Spa Valley Railway » Children's Events

Summer Diesel Gala!

12th, 13th & 14th August – with visiting Class 24 D5054, Class 25 D7612 & GBRf Class 73/1 73141!

The ever popular Summer Diesel Gala returns in 2022 with visiting Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern', Class 25 D7612 and GBRf Class 73/1 73141!
Welcome to our Summer Diesel Gala webpage, our galas have been an annual feature of our calendar since their introduction way back in 2003 when trains ran only as far as Groombridge. Fast forward to 2022 and this year we’re back with three visiting locomotives with class 24, 25 and 73 paying a visit to Tunbridge Wells West, an intensive train service and as many of our home-based locomotives in action as possible!


NOTE: 10:05 Eridge to Tunbridge Wells West Friday & Saturday - due to how our timetable works there has to be a departure at 10:05 from Eridge, we are aware that people will be arriving on the Southern train which arrives at 10:04 from London Bridge. We will hold our 10:05 train for an extra few minutes to allow people to cross from Platform 1 to Platform 2, however, we are asking anyone intending to board the 10:05 from Eridge having arrived by train from London buys a ticket before they arrive via this website. This will mean you can board the train straight away having come down the footbridge, there is no need to check in just have you eTicket which this website will send you available on your phone, printed or tablet.


Visting Locomotives:

Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern'
Visiting from the East Lancashire Railway is Sulzer Type 2 D5054, built in 1959 at Crewe. D5054 is one of just four preserved examples from the original 151 strong fleet of locos and was amongst the first Diesel locomotives to be based at the East Lancs Railway, Bury, arriving in 1987. D5054 is visiting for the month of August and will be the first time a Class 24 has visited the Spa Valley Railway in preservation, previously classes 25, 26 and 27 have all visited Tunbridge Wells West. 

Class 24s are no strangers to the Southern region with fifteen of the initial twenty were diverted for use on the Southern Region to cover for delays in the Kent Coast Electrification scheme. Here the heavy weight was not acceptable and the locos in question had to have their boilers removed before they were accepted. Later some locos had their boilers re-fitted and these examples could be found, often in tandem with a Class 33 to provide steam heating to the coaches, the 33s only having electric train heat (ETH).

Photo of Class 24 D5054 'Phil Southern' courtesy Andrew Edkins

Class 25 D7612 – Courtesy of South Devon Diesel Traction
Returning to the Spa Valley Railway for our Summer Diesel Gala is Class 25 D7612, this locomotive last visited us in 2018 and as always proved a hit with visitors and crews alike. The Sulzer Type 2 is standing in for fellow SDDT locomotive D7535 which is having further work undertaken following the recent engine overhaul and is no longer available for this event, rest assured D7535 will visit Tunbridge Wells West very soon! The visit of D7612 is rather appropriate given it is our 25th Anniversary year as it was the SDDT who first supported our Diesel Galas with a visiting locomotive, first with 20118 in 2006 and then D7612 for the first time in 2007. We are grateful to the SDDT for making D7612 available at short notice for this event.

Photo of Class 25 D7612 courtesy Richard Jones

Class 73/1 73141 – Courtesy of GBRf
Making a welcome visit to Tunbridge Wells West is GBRf Class 73/1 73141. This locomotive usually sees service on the mainline around Kent and Sussex out of Tonbridge West Yard and is owned and supplied by our friends at GBRf who have previously supported our diesel gala in 2017 with the visit of Class 73/1 73136. The 73/1 will also feature at our 25th Anniversary Gala from 26th to 29th August.

Photo of GBRf Class 73/1 73141 courtesy Richard Jones


A freshly repainted 73140!

Tunbridge Wells West



Evening Dining Trains (Day Rover ticket holders can just travel non-dining on these trains too):

Day Rover tickets are valid ALL DAY and this includes the evening dining trains on Friday 12th & Saturday 13th August too. You do not need to buy additional tickets just to travel on the evening dining trains.

Driver for a Fiver – Friday 12th & Saturday 13th August only.
We're delighted to announce, subject to locomotive and crew availability our Drewry locomotive No. 2591 'Southerham' will be offering Driver for a Fiver from No. 2 Road at Tunbridge Wells West down our Coal Road and return! 

To take part, bring along £5 cash or a card (we can accept cards!) and make your way along to the Yard end of our Engine Shed, No. 2 Road is to your right as you walk down the middle aisle of the shed. The Driver will then take payment and let you drive the Drewry up the Coal Road and back.

This is on a first come first serve on the day basis, you must be aged 18 or over to take part and not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol (so don't have a drink first!) and you must be able to climb from ground level into the cab of the locomotive. 

Class 10 D3489 & Drewry 2591 hauling trains
At intervals throughout the Friday & Saturday D3489 will shunt passenger trains at Tunbridge Wells West to allow D5054, D7612 or 31430 to run around their train. Anytime Set A is in use it will need to be 'shunted' at Tunbridge Wells West as it is too long for the run around facility, D3489 will primarily do this but at times 2591 will join D3489 just because we can!

Queen Mary Brake Van
We're delighted to bring you the news that our Queen Mary Brake Van will be attached to Set A throughout the weekend for a small donation you can enjoy a ride in this wonderfully restored vehicle.

Real Ale & Cider
We've a selection of local cask real ales and ciders for you to enjoy during this years Summer Diesel Gala, available in our RMB on Set A.

Real Ale

Ciders (Kent Cider)

Travel tickets are available to book online now! 

On the day fares:
Adult One Day Rover: £30
Adult Two Day Rover: £45
Adult Three Day Rover: £55

Child One Day Rover: £20
Child Two Day Rover: £30
Child Three Day Rover: £35

Family One Day Rover: £60
Family Two Day Rover: £80
Family Three Day Rover: £90

Society Members
Adult One Day Rover: £20
Adult Two Day Rover: £35
Adult Three Day Rover: £45

Child One Day Rover: £15
Child Two Day Rover: £25
Child Three Day Rover: £30

Evening Rovers – Valid from 17:00
Adult - £15
Child - £10

1 stop (TWW to GBR, GBR to ERD or ERD to GBR, GBR to TWW) - £8
2 stops (TWW to ERD or ERD to TWW) - £13


Book tickets

Sat 13 Aug 2022
Open Day Event
Sun 14 Aug 2022
Open Day Event

Booking information

On the day of your visit you MUST have your eTickets available to show either in a print out or on a mobile device, both will be checked visually by a member of staff before boarding the train.

Note that a £10 admin fee applies to all booking alterations.

Click here to view our refund, cancellation and alterations policy




Booking with vTicket