Drive a Steam Train Experience Day

Drive a steam train on a Steam Engine Driver Experience Course - The ideal present or gift

Learn to drive a steam railway engine on a magical steam train trip

Learn how to drive a real steam train. You will drive and fire a coal fired steam railway locomotive pulling a private train.  You and/or a friend or partner can fulfil the dream of becoming an engine driver. Your family or friends are welcome to come along for the fun.

Our Days are for full or half day and for a maximum of two participants (although one person is normal) and are great  birthday gift or present. The course  starts with a safety briefing so that you understand the basic safe operation of the railway and steam locomotives. Then it's your turn to help prepare the engine for the days work which means cleaning it, oiling round and raising steam. This is where you will learn how the theory works in practice and how the parts of the engine work. You do not need to know how a steam engine works before starting the course. Our trains are real coal fired half sized narrow gauge steam engines.  You will concentrate on learning new skills and having fun rather than on physical endeavour.

The trainee drivers on previous courses have praised the quality of instruction and personal tailoring to match their specific needs. Our one to one approach means that we can offer a high quality experience that is fun and interesting. Some have enjoyed it so much that they have become volunteers so they can repeat the experience.

Once steam is raised on the engine we will couple up to a train and start the most exciting part of the day. On the first trip you will be asked to fire the engine to keep up the steam pressure and to learn the layout of the railway. If there are two trainees you will take it in turns with the person not on the engine learning the job of guard before swapping roles for the next trip. After you have acted as fireman its time to swap sides of the cab and take the regulator and drive the train on the three mile return trip.

On the full day course you will have at least four return trips on the footplate.  You should bring your camera as there are great photo opportunities. The public cannot travel on these trains for safety reasons but up to 6 family members can travel free on all our courses.

A shorter half day course can be booked if time is limited with two return trips. The aim of the day is to enjoy yourselves and the course will be tailored to a pace you are comfortable with.

A gift voucher valid for 12 months is always provided. Please let us know when booking if its a gift although we always send all information direct to the purchaser. We can fix a date when booking or leave it for the recipient to arrange it to suite themselves. There is no upper age limit but we have a minimum age limit of 13 for anyone taking the courses.

About the Driver Experience Day

We provide complimentary hot drinks but suggest the course participant and family bring a packed lunch. We also ask you to bring a boiler suite/ overall and wear some boots or old shoes. Do bring your camera or video. There are plenty of photo opportunities for family & friends. Our international reputation meant the latest overseas visitors came especially from Thailand.

Special Driver needs?

We have welcomed many people to our courses with a variety of special requirements or needs and they have had a great day with us. We have a 'can do' attitude to solving problems so please call to discuss how we can make the day with us great. We assisted a couple where the lady proposed as part of the course. He said YES!! and one the other way round where she said YES!!

We have run some very successful group courses with 6 people using two trains. Please contact us to discuss the options


Ring  01995 672280 or email us at    

Print the engine driver booking form available on this link.   Then click on Back at the top left of your screen to return to this page. Then complete the form and post it to us at the address shown on the form.  You can pay by debit or credit card using Paypal on the link we can provide or post a cheque.

If time is short to the special day ring us and we will do our best to get it all too you in time.

We always send the engine driver experience details , gift voucher etc to the person who books the course      

Some Comments from past participants:

Please note that prices were last revised in January 2011. A full day driver course for one person costs £225 inclusive of VAT. Prices are currently subject to review

A half day driver course for one person costs £160 inclusive of VAT. (

A full day driver course for two people costs £130 each inclusive of VAT ( i.e. £260 for 2 people

We now include a pair of engine driver gloves and a course information booklet for participants of our Footplate experience courses.You can use your credit or debit card to buy the course using Paypal.  You don't need a Paypal account and there is no processing charge.

To arrange to book and pay for a new course please email the Leek & Rudyard Railway who will be doing the courses  at :


You have the sole use of the railway (unless you choose to share with a person you know).

Family and friends are welcome to ride the train while you drive.You progress from cleaner to engine driver in one shift.

Courses once purchased cannot be refunded but are transferable.

Available Dates

These are available midweek throughout the year except in August. There are also plenty of midweek  dates from September and weekends from November.

To  discuss courses or make a booking or fix a date please email or ring 01995 672280

Possible dates

Driver courses run when public trains don’t. These are the White days on the timetable. Click here to see these days

Email us at to see if the day you want is free

Telephone - Rudyard Station  01538 306704

Copyright (c)  rlsr 2015 . Registered in England 4056499

steam engine No.6 Excalibur


‘a superb day',  ' we learned much more that we would have on a full size engine'

‘Richard is an excellent teacher and extremely patient',   'We had a super day' 'great fun'

'Thank you for that wonderful time that my husband and I had '

'our instructor had been extremely helpful and friendly throughout'

'The railway is wonderful and I had a fantastic time'  'I will certainly be back'

'We had a great day on Saturday' ' I have no hesitation in recommending it'

The feed back on our courses is consistently excellent.

Engine driver oiling round after taking water from the tank Pendragon is used along with others for drive a steam train days Driver Watches the track ahead Some of the steam engines used for driver days at Rudyard Trains run in the snow at Rudyard Lake