DEMU 'Thumper' Driver Experience

Spa Valley Railway » All Events » Driver Experience & Railway Experiences

Now is your chance to get your hands at the controls of our heritage and unique Diesel Electric Multiple Unit 1317!

For just £375 you will be given the unique opportunity to drive this beautifully restored diesel unit for a total of 10 miles from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge and return.  The experience will last approximately 1 ½ hrs as you drive the unit to Eridge and return through the glorious High Weald countryside.

Times available: 09:45, 11:00, 12:45, 14:25 & 16:05. DEMU powered trains are only available to participants of the Driver Experience and NOT the general public. 


  • Drive of Class 207 DEMU 1317 for 10 miles
  • A complimentary ticket for the participant and up to three guests to travel on any Spa Valley Railway trains in use that day or the three guests to travel in the passenger saloon of 1317 as you drive it!

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 bronze 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 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!
  • We reserve the right to alter the contents of a driver experience without prior warning, the haulage of a train is not guaranteed in the event of failures.
  • 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.

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. 

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

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

Booking with vTicket