Spa Valley Railway » Events

Footplate Rides

We're very pleased to offer the unique and privileged opportunity to travel up the front with the Driver!

Green timetable footplate rides
Steam Locomotive
Experience the nostalgia of steam and board the footplate with the driver at Eridge for a trip through the glorious High Weald countryside in style! You will depart Eridge running alongside the mainline watching the fireman and the driver in action, working as a team on these magnificent machines they will first take you to Groombridge. After a brief pause the locomotive and its train will set off once more taking on the hills as the train makes its way steadily to Tunbridge Wells West, one station stop at High Rocks will be made and you will get to witness the locomotive getting underway as it digs its feet into Ramslye Bank on the final climb up to Tunbridge Wells West.
Upon arrival at our main station you will get to experience the run round and the watering process before the locomotive rejoins the train and you get to experience a nice gentle run back to Eridge, all from the footplate.
Our Steam Footplate rides are available on the 12:30 departure from Eridge, returning there for approximately 13:45.
For this once in a lifetime experience it is just £100.
Heritage 1960s Diesel Locomotive
Climb into the cab of a mighty powerful heritage diesel locomotive where you will get to experience the sights and sounds of these 1960s machines hard at work on our line. Departing Eridge you will head for Tunbridge Wells West, calling at Groombridge & High Rocks en-route. Upon arrival at Tunbridge Wells West you will get to experience the running round of the locomotive and rejoining its carriages before setting off once again back to Eridge. 
During the journey take advantage of the panoramic views you can see from the window of our diesel locos and admire the outstanding and hidden by road High Weald countryside, there's no better way to take it in than by riding up the front in style!
Our 1960's heritage diesels are sometimes visiting from other railways so you will get to experience a rare occurrence of riding in a locomotive not usually at the Spa Valley Railway.
Our Diesel footplate rides are available on the 14:10 departure from Eridge, returning there for approximately 15:20.
For this once in a lifetime experience it is just £50.

Yellow timetable footplate rides
These start and finish at Tunbridge Wells West, you will depart on our 13:00 steam service to Groombridge, experience the running round of the train and then return back up the hill to Tunbridge Wells West, you will arrive there for approximately 14:00.
For this once in a lifetime experience it is just £100.

Purple timetable footplate rides
These services are on our historic 1960s 'Thumper' diesel multiple unit and operate from Tunbridge Wells West. You will travel up the front with the driver to Eridge prior to 'changing ends' and travelling back to Tunbridge Wells West.
For this once in a lifetime experience it is just £50.

Please note the following terms and conditions applicable to ALL Footplate Rides:
  • Participants must be aged 18 or over and in good health.
  • All steam or diesel locomotives and units are subject to availability.
  • You will only be participating in a ride on the locomotive, you will not get the opportunity to drive it.
  • The instructions given by the Driver are final and must be adhered to at all times otherwise you will be removed from the locomotive.
  • You or the participant must be able to climb a 6ft vertical ladder to gain access to the locomotives footplate, they must also be in good health and able to respond to all instructions given without assistance.
  • You must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Each Footplate Ride is for one person per time, there is not room for two people on the footplate, any guests you wish to bring with you will need to purchase travel tickets to ride on the train (note Santa Specials do not have public accommodation). 
  • Non-flammable clothing that covers both arms and legs plus strong footwear are required.
  • We recommend a Boiler Suit and Steel Toe Capped Boots.
  • The Spa Valley reserves the right to cancel or suspend a Footplate Ride if the participant is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or is seen to be physically not fit enough to undertake the experience.
  • Please make sure you arrive 15 minutes prior to your experience commencing and report to the Station Master at either station.
  • The Spa Valley Railway reserves the right to reschedule a Footplate Ride for whatever reason.
  • You MUST bring your physical printed or e-ticket with you on the day to show to the locomotive crew.
  • Locomotives or Units are all subject to availability, they are over 50yrs old and so from time to time suffer failures, we therefore reserve the right to alter the locomotive used on any footplate ride be it steam or diesel. We will however always endeavour to provide the product as sold but in the event of failure cannot be held responsible should we need to provide an alternative form of traction to operate our services. This may mean heritage diesel vice steam and could only be discovered on the morning of your visit.