Steam Driver Experience

Spa Valley Railway » All Events

Welcome to our Steam Driver Experience page where you can book to live that childhood dream!

We are delighted to offer a variety of steam driving experience at the Spa Valley Railway, these range from driving the locomotive on its own over a short or long distance to hauling a rake of carriages along part of our railway.

Driver for a Fiver!
Ever fancied just having a little go at the controls of a steam locomotive at the fraction of the price? Well on selected special events we operate 'Driver for a Fiver' and you can have a go at handling a locomotive at Eridge or Tunbridge Wells West stations. It is, as the name suggests, just a Fiver (£5)!
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Summer Evening Specials
Our locomotives spend their days working hard up and down the Spa Valley Railway so why not experience what its like to drive one of these wonderful machines for 10 miles after our services finish for the day and the locomotive returns to the shed. It is just £200!

What's included:
• Drive of the steam locomotive from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge & return on its own, approx 10 miles driving.
• Membership to the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society for one year
• Guided tour of our locomotive shed at Tunbridge Wells
• Free Spa Valley Railway Guide book & goody bag
• Presentation certificate
• Complimentary travel for the participant and up to three guests on any Spa Valley Railway public train in service that day (if operating)
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The Light Loco!
For just £250* per person we offer you the chance to drive one of our steam locomotives 'Light Engine' (on its own) under the instruction of one of our experienced drivers from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge and return, a distance of approximately 7 miles.

You will start your visit at Tunbridge Wells West, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the time shown on the ticket, your experience will last for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

What's included:
 Drive of the steam locomotive from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge & return on its own, approx 7 miles driving.
• Membership to the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society for one year
• Guided tour of our locomotive shed at Tunbridge Wells
• Free Spa Valley Railway Guide book & goody bag
• Presentation certificate

These experiences usually take place on selected weekends throughout the year, due to the costs involved in using a steam engine a minimum of 4 must be sold to allow the experiences to take place so tell your friends! We reserve the right to cancel or alter the dates listed if we do not receive enough bookings prior to the experience taking place, a full refund will be given. 

Please note that bronze experiences are for one participant only and we cannot accommodate any other guests on the footplate on these days.

*Visiting locomotives may be subject to a higher charge for any driver experience. 
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Full Regulator
For just £500 per person we offer you the chance to share the driving and firing of one of our steam locomotives with a rake of carriages from Tunbridge Wells West to Groombridge return, a total of 14 miles on the footplate of which 7 will actually be spent driving and 7 miles firing. A very unique opportunity to try both roles of the footplate crew.

Our full regulator is open to four participants per day, commencing at 10:00 from Tunbridge Wells West. Upon arrival at our station you will meet your host for the day in our ticket hall, and after an initial safety briefing is given, there will be a guided tour of our engine shed. As the time draws ever closer you will be taken to the locomotive and split into pairs, one pair going onto the locomotive and the other to the train. One pair will spend time on the locomotive driving and firing whilst the other pair spend time on the train with our Guard learning the role they have to play in the trains safety and you will even get the opportunity to wave the green flag too! 

What's included:
• 
Driving of the steam locomotive for 7 miles
• Firing of the steam locomotive for 7 miles 
• Guarding the train for 7 miles
• Membership to the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society for one year
• Free Spa Valley Railway Guide book & goody bag
• Presentation certificate
• Guided tour of our Engine Shed at Tunbridge Wells West
• Visit to Groombridge Signal Box
• Complementary ticket for up to five guests to ride on the train

These experiences usually take place on selected weekdays throughout the year however due to the costs involved in using a steam engine a minimum of 3 must be sold to allow the experiences to take place so tell your friends! We reserve the right to cancel or alter the dates listed if we do not receive enough bookings prior to the experience taking place, a full refund will be given.

Please note you DO NOT have to complete a bronze driver experience to be able to book on any other type of driving experience at the Spa Valley Railway.
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Pulled Right Up
This is where you take control of the locomotive for the whole day, this is priced at £1,999 and is only available upon request to our General Manager here.

What's included:
• 
Driving of the steam locomotive from Tunbridge Wells West to Groombridge & return with carriages, approx 28 miles driving.
• Opportunity to have a go at firing the locomotive if you so wish
• Membership to the Tunbridge Wells & Eridge Railway Preservation Society for one year
• Free Spa Valley Railway Guide book & goody bag
• Presentation certificate
• Guided tour of our Engine Shed at Tunbridge Wells West
• Visit to Groombridge Signal Box
• Complementary ticket for up to six guests to ride on the train.

Gold experiences can be the ideal team building day or corporate event for your company so contact us today to discuss details and to book, meeting rooms and lunch can be provided if arranged in advance! This experience can for example be shared with up to 8 people, each driving for 3 miles of the line. 
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Please note the following/terms and conditions applicable to ALL Driver Experiences:
• Participants must be aged 18 or over and in good health.
• All steam or diesel locomotives and units are subject to availability.
• Please note that The Light Loco, Summer Evening or Spring Morning experiences are for one participant only and we cannot accommodate any guests on these days.
• You or the participant must be able to climb a 6ft vertical ladder to gain access to the locomotives footplate.
• You must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Non-flammable clothing that covers both arms and legs plus strong footwear and leather, rigger style gloves are required.
• We recommend a boiler suit and steel toe capped boots.
• The Spa Valley reserves the right to cancel or suspend a driver experience 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 do bring a camera if you wish!
• In the event of a volunteer being unavailable at short notice we reserve the right to cancel, alter or suspend any driving experiences.
• We reserve the right to alter the contents of a driver experience without prior warning, the haulage of a train is not guaranteed at anytime.
• We reserve the right to change locomotives without prior warning for whatever reason, this may be due to failure. 
• Please make sure you arrive 15 minutes prior to your experience commencing.
• 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 driver experience be it steam or diesel.
We must sell a minimum number of steam driver experiences per time to justify their running so tell your friends, details of numbers above.

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Please contact steamdriverexperience@spavalleyrailway.co.uk for any queries.

 

Booking information

You MUST bring your physical printed or e-ticket with you on the day to show the locomotive crew, therefore if you select an e-ticket please ensure you print it off and bring it with you on the day, you must also adhere to our terms & conditions and wear the correct clothing/boots for the experience. 

Virgin Experience Days Vouchers and Acorne PLC Vouchers: You can book online, use the following ticket type and voucher combinations:

  • Voucher: Extended Steam Train Driver Experience at Spa Valley Railway translates to 'Full Regulator'
  • Voucher: A STEAM TRAIN DRIVER EXPERIENCE  translates to 'The Light Loco'
  • Booking fee does not apply to Voucher bookings, but it will show on your booking confirmation.

Note that a £10 admin fee applies to all booking alterations.

For our full refund, cancellations and alterations please see here.

Booking with vTicket