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…