Leek and Rudyard Railway

Driver Experiences

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. You will drive and fire a coal fired steam railway locomotive pulling your own 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.

Driver courses are available on any day when public trains are not running; these are the white days on our timetable.

Our Days are for full or half day and for a maximum of two participants (although one person is usual) 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 endeavor.

The trainee drivers on previous courses have praised the quality of instruction and courses being tailored 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 it's 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 four return trips on the footplate. Bring your camera, as there are great photo opportunities. The public cannot travel on these trains 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 it's 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 suit 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 suit / overalls and wear some boots or old shoes. Do bring your camera / video / phone. There are plenty of photo opportunities for family & friends.

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.


Email us at driver@rlsr.org or print the engine driver booking form. Complete the form and post it to us at the address shown on the form. You can pay by bank transfer or Paypal (details will be provided once we have received your booking form). If time is short to the special day, please ring us and we will do our best to get it all to you in time.We always send the engine driver experience details and, gift voucher to the person who books the course.


The prices for the courses are:

Afullday driver course for one person costs £250 

A half day driver course for one person costs £175 

An evening driver course for one person costs £175

(If you wish to share the course with another person we will discuss this with you when booking the course)

We provide a pair of engine driver gloves at the railway and will send you a course information booklet for participants of our driver experience courses. Courses once purchased cannot be refunded but are transferable.

To discuss courses or make a booking or fix a date please call the General Manager on 07734 022164 or email us at driver@rlsr.org