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image credit: Spa Valley Railway, Govia Thameslink

Passengers travelling to London, affected by an emergency closure of the Uckfield line this weekend, can use their tickets on the steam and diesel heritage Spa Valley Railway at Eridge to reach alternative services from Tunbridge Wells

The scheduled Spa Valley Railway service will supplement a direct replacement bus service Southern will have in place between Eridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Southern Rail’s community partner the Spa Valley Railway has made the offer at no additional cost to Southern ticket holders who hold a ticket from the Uckfield route to London.

The Uckfield line is closed this weekend for Network Rail to carry out emergency work to shore up a landslip at Edenbridge. Read press release here.

The Spa Valley route is likely to be an option only for enthusiasts looking for a unique experience as Spa Valley trains cannot connect with the timing of the Southern two-hourly service operating between Uckfield and Ashurst. They will also take longer than the rail replacement buses to reach Tunbridge Wells West and passengers will then have to walk 15-minutes to reach the mainline station for Southeastern trains to London.

Southern Customer Services Director Chris Fowler said: “This is a fabulous gesture by our community partner, the Spa Valley Railway. While it may really only provide a viable alternative for London-bound passengers travelling from Eridge, it still provides the possibility of a unique experience.”

Johnnie Pay of Spa Valley Railway, who is fireman on board the engine, said: “We’re delighted to be offering our steam train services to Southern customers to help out this weekend.”

Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, Shaun King, said: “Short notice work is never easy for passengers but in this case it’s great to see all aspects of the railway coming together to help people with their journeys in such difficult circumstances. I’m sorry for the disruption but without doing this emergency work we could face losing the railway for much longer than two days.”