STEAM TRAIN DRIVING YORKSHIRE
It’s time to take a deep breath and slip behind the controls of a mighty steam engine, on one of the very best steam train experiences in the United Kingdom. Let us welcome you to an unforgettable day here at the Elsecar Heritage Railway!
Come face to face with your impressive ride! Once you’ve taken in her impressive frame, jump aboard and take control!
With expert tuition from our staff, you’ll learn all about our locos and how to tame them. This is very much a hands on experience and you’ll get the opportunity to be fireman and driver. Watch the Yorkshire countryside slip by as you chug and steam your way along the Elsecar Railway, all the while with the sounds and the rumble of your engine keeping you in a state of perpetual excitement!
You’ll learn how to start it and bring it to a halt. You’ll encounter everything from shunting through to navigating steep inclines as you come to grips with the art of steam engine driving on an unforgettable day in Yorkshire.
This unforgettable encounter with your engine includes:
- Welcome introduction & safety briefing
- Getting ready for departure
- Assist with fireman duties
- Your experience driving the Monster
- One hour of steam engine heaven
- Certificate of Achievement
Come and play with the Mardy Monster on Saturdays through to Tuesdays from April to October. Availability is limited, so please book in early to avoid disappointment.
You will need to make your way to Rockinghman Station – the principal base of the Elsecar Heritage Railway, which is located approximately half way between Barnsley and Rotherham – off Junction 36 of the M1 (see map lower on the page if further directions are required).
We’re delighted that you’re keen to meet Mardy! She’s kinda keen to meet you too! Booking is easy: press the ‘Make A Booking’ button, whcih will take you to our ticketing partner Buy a Gift.
When you make a booking you will receive a voucher for your train driving day, which you will have a full 10 months to use – particularly handy if you’re buying this as a gift for someone else.
You can choose to either have the voucher delivered online as an eVoucher, or if you prefer a free luxury gift box can be sent under plain packaging (you can personalise both). Whichever method you prefer, you’ll find booking your train driving day with us is fast, easy and painless.
Our steam engine driving days are suitable for anyone over the age of 18. The only physical requirement is the agility to be able to climb up into the cab via the ladder.
With regards to clothing, we strongly recommend some sturdy footwear, long sleeves and trousers and preferably something you don’t mind getting a little dirty as this very much a hands on experience!
Your friends and family are welcome to join you on your visit to the Elsecar Heritage Railway to watch all of the action.
When you’re actually out and about on the engine driving, they will be able to take in the Heritage Centre with its antiques and crafts centre and gift shop. There is also a play areas for children and access to hot and cold refreshments and meals at our cafe.
Meet the most beautiful monster around!
Take a trip down memory lane on the only drivable steam locomotives in Yorkshire at the Elsecar Heritage Railway. Based at the charming Rockingham Station it’s the perfect base for your departure of a lifetime!
First things first is the introduction and safety briefing – you’re going to be getting to grips with the Mardy Monster (or another impressive loco if Mardy is on a break), the most powerful locomotive ever built in the UK – so it’s a good start to learn about how the railway operates. After which it’s time to climb up the ladder, with your heart now beginning to really flutter with excitement, into the cab to meet your new best friend.
We’ll get you started with some yard work, shunting and learning how to drive the train (you know, important things like getting it going and making it stop) – after which you’ll head out onto the open track, where No. 2150 – Mardy’s proper title – really comes into her own. Be prepared to negotiate some serious track conditions, including tackling the 1 in 37 pitched incline between the buffers at Hemingfield up to the summit at Elsecar; no small undertaking and you’re going to need every ounce of muscle that Mardy can throw at you to make it.
To really give you an appreciation of life in the cab of an authentic steam engine, you’ll also be tasked with firing – or feeding Mardy to keep us powering along the track. You’ll also learn how the firemen of the day helped run the railways via their duties on the line and around the yard.
Despite her size, we know that Mardy will captivate and enchant you with her snapshot back into yesteryear and the nostalgia of the real heart and soul of steam locomotives. So we look forward to welcoming you to our heritage railway and making a dream come true at the controls of the most beautiful monster you ever did see!
Meet Our Locos!
MARDY IS HAVING A BREAK, OTHER LOCOS WILL BE TAKING HER PLACE FOR NOW!
Meet No. 2150, a Class 0-6-0ST manufactured by Peckett & Sons of Bristol back in 1954 and one of only three of the OQ class ever constructed. Certainly not a loco that could ever be described as a lightweight, No.2150 tipped the scales at an impressive 55 tons with cylinder dimensions of 18” by 26”. Her heating surface a mighty 921 square feet with a grate area of over 19 square feet. Add into the manufacturing mix 4.5 foot driving wheels and a working pressure capable of creating 200lbs per square inch along with a tractive effort of 29,527lbs and the net result is the most powerful industrial steam locomotive ever to have been assembled in the UK.
Once she was ready to hit the track, No. 2150 and her twin sister made their way across the border to South Wales and the Rhondda Valley. It was there in the small town of Maerdy that No. 2150 was to spend her working life, contributing to the extractions from the steeply graded colliery. Given her size and sheer power, she was quickly afforded the nickname: The Mardy Monster!
As she rumbled up and down to the colliery, her exhaust beat could be heard for miles as she laboured up the steep inclines pulling up to as many as 45 coal wagons behind her. The Mardy Monster lived this labour intensive life for 22 years until she was withdrawn from service in 1976. She then entered a rest period of three years before changing hands and becoming part of the newly formed Swanage Railway’s fleet. However once there her work commitments were few and far between and she was eventually purchased for the Elsecar Railway of Barnsley in 1994 where a steady schedule of restoration was undertaken.
Some nine years and £70,000 later and No. 2150 was ready to flaunt her impressive capabilities once again. Over the course of the 21st/22nd of June in 2003 a weekend of celebrations and festivities heralded the return of the Mardy Monster into active service. Dignitaries, railway representatives and the public were joined by two male voice choirs – one from South Yorkshire, her new home, and the other from South Wales and a small town called Maerdy…
So if you have a dream to drive a steam engine why not consider our very own Mardy Monster, the most powerful British loco every built.
If you’re looking for an authentic working engine from the bygone era of steam, then the industrious Birkenhead 7386 will tick all the boxes. This Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns powerhouse was built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1948.
Weighing in at 38 tons she boasts long stroke 14 inch cylinders, a copper firebox, brass flue tubes and is capable of a 900 ton pull on the level.Number 7386 spent her life contributing to the work at various power stations across the country before finally retiring from active service at the Acton Lane Power Station back in the summer of 1980.
In March of the following year she would enter into preservation at the hands of the Southall Railway Centre. She has also exhibited her abilities at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway before moving to Elsecar, where she delights people who get behind her controls on the numerous footplate course run throughout the year.