• Half Day Steam Train Railway Experience
• Discover the varied and vital roles of the workers on the railway
• Take the steam train from Tenterden to Bodiam and back
• Opportunity to try different tasks including fireman and driver, swapping roles at each station across the line
• Help operate the crossing gates
• Take part in the thrilling 'run around' at Bodiam
• You will form part of a small group of up to 6 participants
What Can I Expect
A great value hands-on steam locomotive experience! Become part of the train operating team at the Kent and East Sussex Railway, as you prepare to accompany and work with the crew on a return trip at this wonderful heritage railway - one of the finest in the South East.
These steam locomotive taster sessions are a bit like work experience, albeit the best one you'll probably ever do! You will discover what each role in getting a steam train running involves. This heritage railway, like many others around the country, relies on volunteers and it’s pretty amazing to see first hand how dedicated they are. And as they say here: “There’s always a lot to do. But there’s always lots of tea involved!”.
Incidentally, that’s exactly how your steam locomotive experience starts. Over a cuppa you’ll be introduced to the train crew with whom you’ll be carrying out all the tasks needed to get a steam train on the move. Then it's time to drink up and head out to the waiting train on the platform and get to work. After all, there’s steam to make!
As you’ll be no more than six participants in each group, there’s plenty of time to have a go at each role. Setting off from Tenterden Town station to Bodiam, you’ll swap at each intermediate stop, spending time on the footplate with the driver and the fireman in the train and with the guard of the steam loco. Once at Bodiam, it’s everyone off to assist with the ‘run around’.
This is when the loco is detached from the front of the carriages, reverses along an adjacent piece of track called the ‘loop’, to then re-attach at the back of the carriages. The train then sets off back for the return journey to Bodiam pulling the carriages. Many on these steam loco taster experiences say this is the highlight for them, along with being fireman on the very steep climb back into Tenterden!
In total you’ll cover 21 miles on these superb steam locomotive experiences. In addition to your onboard tasks on the footplate as driver and fireman, you’ll also spend time with the crossing keeper, as well as discovering what guard duties involve too - and it's not just checking tickets! There might even be time for more tea…
• Experiences run on selected weekdays from March to October, excluding August
• Sessions operate at 8.45am-12.30pm or 12.45pm-4.30pm
• Minimum age 18 years
• Participants over 80 years old will need to provide a doctors certificate
• You should wear sturdy footwear and clothing that covers your arms and legs
• Participants need to be agile enough to climb the ladder into the engine cab and in the unlikely event of an emergency, be able to leave the footplate quickly and jump from height to the ground without assistance
• Friends and family are very welcome to visit however experiences usually operate on 'closed' days
Anything Else I Need To Know?
• Your steam train adventure departs from Tenterden Station in Kent