Steam ‘fire and drive’ courses!
Stop press - all courses for 2013
Course dates for 2014 available in
Some people get a train set, fewer people get a chance to enjoy
the real thing - but you can do just that. A Fire & Drive
course on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is something
that is sure to thrill and certainly makes a brilliant Christmas,
birthday or anniversary gift!
The 'golden age of steam' is something that is but a distant
memory for some of us while, for anyone aged 50 or less, it has
become the stuff of legends. The feats accomplished through the
teamwork of driver and fireman: man and machine perfectly in
harmony and up for the challenges of the 'road ahead'.
And while the trains on the Honeybourne Line aren't taking
travellers a hundred miles or more at speeds in the upper 70s,
driving and firing still demands skill and teamwork. But, under the
expert guidance of the railway's own experienced footplate staff,
those enjoying a footplate experience course will most certainly
have one of the most memorable and rewarding of days.
The railway offers two courses, each operating over the 12½
miles between Laverton and Cheltenham Racecourse, travelling
through the long, dark, curved Greet tunnel and over the impressive
The Silver Course
This runs on selected Fridays. Costing just £199, this fun day
begins with a coffee or tea and cake at 09.45am and an explanation
of what the day holds in store before joining the crew of one of
the railway's main line locomotives. Taking a 'Queen Mary' brake
van, guests take turns at driving and firing while the others
travel with the guard in the van, running between Laverton and
Cheltenham Racecourse. An opportunity is taken to visit one of the
railway's signal boxes during the day and also enjoy a tour of the
locomotive shed and workshops at Toddington. All participants
receive a certificate and up to 2 two-for-one vouchers for a future
visit to the railway. Click here for full details and dates.
This runs on selected Fridays. Costing £375, this is a full day
using one of the railway's main line locomotives and a rake of up
to seven carriages - giving the engine and its crew some real work
to do! The day starts at 08.30 with a cooked breakfast plus a full
explanation of the operation of a steam locomotive and what will be
happening during the day. Participants get two sessions each of
firing and driving and the package includes a packed lunch. During
the day a visit to one of the railway's signalboxes is organised
while each participant can bring up to two guests to travel in the
train. Click here for full details and dates.
The interactive footplate!
So how do you operate a steam locomotive? You can get a sneak
preview here of our interactive footplate and find out what all
of the mysterious controls do!
Book up soon!
These courses book up very quickly so the earlier you apply, the
Fit for a great day?
Operating a steam locomotive can be physically demanding and
while our staff are there to offer help and guidance, it is
important that those taking part are able to ascend and descend
from the footplate unassisted- this involves a vertical climb of
about six feet up widely-spaced steps. It is also important
that participants don't suffer short-term memory loss, have
reasonable vision and hearing (glasses and hearing aids are OK) and
are otherwise reasonably fit.
It's a gift!
GWR footplate courses are popular as gifts and indeed they make
an absolutely fantastic present that the lucky participant will
remember for the rest of their lives.
Here are a few comments from one lucky participant, Graham
Radband, who was presented with a steam 'Fire & Drive' course
as a 60th birthday gift from his wife. He says:
"The course was a truly great day and I would strongly recommend
anyone to try it who has the slightest interest in either the steam
engine or working a railway. It also really does highlight the
skills and knowledge needed to operate and run a steam railway by
all the team."
You can read his full story by clicking