This page and contents last changed on Sunday 1 August 2021
(the Twitter feed’s contents below may have been modified more recently)

Saturday 7 August 2021: HDL Sussex & Kent Explorer railtour from Eastbourne to Tonbridge

This will be our first railtour for 18 months. In view of the effects of the pandemic, we have planned a local excursion which avoids passengers being inside the train for very long periods of time.

The day’s outing will start and finish at Eastbourne, and our six-coach train will operate 4 separate journeys between Eastbourne/Hastings and Tonbridge, as shown on our leaflet. The intention is that customers from further afield can join the train at Tonbridge. Customers are welcome to travel with us for certain sections of the tour, or for the whole day. At both Tonbridge and Hastings the train will be withdrawn from service and shunted to sidings for servicing/cleaning.

This outing will be calling at Robertsbridge station on 4 occasions: tours of the Rother Valley Railway station, and refreshments, will be available there.

Southern Railway is offering a £5 advance single fare on its Victoria – Eastbourne service, which may be of interest to London-based railtour-goers.


Should Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, we envisage the following precautions for the protection of our customers and volunteer staff:

We are not offering a Club Class service on this trip. An at-seat trolley service will be provided throughout the train.


Details and booking-instructions may be found in the leaflet, which can be filled in on your computer prior to printing (this helps ensure legibility and accuracy); we encourage you to use this method. Fares are also displayed below.

Finalised timings have been published. There are some differences of a few minutes in a few cases, compared to the previously published provisional timings. The leaflet has also been updated to reflect the changes.

We operate a print-at-home ticketing system: if you have use of a printer, please don’t send an SAE: instead, your tickets will be emailed to you; this is to reduce the workload of key HDL staff and to avoid the worry of tickets being lost in the post.

Tickets are sold subject to our Code of Conduct, and adherence to the Covid-19 precautions described on this webpage. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Smoking is not permitted on our train. Bicycles cannot be carried, except folding bicycles with prior approval. Please consult our Accessibility Policy.

Standard Class fares Eastbourne ↔ Hastings £25 single / £35 return
Eastbourne / Hastings ↔ Tonbridge £30 single / £40 return
All day / more than two trips £50
Motor Coach Supplement to any fare above £7

If you cannot view PDF files, or the given method of booking is not convenient to you, please email us or ring 07942 906311 and we will provide further details and/or post you a paper copy.

Update: Sunday 1 August 2021

The finalised timings have been published: please check these as the afternoon trip’s paths are slightly later than previously indicated.

Seating remains available in all areas of the train. Please initially contact us by email or phone as per the leaflet, in preference to sending us anything in the post at this stage.

We appreciate that some customers may find it difficult to commit 100% in advance during these uncertain times; subject to available seating, which we expect to be sufficient, we should be able to accommodate customers who turn up on the day. It would be helpful (but not essential) if you would phone or email us to let us know that you will be coming. Please board the CEP coach (C) in this case.

Updates relating to The Sussex & Kent Explorer railtour are given via an extract from our Twitter feed, below.

Tweets from HDL about our next railtour:

Plans for future railtours

We had outlined plans for railtours during 2020 as shown below, prior to the advent of the pandemic:

Very tentative dates for your diary

In addition to any railtour advertised above, we are considering the following idea(s). Please be aware that these are extremely tentative proposals and anything shown here is merely ‘pencilled-in’ in the most provisional fashion:

Until properly advertised, these outline plans are unavoidably subject to cancellation, modification or change of date (except where stated to the contrary).

To ensure everyone has an fair opportunity to make bookings, no bookings or reservations will be accepted nor entertained for any outing shown in this panel.

Further information and resources

Code of Conduct

It is a condition of holding a ticket for any outing on our train that passengers abide by the letter and spirit of our Code of Conduct (updated January 2021).

Leaning out of windows

We continue to endeavour to keep our passengers safe by not allowing them to lean out of our train’s windows. This notice (updated January 2021) contains further information.

Accessibility Policy

HDL’s 1950s-built train may pose difficulties to certain classes of user: our Accessibility Policy describes what these are and how they may affect users.

Folding bicycles

It may be possible for you to bring your folding bicycle on the Hastings DEMU, with prior written approval; our guidelines on carriage of folding bikes will help you to determine your bike’s suitability for carriage.

Railtour Archive

We can recommend a dip into the HDL Railtour archive, which contains details of all the previous “days out” which HDL has operated to date; you may also find interesting our YouTube Channel which contains 32 cab-ride videos featuring outings during 2016–18.