Spa Valley Railway » Visitor Information » FAQs
Can you guarantee we'll see a Steam Locomotive?
We'd love to be able to give this guarantee, especially on Green days however steam locomotives can and do from time to time decide that chuffing up and down the countryside isn't for them. They can sometimes even have a fault develop during the day and have to be withdrawn from service, this is the last thing we want to do but passenger safety is of paramount importance so whilst we'd love to guarantee a steam locomotive will pull your train when advertised it isn't aways possible. A heritage diesel can take around 30 minutes to get started up and going whereas a steam locomotive if it is stone cold will take a good 4hrs to come to life.
We also rely on a 100% volunteer workforce, becoming a Fireman isn't a 5 minute task, it can take years of practice to learn the art of shovelling coal and boiler control, only then can a person be assessed to fire a steam locomotive. It then takes a little bit longer to promote these Fireman to Driver so there are times in the year where we do struggle to get a steam driver or fireman to run our trains. We're working hard on it to ensure this isn't the case though, don't worry! We still have space to take on more people that'd love to learn how to fire and drive this magnificant machines so do get in touch today, it won't take 5 minutes and does require commitment but the rewards are certainly worthwhile!
Can we bring our dog?
Most definitely! Well behaved dogs are welcome on the Spa Valley Railway, but please keep them on a lead at all times and do not allow them to sit on the seats. Unlike many other railways we make no charge for dogs.
For hygine reasons we do not allow dogs, except assistance dogs, in any of our catering outlets including our Dining Coaches on the train.
Can we bring bicycles, prams or buggies on the train?
Yes of course! We have lots of space in the Guard's Van for most things, but on children's special event days we encourage you to leave buggies/prams in the designated areas at Eridge or Tunbridge Wells West unless absolutely necessary.
Can I book a special train for my event or wedding?
Certainly. In addition to our regular timetabled service, in which we can accommodate groups in reserved carriages or compartments, we also offer a bespoke private hire service on non-running days.
Can I enjoy dining experiences on your trains?
Yes! We operate a variety of on train dining experiences throughout the year. These range from three course evening or luncheon services aboard our High Weald Belle, Afternoon Tea or our extremely popular Fish & Chip Lunch or Supper trains.
How do we get to the Pantiles?
Head out of the main SVR gates, turn left and walk until you reach the roundabout. Cross the road and head down Nevill Terrace towards the second roundabout which will be on your left. Follow the pavement past what was Union House (all boarded up at present) until you get to Linden Park Road. Turn right and after a few short steps the Pantiles will appear on your left. (5-10 Minutes)
What age range is "Child"?
Children are generally classed as between 2 and 15 years, and under-2s are welcomed free of charge. Lower age limits apply for Day out with Thomas and Santa events.
What age range is "Senior"?
Seniors are 60years and over, fares are usually reduced by £1.
Can we look round the engine shed?
There's a viewing area inside the engine shed, from where you can see our engines and carriages undergoing repair. We always do our best to accommodate requests for tours around the works, but because this is a real-life working depot we can't guarantee this will always be possible. Please ring our booking office on 01892 300141 if you would like to arrange a tour.
Why are the train doors locked between Eridge and Groombridge?
It's a requirement of our Operating Agreement on the mainline section to Eridge that our heritage slam-door trains have their doors locked on the mainline side prior to departure from Groombridge. This might delay you for a few seconds when arriving back at Groombridge, but please be patient while the Guard and station staff unlock the doors for you.
Can I drive a Steam Engine?
Yes you can! On selected dates throughout the year we offer you the chance to drive one of our steam locomotives prices start from just £250 for a light engine journey or £500 for a whole day at the railway with driving, guarding and being a signalman included too!
Please visit our dedicated Driver Experience page here where you will find further information about Steam Driver Experiences.
Can I Drive a Diesel Locomotive or DEMU 1317?
Yes, on selected days in the year, in 2019 you can even drive some of our visiting locomotives which in the past have included a Deltic, Warship and Class 50. We have a variety of Diesel locomotives and DEMU 1317 available for Driver Experience throughout the year!
How do I become a volunteer?
Our railway is operated by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers! We always welcome new volunteers to our happy bunch. Please see our volunteering page for more details.
Can I Gift Aid my Membership Subscription/Donation?
Yes you can if you meet the criteria - For our Gift Aid form and information please download our form HERE
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