Spa Valley Railway » Railway Events

35th Anniversary of Line Closure Weekend

Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th July 2020


6th July 1985... The end of the Spa Valley line... 

35 years ago on 6th July 1985 the line between Tunbridge Wells Central and Eridge closed, many thought that was the end... Now the Spa Valley Railway is Tunbridge Wells' biggest tourist attraction carrying thousands of visitors per year through the glorious High Weald!

To commemorate 35 years since the line closed we are operating our very own historic Class 207 DEMU 1317 between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge, with perhaps a surprise or two in store for this special occassion...

Due to a variety of engineering work dates put in place, we can't operate to Eridge on the closest to the closure date weekend. We originally moved it back to June but then further engineering works were annouced so instead of taking it an unrealistic distance away from the orignal date we've settled with a weekend in July where we can still operate to Eridge on the Saturday. Full details are below.

Class 207 DEMU 1317
Known as a 'Thumper' because of the engine note, 1317 is a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit built specifically to operate on the Oxted Line. It consists of 3 carriages with a driving cab at each end and in one carriage there is a 4 cylinder English Electric engine that provides the power. Back in the 1980s Tunbridge Wells West was a huge depot full of 'Thumpers' and 1317 along with others regularly ran trains along what is now the Spa Valley Railway, down to Uckfield and up to London. When our line closed there was still a need for these versatile units and up until 2004 they could regularly be seen operating to Uckfield. 

Preserved in 2004, two of 1317s carriages have been lovingly restored following major bodywork back to its 1985 British Rail Blue & Grey colours, complete with a fully overhauled interior. Ongoing at our Tunbridge Wells West depot is the restoration of 1317s middle carriage, often called 'the Centre Car' and many people ask us when will it return to service. Our volunteers are working every week on the return to traffic of this historic vehicle which when complete will make 1317 the only 3 car 'Thumper' in preservation, if time is on our side then there is a possibility (not a guarantee) it might operate during this event.

Full details of our 35th Anniversary of Line Closure plans will be published in Spring 2020 but for now, make sure you save the latest dates!

Saturday 11th July
Join us for a day of pure Diesel Electric Multiple Unit action, just as it was back in July 1985, our train service will operate from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge throughout the day, finishing up back at Tunbridge Wells West in the late evening, much like the units did in 1985.

Sunday 12th July
Due to engineering work the line between Birchden Junction and Eridge is closed on Sunday 12th July 2020 (ironic really!) so we are restricted to our section of line from Tunbridge Wells West to Birchden Junction, 4 miles instead of the usual 5. We will however be running an intensive timetable using our DEMU, Birchden Bank and even one of the Steam Engines hauling a train with the award winning bar car 'Kate' in the consist.

Booking information

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Sat 11 Jul 2020
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Sun 12 Jul 2020
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