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Spa Valley Railway - Latest News

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by matt41312, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. 73082

    73082 Member

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    My video and some photos from a sunny day at the railway yesterday. Thanks to both the Spa Valley and the Bluebell for making the visit of "Bluebell" possible, and I look forward to another trip down in the coming weeks.




    Pokehill Farm Crossing
    323 Pokehill 24.2.2018.jpg

    High Rocks
    323 High Rocks 24.2.2018.jpg

    Harrison's Rocks
    323 Harrisons Rocks 24.2.2018.jpg

    Groombridge Loop 323 Groombridge loop 24.2.2018.jpg

    Forge Farm Crossing 323 Forge Farm 24.2.2018 less compressed.jpg

    Eridge 323 Eridge 24.2.2018.jpg
     
  2. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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  3. BR 73082

    BR 73082 New Member

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    Is it planned to have Bluebell on the Eridge end of services this weekend again?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  4. Although nowadays living many miles from the Spa Valley, in BR days I was a frequent user of the service between Tunbridge Wells Central (as it was) and Uckfield, also regularly using TWW, Eridge and Crowborough stations. I have many fond memories of the line during that period and was, naturally, on the last train from Birchden Junction to TWW. (I also remember all too vividly how Uckfield used to grind to a complete halt every time the level crossing was opened to a train!)

    In those days, what had been the down loop at Eridge had been shortened to a bay, with a (very) short path from the car park to the down island platform laid across the trackbed and up steps to platform level. I assume this was partly to make it quicker and easier to access the station from the car park, and partly for safety reasons, being in the days before the stretch of the A26 past Eridge station was bypassed slightly to the south-east.

    So, my question is... given that the Spa Valley appears to run top and tail to Eridge or operate shunt release there, I'm guessing that the former down loop is still a bay. Are there any plans to restore the loop, so locos can run round? With the A26 long since moved, I would assume that the 'danger from traffic' element of people having to walk round to the main station entrance from the car park isn't an argument for not reinstating it? Or does saving the legs of poor Southern commuters from having to walk a few extra yards play a part in the full loop not having been reinstated so far?

    (Please no WIBN posts about extensions past Redgate Mill Junction on to the Cuckoo Line. This is a serious question! :) )
     
  5. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Down Loop is still a bay with the walkway to the carpark immediately beyond the Bay buffers. A design for reinstatement of the Loop has been worked out using a moveable bridge all with precedent elsewhere. It would/will be very expensive as it involves working on Land owned by Network Rail with GTR as operator of the station with all the requirements this entails. The TOC fares on the Uckfield line are cheaper than BML or SE so lots of people drive to stations on the Uckfield line causing massive peak loadings for a small base population. The commuter cars overflow the car park and are parked on the old road verges both sides right out to and on the A26 most days so removing the direct car park access is a non starter. Also would the expense be value for money if the SpVR lease was not renewed.
    So for the time being the Loop stays as a bay. Shunt release does give a loco for people to see and talk to the crews at the station during the layover which is not such a bad thing IMHO for giving passengers an interest and PR at what otherwise out of peak hours is still a beautiful but very quiet LB&SCR deep in the countryside junction station.

    B
    ps you will have travelled on DEMU 1317 used on the last day of BR service which is in service with us. The ETH works well I am pleased to say. Keeping all those doors in good condition is quite an ongoing undertaking though.
     
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  6. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Bluebell is on the Eridge end of the train this weekend, if she does go on the Tunbridge Wells end of the train at anytime with the four car and the 33, the 33 will be doing the majority of the work providing assistance in the rear.

    As for re-instating a loop at Eridge, the costs of such a project have presently put any thoughts of it on the back burner. We've a landslip to repair and also other areas of our infrastructure that will require major investment over the coming years if we want to continue running trains. It is by no means a hidden secret that our dining trains are the mainstay of our income so developing these further is an essential part of our future.

    We have no intention of extending the railway, what we have is what we need and provides a fantastic product for our visitors.

    The reason we are top and tailing at the moment is that Bluebell is limited to two MK1s, we need to run a 4 MK1 train to cope with the demand placed on us by the visitor numbers (which isn't a bad thing) and with temperatures at around -5 degrees at the moment we need to provide steam heating continuously to the train too.

    We are still planning to operate this weekend, this might change if the weather gets worse. Our website and Facebook sites will be updated should the situation change.

    Jonnie
     
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  7. Thanks for the info, gents, very interesting. I was indeed aware that 1317 is at the railway, although I couldn't tell you which unit I was in on the last train. I can't even remember the number of the other one.

    Talking of Eridge being a quiet station, I used to particularly enjoy getting the train from there, precisely for that reason. Shame about the signalbox and the up bay, but you can't have everything!
     
  8. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    The last train in 1985 was formed of DEMU 1125 plus I believe another, 1125 is now at the Mid Hants Railway. The penultimate train and the one that had been running the line the whole day was a combination of 1311 and 1317.
     
  9. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    RAILWAY CLOSED SATURDAY 3RD MARCH – NO TRAINS WILL OPERATE.

    Due to the current adverse weather conditions in Tunbridge Wells (very heavy snow is laying on top of the already 20cm deep snow) and the surrounding areas, the Spa Valley Railway has taken the decision to cancel all train services on Saturday 3rd March 2018.

    We apologise for any disappointment closing the railway may cause but the safety of our visitors and volunteers is paramount. All those booked on our Dining train tomorrow evening will be contacted by email and by phone shortly to offer you a transfer to a future date.

    We will evaluate the situation throughout Saturday 3rd March as to whether trains operate on Sunday 4th March 2018.

    Jonnie Wesson
    General Manager
     
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  10. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Trains will operate on Sunday 4th March with Bluebell and 33063. Green timetable in use however High Rocks will be closed.
     
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  11. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Bluebell's last runs at the Spa are this coming weekend, 24th & 25th March.
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    ..... but don't forget, the clocks go forward this weekend folks!:)
     
  13. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    When steam was all over the Oxted and Tunbridge Wells area I covered everything apart, bizarrely, for the Eridge - Tunbridge line. So I am pleased it has survived into preservation but am now waiting for the right time to visit the line. The hope is that one day the Spa Valley will run a top and tail steam event (using a visiting loco) but until then.........
     
  14. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    We've some exciting news to bring you!

    Visit of Lancashire & Yorkshire A-Class Locomotive No. 52322!

    The Spa Valley Railway is delighted to announce the visit of Andy Booths historic A-Class locomotive to our railway from May to August 2018.

    Built in 1896 and outshopped from Horwich Works as Lancashire & Yorkshire No. 1300 the locomotive comes to us for our busy Summer period and will first haul trains on Saturday 5th May to our standard Green timetable between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge.

    Now numbered with its British Railways number of 52322, the locomotive is now the only remaining member of a once 484 strong class. This will be the first time since its construction that 52322 has operated this far in the South of the country, the locomotive is planned to operate the majority of our Green timetabled services between May and August and will also feature heavily at our Summer Festival on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July.

    See the locomotive in action for the first time on Saturday 5th May 2018!
     
  15. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    The Tender for 52322 arrived this evening, the Loco part is due to arrive tomorrow morning. The A-Class should be visible from our main Tun Wells platform this weekend. RSH No. 62 'Ugly' will be in service with Class 33/2 33201 on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th April to an Eridge Green timetable.

    52322 will operate for the first time in the South East alongside 33201 to a Green timetable on Saturday 5th May and to a Groombridge only timetable on Sunday 6th May. Confirmation is awaited on either a GBR only or ERD Green timetable for Monday 7th May. Currently the 6th & 7th are Orange in our calendar.

    Standard tickets are £12 for adults, £11 seniors, £6 child or £30 for a family of 2A+2C on Eridge Green timetable days.

    Green timetable Tun Wells departures with 52322 will be at 10:20 and 13:40.
    Green timetable Eridge departures with 52322 will be at 12:50 and 15:20.
     
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  16. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    The loco part of 52322 followed shortly afterwards and was unloaded on Wednesday and reunited with its tender. The loco is chimney first towards Tunbridge Wells West (so uphill).
    [​IMG]

    Saturday 5th & Monday 7th May
    52322 will operate on a Green timetable on Saturday 5th and Monday 7th May to Eridge. We are looking at using Class 10 D3489 to provide a form of shunt releasing at Eridge to enable 52322 to haul the four trips on that day rather than changing over at Eridge station.

    Tunbridge Wells departures are at 10:20, 12:00, 13:40 and 15:20
    Eridge departures are at: 11:10, 12:50, 14:30 and 16:10

    Subject to the crews etc then D3489 would haul the 10:20 and the 16:10, the A-Class would haul the other services. The set of coaches will be the standard 4 car MK1 rake.

    Sunday 6th May
    On Sunday 6th May 52322 will be running a Groombridge only service due to engineering works on the Eridge extension. RSH No. 62 'Ugly' will also be in steam on this day for a Driver Experience and as this finishes up towards early afternoon 'Ugly' will work with 52322 later in the day.

    Tunbridge Wells departures are at: 10:30, 11:50, 13:10, 14:30, 15:45 & 16:55.
    Groombridge departures are at: 11:10, 12:30, 13:50, 15:10, 16:25 & 17:33.

    1. The 15:45 will be double headed with 52322 and 62 (52322 will lead) from Tunbridge Wells West to Groombridge, at Groombridge 52322 will run round the train. 62 will then haul this train down to Birchden Junction with 52322 and 62 top and tailing the train back to Tunbridge Wells West from Birchden Junction.
    2. The 16:55 will be hauled by 62 to Birchden Juction and by 52322 from Birchden Junction to Groombridge, at Groombridge 62 will run round the train. 62 and 52322 (62 leading) will then haul the train back to Tunbridge Wells West double headed.
    3. Only the 15:45 and 16:55 trains operate to Birchden Junction.
    For those interested, No. 62 'Ugly' will be hauling our Queen Mary Brake Van for the Driver Experience and although won't be available to convey passengers the loco will be crossing with 52322 at Groombridge, so quite an intensive day for the Signalman. 'Ugly' will be departing Tunbridge Wells West at 10:00, 11:30, 12:50 and 14:10 and Groombridge at: 10:50, 12:10, 13:30 and 14:50 and can be seen from the various stations (although High Rocks is not accessible unless manned or a train is present) and other publicly accessible areas near to the line.

    Full details here: https://www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk/...vice-with-visiting-Steam-Locomotive-No.-52322!

    We hope to see you there on the 5th, 6th or 7th!
     
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  17. 3855

    3855 Member

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    Must be the first time an L&y class 27 and an ugly have worked on the same railway. Ironically both have been ELR residents ...
     
  18. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    Not necessarily. I know 52322 visited the GCRN in the late 1990s/early 2000s, but cannot remember the exact date. It is entirely possible that the visit date was at a time when pioneer 'Ugly' number 56 was in traffic. Perhaps somebody else will be able to clarify...?
     
  19. ykin01

    ykin01 New Member

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    Hoping to visit on Saturday is it still the case that D3489 will be used to shunt release?

    Thanks.
     
  20. BR 73082

    BR 73082 New Member

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    The loco roster on the website seems to suggest it will be a normal green timetable with 33201 as does their twitter page according to a message posted yesterday so maybe not?

    https://twitter.com/SpaVRofficial/status/991980923909562368
     

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