Spa Valley Railway

Originally uploaded by fred pipes
I didn't have too many expectations for the Spa Valley Railway, at Tunbridge Wells. It's quite short, with mainly smallish locos, but I was in for a delightful day out. It was on the 29 bus all the way, but I'd just missed a train so after a quick look round, popped into Sainsbury's next door, to buy a shirt and pie for supper. As I returned, LMS 0-6-0T Class 3F Jinty no. 47493 (must try to find out why they are called jinties!) was pulling the train into the station. I took some snaps of it, but was disappointed when it returned to the shed. We were to be pulled by a diesel BR Bo-Bo Class 33 no. 33063 'RJ Mitchell'!! As we set off, however it became clear there was a steam loco on the back, Peckett 0-6-0ST works loco no. 1636 'Fonmon' (see a video here). The day was marked as a gala celebrating ten years since High Rocks station opened. I went to the end of the line at Groomsbridge then alighted at High Rocks on the way back. The Mayor and Mayoress of Royal Tunbridge Wells were being snapped next to the loco and a motley band was playing in the gardens of the inn, so I found the entrance to the mysterious High Rocks and had a quick look. It was one of those Victorian playgrounds, populated by strange looking sandstone rocks, some with ancient graffiti carved into them. I didn't fancy the aerial walkways so returned to the pub. No real ale on offer so I wandered back to the platform, to catch a wedding party arriving on the next train, powered this time by the jinty! So it was back to Groomsbridge then to TW, where I had a cuppa and a train biscuit whilst waiting for my 5.15 bus home.

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