On the occasion of my birthday we visited the Spa Valley Railway
1 I chose this railway because my birthday almost coincided with the Model Railway Weekend
3 The first thing of note was this LEGO exhibit
4 Although I do appreciate the effort and enjoyment that go into this, it is not my sort of thing.
5 That's better, a proper gauge O diorama
6 Nice note
7 Some impressive weathering
12 Sorry for the insufficient depth of field in the photo. I had to make do with my (excellent) Samsung A52 smartphone camera and the lighting conditions were note favourbale.
15 I really loved this Bembridge diorama, simple, well detailed and absolutely atmospheric!
26 60163 "Tornado" had an oopsy
27 I loved this depot scene
29 As can be seen from this photo, the model railway show was a very cramped affair, stalls and layout being very close together and people thronging to get anywhere. We did not stay very long, the tightness of it all got on my nerves.
31 Aaah fresh air! Away from the crampiness inside. I visited the SVR before in 2011. I talked to the volunteers back then and that was truly the highlight of the day. I was not very impressed by the railway itself. Now 11 years later the SVR has gained a lot of attention in the heritage railway world but again the whole entourage failed to impress me. I can't really say why, it just lacks something.
33 We took a diesel ride up and down form Tunbridge Wells to Eridge. We tried to catch the steam train but we obviously made the wrong decisions. Oh well, we enjoyed the day.
39 The scenery was stunning though
42 Halt and train crossing at Groombridge
44 Remarkable, the loop for the train crossing is outside the station, the station itself is single track. So the steam train had to halt before entering the station to let the opposing train pass, then pull up into the station and let the passengers in and out. It seems like a cumbersome arrangement to me.
48 At some point the heritage line joins the regular operational line to Eridge
50 Eridge is a non-descript affair. No doubt it is priceless for the SVR to have a mainline connection but for the visitors it is just a place to get off the train, walk around, wonder why they are here at all and get on the train again to return to Tunbridge at the first opportunity.
52 Admittedly Eridge does sport some nice Victrorians touches
55 The line on the right is the still operational mainline with a 1 train per hour frequency, increasing to 2 trains per hour on peak hours.
60 Eridge, centre of the world, at least on this map, was once part of an extensive network
62 Although I am not exactly enchanted by the British taste for design (but beauty is in the eye of the beholder) I loved the sound of the engine, periodically revving up and idling down.
63 We returned to Groombridge, about halfway the line
75 Train crossing coming up, and as said: train stopping before the station and waiting until the opposing train leaves the station.
80 After 1317 pulled out we took the next train to Tunbridge and visited the town
81 To conclude this album a shot of the original station building of Tunbridge Wells which has been repurposed in such a way that recommisioning as a heritage station is virtually impossible. But never say never. In short about the SVR: if you are in the area anyway: visit it, if you have to drive many, many miles to get there: reconsider.