Have you ever wanted to drive a steam engine?

We’re now offering Footplate Experience courses where you will be guided through how to drive an engine and have a go for yourself.

We run over the full line and pull a complete service train, rather than just driving the loco only..

The  experience will include:

  • an introductory booklet
  • safety and technical session (classroom)
  • guided tour of the engine
  • a 9 mile trip firing the engine.
  • a 9 mile trip driving the engine
  • a year’s free membership
  • a certificate of participation
  • spaces on the train for your family
  • choice of AM or PM session

– Only £425.00

Fireman Roger Sinar takes over the tuition, beginning with a concise but enlightening demystification of the controls and gauges.  For a newcomer, learning about the fireman’s roles will be quite an eye-opener.  Shovelling aside, pupils will gain a good understanding of what’s involved, a more in depth knowledge of the engine’s workings, and maybe get to hear some priceless anecdotes too.

Richard Hampson

Sub Editor, Steam Railway Magazine


Please make your booking and choose your preferred date.  We will contact you to confirm your place on the course or discuss alternative dates.  If it’s a gift – no problem, book the place and we can arrange the date with the lucky recipient after.
Saturday 7th March 2020 – SOLD OUT

Saturday 14th March 2020 – SOLD OUT

Saturday 21st March 2020

Saturday 28th March 2020

Friday 3rd April 2020

Friday 17th April 2020 – GOODS TRAIN EXPERIENCE

Friday 1st May 2020

Friday 15th May 2020

Friday 29th May 2020

Friday 5th June 2020

Friday 19th June 2020 – GOODS TRAIN EXPERIENCE 

Friday 26th June 2020

Friday 11th September 2020

Friday 18th September 2020

Friday 25th September 2020 – GOODS TRAIN EXPERIENCE

We’re now taking bookings for 2020 – the dates will be released soon and will be put on this page as soon as they are available.  If you are purchasing a gift you are welcome to purchase a Footplate Experience in advance and we can agree on the date at a later time.  Typically they will be on Saturdays (early season) or Fridays at other points during the year.

Make a full day of it on the railway! You can also tag on a Signal Box Experience either before or after your Footplate Experience.  Spend half a day in one of our signal boxes and learn the ropes as a signalman.  You’ll experience:

  • safety briefing
  • introduction to the box, its levers and indicators
  • get a loco on or off the train at the start or end of the day
  • controlling the departure and arrival of trains at Embsay Station
  • certificate of participation

If you’d like to do this, then visit our Signal Box Experience page and make a booking for the same date as your Footplate Experience.



Choose from the dates indicated above.

Unique opportunity

Not only will you experience the thrill of firing and driving a steam engine under expert tuition, but you’ll also have the opportunity to do this with our unique goods train trundling along behind you!  (although we reserve the right to substitute the goods train for passenger stock if the goods train is not available).


There will be a cosy Guard’s van at the rear in which your guests may travel.  If the weather’s inclement, there’s a coal fired stove to keep your guests warm and dry.  First class it is not, but it’ll be an atmospheric journey to remember!

You can use our generic Contact Form if you have a specific enquiry.  Please note all participants must read, understand and agree to be bound by the terms & conditions.

Hi Doreen,

I would just like to say what a wonderful time we had on the Footplate Experience last Friday! Everyone we met involved with the railway was really pleasant and helpful, and made us all feel really welcome – from yourself on the admin side, through to John Beesley and the wonderful  Roger Sinar (I could not believe he started work in 1955!) on the footplate, to our station master / guard and the lady in the cafe, who gave us tea and coffee, and befriended our dogs!  The driving / firing experience was superb, and the instruction excellent.  I could do it all again in September!  It’s a little bit of a trek for us from Tyneside, but I am sure we will be back to some of your other events.  Whilst I got to say “thank you” on the day to John and Roger, do please pass on our thanks to everyone else involved!  I would recommend the experience to anyone with an interest in steam railways.

Best regards,

Ian and Mary
(+ Portia and Maebh, the terriers!)


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