Spa Valley Railway 25th Anniversary Gala Stall

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The Spa Valley Railway in Kent celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary this weekend, and we were there too!

The railway opened to Groombridge in 1997 and the subsequent 25 years of volunteer input and community support has helped the railway grow to a 5.5 mile railway with 3 stations (plus one halt) and a fleet of heritage locomotives maintained by a skilled team of volunteer engineers.

We ran our stall over 3 days of their 25th Anniversary Gala Weekend, and this is hopefully the beginning of a long relationship between us and one of our favourite local steam railways. Our stall on Groombridge Station platform was very well received by passengers who stepped off the train, local villagers who dropped by to have a look and cyclists who bought an ice cream from the kiosk alongside us. I am reflecting on all the lovely interactions I had with people, all the compliments I had on my items and how hospitable the railway staff were.

The picture shows visiting locomotive ‘City Of Wells’ pulling into the station, with our stall just underneath the white gazebo. Incidentally, the locomotive is normally resident at the East Lancashire Railway, which demonstrates how the heritage railway sector works together to organise events and help each other. I would also say that if you run a small stall, think outside the box – your local heritage museum or community asset might be able to accommodate you too, and by being there and buying tea or making a donation as a percentage of your takings, you are also supporting them, which means everyone wins. We will certainly be back – I have booked us in for the Model Rail event at the end of September!

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