Spa Valley Railway » Bulletins » LATEST NEWS!

LATEST NEWS!

Spa Valley Railway » Bulletins » LATEST NEWS!

UPDATE: 4th July 2020
Bulleid Pacific No. 34053 'Sir Keith Park' is coming to the Spa Valley Railway, click HERE for full details and our Kiosk at Groombridge is OPEN at weekends in July & August!
 
We have launched our online survey to gain opinions on what you would like to see when we reopen. The Survey can be found HERE
 
Whilst we are not going to operate passenger trains for a little while longer (we are anticipating mid-August) we have made the necessary changes at Tunbridge Wells West and Groombridge which will enable a service to restart with our Class 207 DEMU 1317 as and when the time allows.
 
From Saturday 27th June, at weekends throughout July and August, Groombridge Station and the Kiosk will BE OPEN from 09:30 to 16:00 for visitors to pop along to enjoy a drink or an ice cream on the station platform!
 
With the restrictions easing, volunteers have been able to resume projects under the necessary Social Distancing guidance, this has included some progress on our Steam & Diesel locomotives (such as essential maintenance) and also work to make our yard track layout more flexible, this is increase our operational flexibility and make the arrival of 'Sir Keith Park' easier to manage from a positioning perspective.
 
You may see some tourist attractions reopening their doors in July, the Spa Valley Railway has not yet set a firm date on when we will reopen to the public, we are ready but we will take things slowly and want to be in the best possible position to welcome you all again, the announcement will be made online and Facebook in advance with the full details published on this website. 
 
Currently, all of our pre-bookings and event webpages are switched off, these will re-appear once we are clear on the way ahead and what restrictions we may have to impose. Events not shown are not necessarily cancelled, they are just unavailable for future bookings at the present time. No trains will operate in June or July 2020 however we hope to resume train operations in mid-August.
 
If you have a Virgin Experience Days Gift Voucher, these are also unable to be used at present. 
 
We thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.
 
We've launched an e-newsletter, which contains updates on how the fund raising is going and what is happenning behind the scenes. If you would like to subscribe please click SUBSCRIBE!
 
Train Service Information:
In line with Government guidance, "Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save lives", the Spa Valley Railway has suspended all train operations at the present time. A re-opening date will be announced soon and we will contact customers as and when decisions are taken on the postponement or amendment of our services. Please do not contact us by phone as we have no persons on site available to answer, we are a 100% volunteer organisation and are working from home answering emails daily so please contact us via enquiries@spavalleyrailway.co.ukwe will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.
 
We are regularly patrolling the railway stations and track between and remind all locals that the railway is not a public right of way and tresspassing is strictly prohibited. Railways are very hazardous places and even though trains to the general public aren't running this doesn't mean an inspection or vital maintenance train won't run. There is a large amount of CCTV hidden around our railway and it is recording and monitored 24/7. Anyone caught trespassing will have the footage passed to the Police. Last week people were caught by an inspection train on the tracks, do not come onto our property!
 
However, we're going to need your help to get through this and beyond COVID-19 so please see beyond our list of changes to see how you can, but only if you are able to do so, your health and wellbeing comes first and foremost, support us through this period of uncertainty.
 
To date, through your kind generosity we've raised over £8,000!
 
Our target is £5,000 per month to cover the bills such as electricity, telephone lines, internet (so we can watch the CCTV) and fixed term direct debits which still come in each month and require payment so every penny or pound helps to keep us going!
 
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SURVIVE!
We rely on passenger fares and visitors to ensure our survival, the Spa Valley Railway is owned and operated by the Wealden Railway Co. Ltd, which receives income from train fares, special events and dining experiences. The income is used to pay for expenses such as electricity (£2,000 a month), fuels (£8,000 a month) and other items such as the phone bills, water bill, PPE, Marketing & PR, cleaning products/toiletries, shop/catering stock and administrative expenses. 
 
Income is also used to enable improvements to take place, namely in recent times, the refurbishment of the Shop, Washing Up Room, Ticket Office and Concourse at Tunbridge Wells West were investments made by the Wealden Railway Co. Ltd with support from our dedicated volunteers and members.
 
Fortunately, a grant from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been received which will allow us to pay the fixed insurance costs that become due in August 2020, usually covered by the profits from the Summer Diesel Gala. 
 
Whilst we have ceased operating trains our expenditure on items such as fuels, Marketing & PR and shop/catering stock have stopped but fixed costs such as the electricity, phones and water bills remain. Whilst we have a trickle of donations to enable us to pay these fixed costs (and a huge thank you to everyone that has donated so far and raised over £8,100!) the Wealden Railway Co. Ltd, will, once we are able to re-open need to go through a period of growth once again to ensure the future of the Spa Valley Railway and will not have much in the way of excess 'cash' to invest in future projects such as planned P-Way track renewals, station improvements, locomotive or carriage overhauls and continuing to improve our railway in general. 
 
This is where we need your help, more so now than ever before (but only if you are able to do so, your health and wellbeing comes first and foremost) to support our registered Charity and Society, the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society, Charity No. 1039493. This Society was formed in 1987 to "restore and operate the railway line between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge together with the rolling stock and infrastructure related thereto" and continues to this day to provide support to the Wealden Railway Co. Ltd and the Spa Valley Railway as a whole. 
 
Our Society will continue to improve and support the Spa Valley Railway through your generosity - any donations we receive that aren't used to support the Spa Valley Railway during the COVID-19 crisis, will be ploughed back into projects and improve our railway (which is now the biggest tourist attraction in Royal Tunbridge Wells) for generations to come. 
 
You can donate to our "Funding the Future: COVID-19 Appeal" via our website HERE or you can support the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society by joining our already 1,000 strong membership online too, when we re-open you'll be more than welcome to volunteer too! Our Membership Secretary is working from home so your memberships will be dealt with as and when we receive them, just follow this link to join our Society.
 
When we re-open we will need your support, riding our trains, enjoying the Steam, Heritage Diesels, Vintage 1960's carriages, well-kept Southern Region appearance stations and High Weald Countryside more than ever before. You can buy ahead for a future Spa Valley Railway experience in one of two ways, either by purchasing a Gift Voucher for any value to use on any Spa Valley Railway product or service or you can buy a fixed price Gift Experience such as our Afternoon Tea, Gin & Steam, High Weald Belle or one of our other popular dining train experiences via our online shop.
 
Both Gift Voucher and Gift Experience purchases can be used once we re-open and neither have an expiry date so you can take them forward into 2021 if you so wish! 
 
We thank you for your generosity at this difficult time and we look forward to seeing you again soon. 
 
Jonnie Pay
Commercial Manager
Spa Valley Railway

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