Spa Valley Railway diesel gala, 6/8/05

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Galvanize

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8 Jun 2005
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South East london
My Dad parked the car near Tunbridge Wells West in good time to catch the 11:15 to Groombridge, However, he had to buy our "Rover" tickets which would normally be £5 for Children and £6 for Adults. But today, it was different, the tariff saying that's £8 for Children and £10 for Adults!

Once Dad had finished buying the tickets, our train had arrived in the shape of 207017 (1317) plus the haulage which was 73140 (E6047) that looked really smart in Blue. 11:15 came and we duly set off for Groombridge, stopping only at High Rocks, a delightful station in the garden of a pub/inn.

At Groombridge, I alighted to get some photos (was hoping to do some lineside but couldn't get to any of the good places I saw :cry: ) while my Dad stayed on 1317 for the running round of E6047 prior to heading back to Tunbridge Wells West. I got heads out all the way back to Tunbridge Wells, in the first carriage of the Thumper. Once Back at Tunbridge Wells, a class 10 Shunter (ex Felixstowe) hauled 1 Mark 2 BSO and 4 Mark 1 SKs out of the station, to allow the Thumper to shunt into the siding, and for 09004 to couple up to the rear. At the same time, E6047 was released into the loop at Tunbridge Wells West while the top and tailed Shunter service came into the Platform.

I got a seat in the first coach (and a window behind the class 10 :)) and we headed (slowly) to Birchden Junction. Beyond Groombridge, it's quite scenic because you see the fields, the trees and the sandstone rocks with the rock climbers waving! At Birchden, I could hear a Southern class 171 speed past (behind the trees) on it's way to Oxted. Then at Groombridge, the class 10 detatched (because there are no run round facilities at Birchden, the locomotive was used as the pilot-all will be explained soon enough ;) ) and we set off for Tunbridge Wells West once again. The next train was due to be a class 33 crompton, but I needed a drink so I headed for the ex 4BIG buffet car on site and bought a bottle of coca cola for 90p (Whaat? I can buy Coca Cola at the corner shop near my house for 77p, a 500ml bottle. On with the story...)

Since there was 1 minute until the crompton left, I decided to let it go so I could look round Tunbridge Wells west. I saw: The model railway, a cab face from a class 207, 33063 being repainted (well sanded down and a bit of undercoat applied) and E6047 preparing to form the next train.
No sooner had I looked round the shed, 33065 was back again, so I walked up the platform (in order to get a good window at the front but was beaten to it :cry: :( ). E6047 coupled to 33065, which then coupled to our train, and yet another trip to Birchden. I soon felt could after doing so much EO, so I joined my Dad again in one of the SKs. At Groombridge, the 73 and the 33 ran round to the rear, while the class 10 coupled up at the front to take the train to Birchden. The journey back to Tunbridge Wells was uneventful as far as High Rocks where there was class 33 thrash, it was brilliant thrash, up hill to Tunbridge Wells West! After cabbing the class 33 at Tunbridge Wells west (it was static), me and Dad went home.

What a good day it was!
 
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