On this unforgettable day, you will take the controls of a full-size locomotive at the head of a private passenger train on the Centre’s main demonstration line. Whether it’s shovelling coal to feed the fire and make sure there’s plenty of steam, giving a short blast on the whistle as you set off, applying just the right amount of steam power with the regulator or braking gently to bring the train weighing over 100 tons to a smooth halt in exactly the right place, our expert footplate crew will show you the art of firing and driving and you’ll have plenty of practice during your time on the footplate.
Your family and friends can ride in one of the carriages and savour the unmistakable sights, sounds and smells of steam as you relive the golden age of the famous Great Western Railway.
You’ll also get to spend some time with the guard to learn more about what it takes to keep the trains running. There’s a guided tour of the Centre, including the engine shed, locomotive works and signalboxes and (if your day coincides with one of our open days) you’ll also have a cab ride on our branch line.
The day starts at 8.00am with an engineman’s breakfast of bacon rolls with plenty of tea or coffee served in the refreshment rooms, where you’ll meet your guide, driver, fireman and guard for the day, and concludes around 4.00pm with the presentation of a Certificate of your day's experience.
A two-course lunch in the Centre’s refreshment rooms for you and your guests is also included, along with a souvenir gift pack and photograph of the day and a year’s membership of the Great Western Society.
Railway Experience Days are excellent value at £395 per participant. Participants must be aged 18 or over and reasonably physically fit – please see our full Terms and Conditions here.
Guests are welcome but must be booked in advance. They can ride in the carriages, accompany you for the tour and join you for lunch – the cost is £35 per guest. We recommend that guests are aged 12 or above and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in addition to the participant.