Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spa Valley Railway

In little more than a few hours, the first steam train since 1966, in fact the first train of any description since 1985, will run from Tunbridge Wells West in Kent via Groombridge to Eridge in Sussex.

Following many years of dedicated hard work and despite limited funds, the heritage Spa Valley Railway has re-opened the line from Groombridge to Eridge.

We visited the railway in 2009 and had an enjoyable day out although the line at that time only ran as far as Groombridge.

Tunbridge Wells West station originally opened in 1866 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway is the headquarters for the Spa Valley Railway and location for their engine shed and workshops.

They maintain a mixed fleet of heritage steam and diesel locomotives. Engines such as the GWR liveried Pannier tank locomotive 7715 pictured above are also sometimes loaned or hired in from other heritage railways.

7715 was built in Stoke on Trent in 1930 and spent most of her early working life in Cornwall hauling china clay wagons. In 1963 she was sold to London Transport and in 1970 went for preservation.

The Lady Ingrid was built in Kilmarnock in 1951 for the South of Scotland Electricity Board and spent many years working at the Braehead Power Station before going into preservation. She is currently out of service awaiting boiler repairs.

33063 R J Mitchell, named after the designer of the Supermarine Spitfire, is an example of the more modern diesel engines at the railway. She was one of 98 British Railways Class 33 locomotives built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co between 1960 and 1962.

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1 comment:

  1. I am not a huge train fan, but I greatly appreciate the role trains had in the 19th century, opening up the links between nations and linking cities within each nation. The Universal Exhibitions showed that clearly enough!

    It is great that our children can see how and why Tunbridge Wells West station was originally opened (1866) by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.