30th July-2nd August – Summer Diesel Gala Beer & Cider Festival 2015 (Tunbridge Wells, Kent) Preview

Address: Spa Valley Railway, West Station, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5QY (Website)

Entry Price/Session times:

Thu 30th July: TBC (£?)
Fri 31st July: TBC (£?)
Sat 1st August: TBC (£?)
Sun 2nd August: TBC (£?)

Tickets: Click here for more details.

Ciders/Perries: Around 6 ciders/perries will be available. The list is as follows:

Cider Made where? Type ABV % Notes
Wise Owl Cider  High Halden Medium Dry 6.00% Winner of the Best Cider or Perry in the Taste of Kent 2015 Awards
Gibbet Oak Perry Tenterden Medium 5.80% Silver Award in the CAMRA Kent Regional Cider and Perry Competition 2015
Turners Cider Marden Medium 6.00% Awarded Very Highly Commended in the Bath and West Show Cider Competition 2015.
Oakwood Farm Cider Robertsbridge Medium Dry 5.40% Voted Best Cider or Perry at the 2014 Spa Valley Railway Beer and Cider Festival.
Pembury Real Cider Pembury Medium Dry See barrel First year in production and very local to the Spa Valley!
Single Vision Cider Maidstone Sweet 5.20% Winner of many CAMRA awards at their festivals.

Event Information:


Tunbridge Wells West

• Real Ale will be on sale all three days in our Buffet Car ‘Emily’ along with hot and cold drinks. There will also be a range of hot food as well as the usual sandwiches and snacks.
• Yard and shed open for public viewing, currently a very rare occurrence.
• Sales stands including the Network South East Society, South East Locomotive Group and Bufferbeam Ltd.
• ‘Driver for a Tenner’ to the East/West Siding from our platform and return.
• Brake Van Rides with Class 10 No.D3489 ‘Colonel Tomline’ on Saturday and Sunday (see below).
• Class 10 drags into Tunbridge Wells West station on the Sunday.
• Viewing gallery at the end of the main platform.
• Station shop stocking a large variety of Diesel traction produce.
• DEMU shuttles with 1317 & 1133 to Groombridge on the Saturday.

High Rocks

• Access to the famous High Rocks or Tea Garden Lane which can provide great photographic opportunities.
• High Rocks Inn and Garden.
• A great place to watch the trains from the Inns garden.
• Please note that Real Ale & Shuttle Trains will not serve High Rocks.


• Re-furbished Old Station Building.
• Trains crossing on all three days plus terminating shuttles (please note, you can only change trains to catch the one you are passing if travelling towards Eridge)
• Rare track mileage in Groombridge carriage sidings at selected times through the gala.
• Refreshments available at the station.
• Groombridge Signal Box in use.
• DEMU service splitting on the Thursday like they did all those years ago!
• DEMU shuttles with 1317 & 1133 to Tunbridge Wells West on the Saturday.
• Final train of the Gala with a stock move, why not stay to the end and see the final bits we have to do?


• Mainline connections with Southern services to Central London, East Croydon, Oxted and Uckfield.
• Our very popular BBQ serving locally produced fare.
• Real Ale and Cider on sale in the Waiting Room all three days along with snacks, hot and cold drinks.
• Our brand new ice cream machine in action serving fantastic soft ice cream.
• ‘Driver for a Fiver’ in Eridge Bay.
• One visit to the ‘South of Eridge’ on Sunday morning.
• Locomotives detaching and arriving into Eridge Bay from the departing train.
• Engineers train to Eridge first thing Friday morning, the first time we’ve taken passengers on a train of this type over this part of the route.

As mentioned above our very popular BBQ will be making a return once again at Eridge over all three days of the event. On offer will be locally produced burgers (with onions and cheese) sausages (with onions in a roll) and also bacon rolls. These will be the very popular Burgers & Sausages from our 2014 events sourced from a local butchers. Joining the BBQ at Eridge this year will be our brand new Blue Ice Ice Cream machine serving soft ice cream all weekend!



Our award winning on train bar will be open all three days from the first trains departure to the last trains arrival, this includes the Friday and Saturday evening ‘Real Ale Beerex’ trains. ‘Kate’ will be open for the sale of Real Ale and Cider, sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and other light refreshments during the day.


Our ex BIG TSO(RB) from unit No.2254 (Buffet Brighton, B for Buffet and IG the LB&SCR telegraphic code for Brighton) will be open on all three days serving, bacon and sausage rolls (all until noon) as well as limited Real Ale, hot & cold drinks and light snacks.


Fish & Chip and Curry Express

On both the Friday and Saturday nights our well established ‘Real Ale Beerex’ trains will be in action along with our Curry Express on the Friday and extremely popular Fish and Chip Supper on the Saturday. Both are available to pre-book before the event as supplies will be very limited on the day and cannot be guaranteed.

Friday Evening Curry Express
Freshly prepared Mild or Hot Chicken Curry served to you with with Rice, Naan Bread, Papadam and Mango Chutney.
Prices held the same from 2014!
Adult £15
Child £10
If you have booked a Day Rover ticket you can add on a Curry Express Meal Ticket for just £10!
Please note if you just wish to travel a Friday Day Rover ticket covers all evening trains however you will not be able to dine with us unless you buy the Day Rover ticket holder Curry Express ticket.

Click here to book tickets (including those who hold a Day Rover) and for further details!

Saturday Evening Fish and Chip Supper
Our very popular Fish and Chips from the award winning Downtown Fish Bar in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Prices held the same from 2014!
Adult £15
Child £10
If you have booked a Day Rover Ticket you can add on a Fish & Chip Meal Ticket for just £7.50.
Please note if you just wish to travel a Saturday Day Rover ticket covers all evening trains however you will not be able to dine with us unless you buy the Day Rover ticket holder Fish & Chip Special ticket.

Click here to book tickets (including those who hold a Day Rover) and for further details!

The Real Ale ‘Beerex’ Special

Visiting for the evening only? Its just £5 to travel from 19:00!

On both evenings, our award winning bar car ‘Kate’ will be open serving locally sourced Real Ale and Cider, tickets for travel only on the ‘Real Ale Beerex’ trains is just £5.00 and includes three return trips to Eridge from Tunbridge Wells as well as access to Bar Car ‘Kate’. These tickets will be valid from 19:00 on the day and are for those who do not hold a valid Day Rover ticket.

The term ‘Beerex’ comes from the days of mainline diesel traction hauling services all over the country where certain tours were titled with ‘ex’ at the end (hence ‘Loadex’ later on). It is a very popular term now used at heritage lines to describe a ‘Real Ale’ train at a Diesel Gala.


The timetables for all four days of this event can now be dowloaded at the bottom of this page or by clicking here.

Tunbridge Wells West Station will be open at the following times, the Ticket Office may open slightly later:
Thursday 30th – 09:30 (First train 10:10)
Friday 31st – 07:30 (First train 08:00)
Saturday 1st – 07:30 (First train 07:55)
Sunday 2nd – 07:30 (First train 08:00)

Timetable Highlights

• English Electric Top and Tail Real Ale Train on the Friday with D8098 and 37254.
• Sulzer on the Saturday night Real Ale Train with D7612.
• First ever diesel hydraulic to visit the Spa Valley in action in the form of D9539.
• Engineers Trains on the Friday – You can travel in the London Transport Brake Van.
• Late evening ‘Real Ale’ trains on both the Friday and Saturday.
• Rare Track trip on all three mornings and mid-afternoon on the Friday & Saturday.
• Class 10 trip to Groombridge on the Sunday afternoon.
• Brake Van Rides at Tunbridge Wells West (see above).
• Unique Sussex DEMU 1317 in action 30yrs on from when it formed the last train on the line, joined by Class 205 DEMU 1133 from the Lavender Line too!
• Queen Mary Brake Van on Set A and C all weekend (this being the Real Ale Train both nights too)
• Double DEMUs on the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
• Early morning trains each day with either the Engineers Train, DEMUs or a short Branch train.
• DEMU day on the Thursday working in multiple and independently.


These are Advanced Tickets which are now available to purchase below, a discount will be available until July 26th 2015, you do not need to pre-book, tickets will be on sale throughout the gala. If you wish to add on evening meals to your Day Rover Tickets then please see further up this page. 
This is the cheapest way to buy your tickets for this event.

Adult Day Rover – £19
Child Day Rover – £10
Adult 2 Day Rover – £29
Child 2 Day Rover – £18
Adult 3 Day Rover – £39
Child 3 Day Rover – £25

Standard fares of £11 for adults & £5.50 for children apply on Thursday 30th July.

A Day Rover Ticket is valid for travel on the date shown from the start of service to the end, you DO NOT need to purchase an additional ticket to travel on evening services.

There will be no other fares available over the event, nor is any form of discount available such as HRA passes, reciprocal travel or BR Privs. Please note that Thursday 30th July will be our standard fares, the ‘Rare Track Excursion’ will be a seperate ticket and must be purchased to board this service.


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