The next departure from platform one on the East Kent railway is the train driver day! These experiences are totally hands-on. Not only will you be driving the ex-MOD diesel train you’ll be carrying out a whole roster of crew duties making it an all encompassing multitasking train driver experience.
The East Kent Railway Trust has worked hard over the years to create a fabulous railway. And before they set up their preservation society in 1985 there hadn’t been a passenger service since late 1948. Goods trains did run on this small branch line though but only as far as the colliery. So when that finally ceased production in the 80s the Light Railway ground to a halt too.
A lot of blood sweat and tears from a team of skilled enthusiasts over many years has put the East Kent Railway back on the map with a base at Sheperdswell and a line that goes as far as Eythorne. Offering train driving on this East Kent line is a great way for fans to get properly involved as a team member for the day.
On your train driver experience you’ll drive a return journey to Eythorne. But it’s not just about driving at the East Kent railway. You’ll be invited to assist with the coupling up of the brake van set the points in the signal box before you set off and hop from the cab to open the gates across the road before hopping back on to continue your train driving duties.
You’ll also experience the highlight of the East Kent Railway; the Golgotha Tunnel one of the longest in the south east would you believe. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is the Kentish countryside as you gently head out of the valley. There’s then a quick pause at the junction for the former Guildford Colliery to check the points before entering Eythorne station the terminus of the trainline. This is a proper half day shift as an East Kent Railway worker carrying out all tasks!
These East Kent Railway experiences are the best way to explore and get a fabulous insight into a day in the working life of a preserved Light Railway. You’ll be fully involved for the duration and it’s one-to-one tuition in the driver’s cab. What sets this train driver day apart is the fact that you can invite a select group of friends and family to ride in the brake van that you coupled your loco too! Brilliant stuff!