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Spa Valley Railway - Latest News

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

  1. ady

    ady New Member

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    machine gun posts?
     
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  2. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    Alas, frowned upon I believe.
    Was thinking some nice chunky beams as per GWSR...
     
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  3. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    We have looked into this, the problem is that any pre-bridge defence mechanism wouldn't be on our land so would involve working in partnership with other associated persons, we then become responsible for that structure too. We could fit something extra such as a collision beam onto the sides of the bridge but it wouldn't stop the impact.

    Whatever is done though has to be done in conjunction with the local highways authority.
     
  4. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    If anyone is in the area tomorrow evening, at 19:00 and 20:20 from Tunbridge Wells West 'Knowle' and 'Douglas' are hauling the dining train together, rare 100% steam hauled train in the evening. No need to pre-book if you fancy just coming for a train ride, I can sell tickets on board, just £5 per person if you come and find me and quote me from here, two trips to Eridge, 'Knowle' hauls towards Eridge, banked by 'Douglas' which then hauls the trains back to Tunbridge Wells West.
     
  5. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    I'm pretty sure the Broadway beam is attached to the bridge structure in some manner. It might be worth having a chat with @Breva who will know more
     
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  6. Avonside1972

    Avonside1972 New Member

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    Yes Please for two. Mark
     
  7. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Bit of an update, the past few weeks have been very busy for us.

    The visit of 'Knowle' was a great financial success for the railway and brought in people from all over the UK according to our booking system with was fantastic. This was closely followed by our Summer Diesel Gala last week which brought in just shy of 1,000 passengers and generated over £11,000 'profit' after all costs. The visiting Class 33 33002 'Sea King' is on hire until our Beer Festival 1st to 3rd October.

    'Sir Keith Park' is now operating every weekend in August whilst 'Douglas' handles the Thursday train services. Our DEMU 1317 has been back in service operating trains to the Purple timetable on Tuesday's and Wednesday's which are varying in their passenger numbers, although still bringing in an income stream.

    Due to the popularity of our dining trains we've had to add more in before we close on 31st October for the Polar Express season.
     
  8. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    Good to read about positive results! Glad that SKP is earning its keep....despite being a "Big Chuffer";)
     
  9. ady

    ady New Member

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    The diesel gala made some money too apparently.
     
  10. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Just over £11,000. That is after I've taken into account all the costs involved such as hire fees, mileage fees, haulage (transport was a very good price and helped as it was combined with Knowle), fuel, Eridge track inspections and all other costs involved in running an event like this.

    Combined with the Steam Up profit, it has paid for 75% of a rather large bill I have coming up shortly so the money isn't around for long!
     
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  11. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    We've had a very busy few weeks at the Spa Valley since my last post on here, the Bulleid Pacific has been out every weekend enabling more crews to be trained on the loco and the running of SKP has as always proven popular. Our mid-week services have been incredibly popular as well, with regular Afternoon Teas running on Thursday's which Douglas has happily handled.

    Over the August Bank Holiday just gone we ran our first Faulty Towers (yes it is spelt like that) dining experience which was a roaring success for us, this combined the concept of the already popular High Weald Belle Evening Dining train and brought Basil, Sybil and Manuel on board for added chaos, the next one of these trains in September is already sold out so they're ensuring we keep on ticking over.

    Next year our railway celebrates 25yrs of running trains (it actually happens on 21st December this year but we'll be running Polar trains then) so we're going to be running an event over the August Bank Holiday, which is close to when the railway re-opened to Groombridge back in 1997. Several plans are afoot to make this a special event to remember!
     
  12. A1X

    A1X Member

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    Blimey that means it's been 4 years since the 20th, I could have sworn that was less than that.
     
  13. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    A general update from our little railway in the corner of Tunbridge Wells...

    We've just held our first Model Railway Weekend which gave me an opportunity to exhibit my own layout 'Paybury' and a fellow volunteer the opportunity to display his two layouts. It was a very successful weekend for us, 1,035 visitors (130 of which were dining) paid a visit over the two days with plenty of attractions to see and do. The event made over £5,000 'profit' after operating costs/event expenses, although money never stays in a pot for long in the heritage railway world as there's always something cropping up that is unexpected or not part of our operating profit and loss system.

    I had a lovely day firing the Bulleid on Saturday 11th and despite the size of the loco and what many often perceive as my goodness that must eat coal, it doesn't. You can be extremely economical with it, running around with about 200psi to 220psi of steam is plenty for our line, test the valves once before going off shed and then plod the way through the day, given its size and what its pulling which ranges from 4-6 coaches you can make a fire up at Eridge and just watch the countryside go buy if you fancy it just working the injectors as required. As I've said to many others, I'm the guy that pays the bills and looks after our railways finances, if I'm saying its economical and not causing us any financial headaches, then it really is fine.

    Onwards to the rest of the month, we have another Faulty Towers (yes it is spelt like that) on 25th September, this is sold out and then the weekend after (1st to 3rd October) is our 10th Real Ale & Cider Festival. 'Sir Keith Park' will be out Friday to Sunday joined by 2890 on the Saturday & Sunday. If you're into the heritage diesels, 31430 and 33002 are operating throughout too and 33063 on the Friday & Saturday. The Real Ale & Cider Festival is run in association with West Kent CAMRA and really is one of our flagship events, this year we have 150 Real Ales, 30 Ciders and a Gin bar coming along for people to enjoy. This event will see the launch of the RMB after a large amount of work to enable it to enter service, the biggest element of this has involved replacing the wheel sets and repairs to the ends of the carriage, it will change colour over the next two years after further work is done on the body.

    Once the Beer Festival is behind us and Halloween (which is selling very well) has been and gone, the way the Polar Express will be knocking on the door and we're well on track for a sell out event by early November! This event is likely to be the most intensive operation since the line closed to passengers in the 80s, it'll keep 'Sir Keith Park' busy!

    If anyone has any questions about the Spa Valley or what we're up to please don't hesitate to ask. Perhaps I'm too open about what we do but I'd rather our members/volunteers knew the reality of running a railway rather than hiding anything, there's certain elements of the business I can't/wouldn't talk about but I'm pretty transparent about most things.
     
  14. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

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    Please keep on posting @Jonnie. It’s a breath of fresh air to have someone keeping us up to date on what’s going on. A pity some other Heritage Railways don’t take a leaf out of your book and be more informative. (Are you listening WSR?).
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
  15. desperado

    desperado New Member

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    +1
    Hear! Hear!
    Well Said!
    and similar ways of expressions of emphatic agreement with D1002.
     
  16. ady

    ady New Member

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    I have a question, hows the 207's Centre Car getting on?
     
  17. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    I too would like to thank Jonnie for his detailed contribution to this forum and this thread. His comments are eagerly anticipated and appreciated.
     
  18. ruddingtonrsh56

    ruddingtonrsh56 Member

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    I echo all the above comments - given that I now have in laws in Tunbridge Wells I think when we pay them a visit a trip to the Spa Valley must also be on the cards! Keep up the good work!
     
  19. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    Seconded, @Jonnie engaging with us mere mortals on here does rather make me feel I should pay a visit to the other SVR.
     
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  20. Jonnie

    Jonnie Member

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    Slowly but surely being honest, work has currently stopped due the RMB and our under overhaul TSO taking priority. We've lost part of the shed for this month due to the Model Railway event and the subsequent Beer Festival, likewise we'll loose more of it when Polar takes place.

    It is the intention to get the Centre Car in the shed in January and then finished in time for our 25th anniversary event over the August Bank Holiday 2022. The DEMU itself is in service and could go out as a 2-car train right now if we needed it to.
     
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