Starring a Deltic, the sole surviving Clayton and an extremely popular Class 25!
Our popular three-day Summer Diesel Gala, will commence at 09:30 on Friday 3rd August with a variety of locomotives in action over the event including the visit of a 'Deltic', the unique Class 17 'Clayton' and the return of an extremely popular Class 25 D7612!
Courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society Class 55 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' will be visiting the Spa Valley Railway in August 2018 and will star in our Summer Diesel Gala alongside our home fleet and hopefully some other visiting locomotives! Built to haul express passenger trains, such as the Flying Scotsman, the sight of a Deltic passing through the High Weald will be one to remember!
Joining the Deltic will be the very unique Class 17 'Clayton' D8568 courtesy of the Diesel Traction Group and visiting us from its usual home at the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway. The only remaining member of the once 117 strong Clayton Type 1's will be making its first visit to Kent for our 2018 Summer Diesel Gala, whilst visiting us D8568 will also be available for Clayton Driver Experience.
Making its third return to the Spa Valley is the South Devon Diesel Tractions popular Sulzer Type 2 D7612. This Class 25 previously visited the line in 2007 and 2015, each time gaining many fans so the locomotive is returning to Kent and Sussex for another three month holiday and will be with us until October's Beer Festival before returning home to its South Devon Railway home.
Class 17 D8568 – Courtesy of the Diesel Traction Group
Photo copyright Jonathan Hughes.
Class 55 55019 'Royal Highland Fulisier' – Courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society
Photo copyright Richard Jones.
Class 25 D7612 – Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction
Photo copyright David Staines.
• Drewry 2591 'Southerham'
• Class 10 D3489 'Colonel Tomline'
• Class 17 D8568 – Courtesy of the Diesel Traction Group/Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
• Class 25 D7612 – Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction
• Class 33/0 33063 'R.J.Mitchell'
• Class 33/2 33201
• Class 55 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' – Courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society
• Class 73 73140
• Class 207 DEMU 1317
• Class 421 3CIG 1497
All of the above locomotives/units are subject to availability.
An intensive train service will apply all three days, the first trains on the Friday, Saturday & Sunday will be connecting with the earlier Southern services arriving at Eridge. We are intending to operate a standard two train hourly service with an intermixed shuttle service operating fast trains between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge.
• Adult Day Rover - £25.00
• Child Day Rover - £15.00
• Adult 2 Day Rover - £40.00
• Child 2 Day Rover - £25.00
• Adult 3 Day Rover - £55.00
• Child 3 Day Rover - £35.00
Book online in advance prior to the 2nd August and save 25%, discount is applied at the checkout! We do not offer any discounts at special events other than the one stated above, this includes reciprocal travel arrangements, HRA passes and we do not accept BR Privs.
Driver for a Tenner
As with all our diesel events, an opportunity to drive a diesel locomotive will be on offer, for 2018 it will use one of our shunting or spare mainline locomotives in between trains at Tunbridge Wells West only.
Brake Van Rides
Back by popular demand! These popular Brake Van services will run from Groombridge Station to the end of the Ashurst Spur and return using Class 10 D3489 'Colonel Tomline' subject to completion of engine repairs. These Brake Van rides will be a total distance of about 1/2 mile and are included in the price of a day rover ticket.
Class 33 Running Day – Thursday 2nd August
The day before the main event takes place will see the two resident Crompton's Class 33/0 33063 'R.J.Mitchell' and Slim-Jim Class 33/2 33201 taking part in a mileage day vice our previously advertised Purple timetable. They will run top and tail all day between Tunbridge Wells West & Eridge with 33063 and 33201 swapping ends as the day goes on, finishing in early evening to allow for continued preparation for the following day's Gala activities. The train will either be the 3CIG combined with DEMU or Set A (5 MK1).
Full details for the Class 33 Running Day are available here.
The return of the 'Rare Track Excursion'!
Alongside the Crompton running day the 'Rare Track Excursion' will be making a welcome return to the calendar, this time visiting a lot of rarely used bits of track in one hit. Taking in areas of Tunbridge Wells West previously not usually accessed such as the East/West 2 siding (as far as something can go) and No.3 road. Both roads of the carriage siding at Groombridge will also be included along with the available space in the Groombridge Engineers Siding, the former Up Line from Birchden Junction.
A quick pop along to Eridge will also be fitted in to visit Platform 3 and the stub of track beyond the normal stopping point in Platform 2 before returning to Tunbridge Wells West. The traction for this train will be one of our shunting locomotives and Class 73/1 73140 if required. The stock will be limited to the Queen Mary Brake Van in the first instance. However, if demand is there then our Class 101 Trailer Car will be added to the consist.
Full details for the Rare Track Excursion is available here.
At the Stations:
Tunbridge Wells West
• Our Buffet Car 'Emily' will be serving hot and cold drinks and light refreshments.
• Station shop stocking a large variety of diesel traction products, shop will close at approximately 16:30 - 17:30.
• Driver for a Fiver.
• Miniature Cinema.
• Sales stands including the well-stocked Deltic Preservation Society's and South East Locomotive Groups.
• Shed access - see below
Tunbridge Wells West – Lifting Demonstrations and Shed Access
A number of years ago the Spa Valley Railway’s supporting charity, the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society was left a legacy, some of this money was used to purchase four 25t Matterson Lifting Jacks. These very important items of equipment aren’t always seen in action by the public however provide great interest in what is involved in locomotive or carriage restoration/maintenance.
Over the 2018 gala, an item of rolling stock or a locomotive will spend time on the lifting jacks being raised and lowered at intervals. Times of these demonstrations will be published much closer to the event and are subject to volunteer availability. It is expected that Class 33/0 33065 'Sealion' will spend the weekend on the lifting jacks.
It is anticipated that the centre aisle of our shed down as far as the end will be opened up to the general public, items of stock available to view should be:
• Under restoration LBSCR Terrier No. 32650 ‘Sutton’, which is well on the way to completion.
• Under overhaul LMS Jinty No. 47493.
• Under overhaul Class 09 09026 with its freshly overhauled generator.
• Under restoration Class 33/0 33065 'Sealion'.
• Under restoration MK1 TSO 5037.
• In service steam locomotive’s at rest.
• Another unique and soul survivor of its class, the Class 12 15224 on display (not in working order).
• Access to see the interior restoration of Class 207 DEMU 1317s unique Centre Car No. 60616.
• 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 some trains DO NOT call at High Rocks.
• Trains crossing throughout.
• Brake Van Rides to the Ashurst Spur & return.
• Popular BBQ on the station!
• Lots of books on our bookstall under the canopy, grab a bargain.
• Photo opportunities from the station bridges.
• Mainline connections with Southern services to Central London, East Croydon, Oxted and Uckfield.
• Catering outlet.
Dining in the Weald
Friday & Saturday Evening Fish & Chip Trains
At the Spa Valley we 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, at our gala events they are a great way to spend the evening whilst enjoying haulage by heritage diesel traction. On Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th August at our 2018 gala we'll be running one of these popular services on our 19:00 service from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge.
What's on offer?
Join the train from 18:45 at Tunbridge Wells West and be shown to your seats. At 19:00 the train will set off for Eridge and complete three return journeys with heritage diesel traction. 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 for approximately 22:30 (or you can alight before if you wish during earlier arrivals).
Bookings for Dining in the Weald Fish & Chip Suppers for this event can be made online now by clicking here, you can also choose your menu options at the time of booking as shown below!
Menu choices (one option per person):
Cod & Chips
Plain Sausage & Chips
Battered Sausage & Chips
Gluten Free Battered Cod & Chips
Gluten Free Grilled Cod & Chips
Vegetarian Spring Roll & Chips
Veggie Burger & Chips
Refreshments at our stations and on the train:
Our award winning on train bar will be open both days from first trains departure to the last trains arrival, this includes Saturday evening trains. 'Kate' will be open for the sale of real ale and cider, sandwiches, crisps, biscuits, cakes and other light refreshments during the day along with early morning bacon & sausage rolls or a selection of pastries to purchase.
In the morning on each day 'Kate' will offer take away 'Morning Coffee', this will include three pastries and a cup of take away coffee. This will be available until 11:30. In the afternoon (from 14:00) take away 'Cream Teas' will available, this will include two scones with jam & cream plus a cup of take away tea for you to enjoy on the train.
Our well stocked bar will have the full Dining in the Weald drinks menu on offer throughout the event, this includes a selection of wines, champagne and up to 12 spirits along with a selection of bottled ales, ciders & lagers.
In 'Kate' as usual, a line-up of locally sourced real ales & ciders will be on offer, we anticipate 8 real ales and 6 ciders for 'Kate' at our 2018 event.
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 both days serving pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches as well as hot & cold drinks and light snacks.
In the morning on each day 'Emily' will offer take away 'Morning Coffee', this will include three pastries and a cup of take away coffee. This will be available until 11:30. In the afternoon (from 14:00) take away 'Cream Teas' will available, this will include two scones with jam & cream plus a cup of take away tea for you to enjoy on the train.
Emily will also stock a selection of bottled real ales & ciders for the duration of our 2018 event.
Located on the station platform will be our small catering outlet serving hot & cold drinks and light refreshments, at the Eridge end of the station our restored van body will house a line up for three real ales for you to enjoy as the trains pass by. Also located by the Signal Box will be the extremely popular BBQ serving locally produced fare.
Inside our Waiting Room will be the usual selection of sandwiches, crisps, confectionary, hot and cold drinks and also our popular real ale & cider bar. Eridge will have four real ales for the 2018 event and at least two ciders for you to enjoy in between trains!
Are you a locomotive or enthusiasts group and have a sales stand?
If you have a locomotive group sales stand and want the opportunity to raise much needed funds for your project then we are delighted to offer pitches for sales stands at our diesel galas. Just get in touch with our General Manager here and we’ll aim to slot you in, there is no charge for a pitch, we just ask for a donation of around £20.
Where to stay?
There are many places to stay in Royal Tunbridge Wells but we suggest you book in advance to make sure you can stay over and enjoy the whole weekend. Being a very popular tourist destination, Royal Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area can book up early throughout the year so don't delay, make your reservation today!
The nearest campsites to Royal Tunbridge Wells are located quite a distance outside the town at the time of writting, the campsite we run past near High Rocks is for use by scout groups only and not the general public.
A list of local hotels and Bed & Breakfasts can be found below:
• Tunbridge Wells Travelodge
• Tunbridge Wells Retreat Smart & Simple Hotel
• The Spa Hotel
• Russell Hotel
• Hotel Du Vin
• 18 Strawberry Close Bed & Breakfast
• Tunbridge Wells Bed & Breakfast
• The Brick House Bed & Breakfast
• Rose House Bed & Breakfast
• Broadwater Bed & Breakfast
• Smith and Western, just across the road from our station at Tunbridge Wells West
• Booking.com for Royal Tunbridge Wells
For further information about Royal Tunbridge Wells and other places to stay as well as things to do please click here for the Visit Royal Tunbridge Wells website
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.