The Spa Valley Railway goes from High Weald to North Downs for one week only!
Britain’s pioneering main line railway held a Steam Gala in which it re-enacted the Westerham Branch from Dunton Green on the 29th and 30th October.
All stations were renamed, with Eridge becoming Dunton Green (thanks to the main line connection), Groombridge became Brasted, High Rocks was adorned with signage for Chevening Halt, and Tunbridge Wells West, as terminus, became Westerham itself.
The ‘Westerham Flyer’ operated, and additional shuttle services ran from Eridge to Groombridge. Special tickets were made for the event, with authentic names; ticket holders received a somewhat authentic timetable; and a postcard as a memento.
Arguably the star of the event was a true locomotive visiting, with LSWR M7 30053 coming to Kent from Swanage. This locomotive had worked the line, and to and from Tunbridge Wells, in days gone past half a century ago. Also working were the railway’s relatively recently restored industrial locomotive “Ugly”, and LMS “Jinty” No. 47493.
For many, the connection at “Dunton Green” allowed easy access to and from London, Croydon and Oxted, hence many visitors arrived by the National Rail network, a sure sign that the Eridge extension is a healthy addition. The railway also offered a guest ale from the Westerham Brewery, rather fittingly called “Westerham Flyer” at many stations and on the train in the award winning “Kate” buffet coach.
The railway now closes until December, when they host Santa Specials. The railway has recently improved facilities at their hub, and it is therefore recommended that people book for these trains.