Driving a Steam Engine Experience

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joke2711

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7 Oct 2013
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Hi Forum Members,

We are looking for a driving steam engine experience as a present.
Do you have any recommendations as to the best experiences and where you can purchase (direct preferably rather than experience site).
We have no limitations on time and any location would be considered however we are NW England resident.

Look forward to suggestions and thank you in anticipation of replies.
 
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Steamie Boxes

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At this current point in time, there are no driver experiences available due to obvious reasons. But when they eventually restart, I would suggest KWVR or ELR.
 

Flying Phil

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A bit further away is the Great Central Railway - details on their website.
 

Simon11

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I did mine at the talyllyn Railway and was such a fantastic experience with friendly crew!

With smaller sized trains, it made it easier to get more hands on and the train is yours for the day with family welcome to travel on your train! Two trips up the line, help with preparing the engine and a lovely lunch.

There are also other cheaper options such as footplate rides: https://www.talyllyn.co.uk/experiences/talyllyn
 
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Dr Hoo

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I was given an 'experience' on the 15-inch gauge Sherwood Forest Railway as a birthday present.

The best thing was that the party had the whole set-up to itself so there were lots of opportunities for family photography, taking them on a trip 'myself' (supervised, obviously) and just generally the chance to do the whole thing, including watering and a bit of shunting.

I would strongly also advise providing/reading a book about 'how to drive a steam locomotive' first, so that the driver has some basic idea that there will be things like gauge glasses and injectors as well as a need to handle the regulator, brake, cut-off/reverser and cylinder drain cocks in very quick succession with only two hands!

It was a fantastic experience and succeeded in instilling enough knowledge that I was able to accept an offer to drive a rather different locomotive on another line over a year later and it all came flooding back.

Hope it goes well. :)
 

Cowley

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I was given an 'experience' on the 15-inch gauge Sherwood Forest Railway as a birthday present.

The best thing was that the party had the whole set-up to itself so there were lots of opportunities for family photography, taking them on a trip 'myself' (supervised, obviously) and just generally the chance to do the whole thing, including watering and a bit of shunting.

I would strongly also advise providing/reading a book about 'how to drive a steam locomotive' first, so that the driver has some basic idea that there will be things like gauge glasses and injectors as well as a need to handle the regulator, brake, cut-off/reverser and cylinder drain cocks in very quick succession with only two hands!

It was a fantastic experience and succeeded in instilling enough knowledge that I was able to accept an offer to drive a rather different locomotive on another line over a year later and it all came flooding back.

Hope it goes well. :)

That sounds brilliant. Sometimes avoiding the premier league stuff can lead to something a bit more personal.
We got my dad a mornings instruction on driving a tram on the Seaton Tramway. It was reasonably cheap and really enjoyable as well as very interesting.
 

ac6000cw

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I was given an 'experience' on the 15-inch gauge Sherwood Forest Railway as a birthday present.

The best thing was that the party had the whole set-up to itself so there were lots of opportunities for family photography, taking them on a trip 'myself' (supervised, obviously) and just generally the chance to do the whole thing, including watering and a bit of shunting.

I would strongly also advise providing/reading a book about 'how to drive a steam locomotive' first, so that the driver has some basic idea that there will be things like gauge glasses and injectors as well as a need to handle the regulator, brake, cut-off/reverser and cylinder drain cocks in very quick succession with only two hands!

It was a fantastic experience and succeeded in instilling enough knowledge that I was able to accept an offer to drive a rather different locomotive on another line over a year later and it all came flooding back.

Hope it goes well. :)
I've done 'steam driving experience' four times as part of a group of people - on the Great Central, North Norfolk and twice at Bressingham Steam & Gardens (which is mostly narrow gauge plus a quite short bit of standard gauge).

I definitely agree that the smaller stuff is more fun - the ex-GER Y14 on the North Norfolk (small 0-6-0 tender loco) and the ex-LBSC Terrier (small 0-6-0 tank loco) at Bressingham, plus the narrow gauge locos there have definitely been the highlights.

If you can, do the experience on a line with some decent gradients and a small loco - 'opening up' a small loco to get the train up the hill is quite satisfying, and going down exercises your braking skills :).
 

LGM08

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As stated above there’s currently no mention about restarting driving experiences on the east lancs as of yet but with you being in the north west the ELR would be a good choice. They have quite a few well known kettles like South Africa and city of wells and with South Africa spending its remaining life at the East Lancs before it’s ticket runs out I’d imagine that would be the favoured.
 
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