to the famous High Rocks or Tea Garden Lane which can provide great photographic opportunities.
- High Rocks Inn and garden.
- A great place to watch the trains from the Inns' garden.
- Please note that not all trains will not serve High Rocks.
- Trains passing all three days.
- The popular BBQ!
- Refreshments, including real ale, available at the station.
- Lots of books on our bookstall under the Tunbridge Wells West end canopy, grab a bargain!
- Driver for a Fiver/Brake Van Rides with our Drewry locomotive from the station to the Ashurst Spur & rtn.
Jazz or Dance Band playing at intervals on all three days.
Miniature railway and model railways.
Classic cars on display on the station forecourt.
- Mainline connections with Southern services to Central London, East Croydon, Oxted and Uckfield.
- 'Driver for a Fiver'.
See a Std4 tank at Eridge for the first time in 50 years.
Photographic display of Std4 tanks working at Eridge in the 60's.
Refreshments, Real Ale & Ciders
Our award winning on train bar will be open all four days from the first trains departure to the last trains arrival, this includes the Friday and Saturday evening trains. 'Kate' will be open for the sale of real ale and cider, wines (inc. Prosecco) spirits, largers, sandwiches, bacon & sausage rolls, crisps, biscuits and other light refreshments throughout the day.
Our ex BIG TSO(RB) from unit No.2254 (Buffet Brighton, B for Buffet and IG the LB&SCR telegraphic code for Brighton) will be open on all four days serving pasties and sausage rolls as well as sandwiches, crisps, snacks, soft drinks, teas, coffees and other light refreshments, this year for the first time we will also be able to sell a limited selection of alocoholic beverages in the form of bottled ales & ciders, this will include our popular own label Rail Ale & fresh in stock Blend 23 Cider.
There'll be a BBQ on the station near to the Signal Box with real ale & cider in the Van Body also near the Signal Box. At the Tunbridge Wells West end of the station our catering hut will be open serving sandwiches, crisps, snacks, soft drinks, teas, coffees and other light refreshments.
In the Waiting Room a real ale & cider bar will be set up and there'll also be the opportunity to purchase sandwiches, crisps, snacks, soft drinks, teas, coffees and other light refreshments.
Drive a Loco & Cab Rides
Over all four days of the event there will be the opportunity to drive certain locos and also ride in their cabs, Drive a Loco will take place at Groombridge using our Drewry locomotive No.2591 'Southerham' and will operate from the platform to the end of the Ashurst Spur & rtn. A unique opportunity to travel down what is a very rare section of our railway.
The cab rides from either Tunbridge Wells West or Eridge will be £20 per single trip, please note that these will only be available on certain locomotives dependent on their owners reps.
Brake Van Rides - Groombridge Station to Ashurst Spur
Throughout the gala when there are no trains present our Drewry locomotive 'Southerham' will operate between Groombridge station and the Ashurst Spur with our London Transport brake van offering unique trips down one of our rarely used sidings and a close up with the usually inaccessible disused railway towards Ashurst Junction. The total distance is around 1/2 mile for a round trip.
There is no extra charge for these brake van rides providing you are a rover ticket holder, the timings of their departures will be advertised much closer to the event.
There are many places to stay in Tunbridge Wells West during the summer but we suggest you book in advance to make sure you can stay over and enjoy the whole gala!
- Tunbridge Wells Bed and Breakfast - Click here
- The Lancers Bed & Breakfast - Click here
- The Brick House Bed & Breakfast - Click here
- Alconbury Guest House Bed and Breakfast - Click here
- Tunbridge Wells Travelodge - Click here - sells out fast and also the cheapest hotel.
- Smith and Western, just across the road from Tunbridge Wells West - Click here
The nearest campsites to the Spa Valley Railway can be found here, the campsite we run past is for Scout Groups only, not for the general public.
Being a very popular tourist destination, Royal Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area can book up early for the Summer period so don't delay, reserve your room today!
How to find us?
The railway's Tunbridge Wells West address is: West Station, Neville Terrace, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5QY and we can be located at the Western end of the town by Sainsbury's and Homebase. Brown tourist signs in the area will assist in guidance and there are two Pay & Display Car Parks within 5-10 minutes’ walk of Tunbridge Wells West Station located at Union House, Linden Close and Major York's Road.
Eridge Station can be accessed off of the main A26 Tunbridge Wells to Lewes Road. The station has a large Pay & DIsplay Car Park and currently at weekends is just £2 to park all day.
There is very limited parking at Groombridge Station. High Rocks Station has a large free car park and signage is available from Tunbridge Wells to the Rocks themselves.
For Sat Navs the railway is located at the following post codes:
- Tunbridge Wells West: TN2 5QY
- High Rocks: TN3 9JJ
- Groombridge: TN3 9RD
- Eridge: TN3 9LE
The easiest station you can get to us via rail travel is Eridge where our trains depart from Platform 2 or you can arrive via Tunbridge Wells Mainline after a 10-15 minute walk down the town through the very famous Pantiles. Please check National Rail Enquiries before travelling.
If you select an e-ticket please ensure you print it off and bring it with you on the day!
Note that a £10 admin fee applies to all booking alterations. Seats are NOT guaranteed.
For our full refund, cancellations and alterations please see here.