Leek and Rudyard Railway

Driver Experiences

The opportunity to Drive your own Steam Train with our Driver Experience Courses at Leek and Rudyard Railway - the ideal present or gift!

Have you or a loved one ever wanted to drive a steam engine? We offer the experience of a lifetime with the opportunity to drive and fire a steam locomotive with your very 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.

About the Driver Experience Day

Our Experiences are for Full or Half Days and for a maximum of two participants (although one person is usual) making them a great birthday gift or present.

Each 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 day’s work. Starting at 9am, a Full Day or Morning course begins with you helping to light up the engine and prepare it for the day’s serviceby cleaning it, oiling round and raising steam. On Afternoon and Evening courses the engine will be in steam ready for you to take over and begin with the process of getting it oiled up and ready to use. This is where you will learn how the theory works in practice and how the parts of the engine work.

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 up the line 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 traineesyou 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 Full Day course you will have 4 return trips on the footplate. After preparing the engine we will embark on the first 2 trips. We will then break for lunch and continue in the afternoon with a further 2 trips and disposal of the train.

A shorter half day course can be booked if time is limited with 2 return trips.

The aim of the day is to enjoy yourselves and the course will be tailored to a pace you are comfortable with. Morning Courses begin at 9am with lighting up the engine, whereas Afternoon Courses starting at 1pm and involve disposing of the train at the end of the course.

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.

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.

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. Being a miniature railway means our courses are not as physically demanding as courses on full size engines making it more accessible to all. Some have enjoyed it so much that they have become volunteers so they can repeat the experience.

A voucher valid for 12 months is provided with each booking. Please let us know when booking if it's a gift as we can send the pack to the booker or recipient on request. We can fix a date when booking or leave it for the recipient to arrange it to suit them. There is no upper age limit but we have a minimum age limit of 13 for anyone taking the courses.

What’s provided and what you need to bring:

We provide complimentary hot drinks but suggest the course participant and family bring a packed lunch on a full day course. We also ask you to bring a boiler suit / overalls and wear some boots or old shoes. Do bring your camera / video / phone as there are plenty of photo opportunities for family & friends.

We will send you a pack for participants of the course which includes the course information booklet, gift certificate, 2 complimentary tickets and our leaflet.

We also provide a pair of engine driver gloves at the railway.

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 email or 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 unless requested otherwise.


The prices for the courses are:

A full day driver course for one person costs £300

A half day driver course for one person costs £200

An evening driver course for one person costs £180

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

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

Courses once purchased cannot be refunded but are transferable.

Booking Forms

Apologies but we are not currently taking new bookings for driver courses