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 They can sometimes even have a fault develop during the day and have to be withdrawn from service, this is the last thing we want to do but passenger safety is of paramount importance so whilst we'd love to guarantee a steam locomotive will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!

The price and the availability of coal is currently currently causing the heritage sector an issue, coal has increased from £180 per ton late last year to over £400 per ton. We burn on average 1.5t of coal per day at the Spa Valley Railway so our costs per day have risen from £270 per day to £600 per day on coal! There might be days in the coming months that we have to re-evaluate our steam locomotive operating days to ensure we can continue to provide them for dining experiences and peak timetable days.

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, many of our volunteers bring their beloved dogs for a ride with us once or twice a year.

For hygine reasons we do not allow dogs, except assistance dogs, in our catering outlets including our dining carriages on the train.

Can we bring bicycles, prams or buggies on the train?
Yes of course! We have space in the Guard's van for most things or some open carriages, but on children's special events and gala 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.

Please visit this page for further details 

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.

Please visit here for all our dining train information.

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 on standard operating days. Some special events can vary and we reserve the right to alter the age range to meet the requirements of an event.

What age range is "Senior"?
Seniors fares are available to persons aged 60 and over, fares are usually reduced by £1. Special event fares can vary.  

Can we look round the engine shed?
Yes, we've introduced a walking route through the centre aisle of our engine shed which means on most operating days you can walk the whole way up to the end of the shed within the fence line and see our under restoration steam & diesel locomotives and carriages and then look out across the yard too. This is a working engine shed with engineering work often taking place - Occasionally it is necessary to restrict access for safety reasons.  

If you would like a closer look at a particular item of stock, please speak to one of our volunteers who will endeavour to help you.

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. 

How do I become a volunteer?
Our railway is operated by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, we always welcome new volunteers to our family. We can offer a wide variety of roles from Operating to Retain, Catering to Engineering. 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

Didn't find the answer to your question?
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