Double celebration at the Spa Valley Railway

As the Spa Valley Railway in Royal Tunbridge Wells approaches its 20th birthday, it is also celebrating a significant increase in visitor numbers, up from 30,518 in 2015 to 42,566 in 2016.

20 years ago, on Saturday 23 August 1997, the Spa Valley Railway re-opened the 3 ½ mile line to Groombridge and since then it has grown into Tunbridge Wells' biggest tourist attraction and is often described as the South East's friendliest railway!

General Manager Jonnie Wesson said: “In the years that followed the opening to Groombridge, the heritage railway has achieved many things - our line was extended to Birchden Junction in 2004 and then on to Eridge in March 2011. We've become home to a wonderful fleet of Steam and Heritage Diesel Locomotives, including a 1876 built Steam engine known as Terrier 'Sutton' & LMS Jinty 47493, we’ve also the train which closed our line in 1985, Class 207 DEMU 1317.

We've come such a long way in such a short space of time through the dedication of our wonderful volunteers, without whom we would not exist today. Since 2014 we have also introduced signalling at Groombridge enabling trains to pass and increase our service. Since re-opening the railway we have invested heavily our infrastructure having re-laid vast quantities of railway to a very high standard.

The 20 Year Celebrations will be the railway’s biggest event in 2017 and is set to take place on 26, 27 and 28 August 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary date of the re-opening of the line to Groombridge.  Throughout the event visitors can enjoy seeing and travelling behind both visiting steam and diesel locomotives in addition to our home-fleet.”

For further details and to purchase tickets online visit

Notes to Editors

Locomotives taking part in the 20th birthday event
RSH No.62 'Ugly'
Vulcan Austerity No.72
Class 09 09026
Class 10 D3489
Class 33/0 D6501
Class 33/0 33063
Class 73 73140
Class 207 DEMU 1317
Plus visiting steam and diesel locomotives.

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