Spa Valley loop officially closed!

LINE closure notices were a market feature of the 1950s and especially the 60s under the Beeching Axe, but thankfully they are a rarity in the heritage sector.

An exception came on Thursday, August 2 when a genuine pre-closure ‘last train’ ran on a section of the Spa Valley Railway.

Diverging from the railway’s main line at Groombridge Junction, a length of both the Up and Down lines of the Ashurst loop (first closed in 1969) were relayed in the late-1990s to initially form carriage sidings, and were later used for general rolling stock storage.

Class 207 DEMU No. 1317 forms the last train on the Ashurst loop. DAVID STAINES/SVR

The land was owned by a supporter of the railway, but following a change of ownership new landowners wish to have the formation back for their own use, and as a result the track will be removed.

The last time a passenger train ran the length of both lines of the spur was the 1pm departure from Tunbridge Wells West on that day. Class 207 DEMU No. 1317 formed the last passenger working.

All track visible (right) will be lifted and the land returned to private use.

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