Footplate Experiences

Get your hands on our engines!

Did you know that you can drive and fire a Sentinel Engine with us?

This hands on experience course allows you to meet, fire and drive a Sentinel steam locomotive.

These work-horse engines, built by Sentinel of Shrewsbury, were the mainstay of many works shunting yards. Their design, with a vertical boiler, makes them more akin to a steam lorry or bus giving them a totally different feel to the classic railway locomotive design.

Gervase dates back to 1900 and William (built 1956) is named after Sir William Stanier, Chief Engineer of the L.M.S.

All steam locomotives had two crew; the driver and the fireman. We will give you insight into the joy of driving and firing a steam engine as we welcome two delegates aboard one of our Sentinels. Our challenging 1 in 37 gradient is an unforgettable highlight as you tackle a hill start and keep steam up!

With our Yorkshire Heritage and Yorkshire Hospitality, the smell of steam and hot oil, the heat from the fire and the sound and power of the engine; a fantastic experience on the footplate is offered at Elsecar Heritage Railway. Guests are welcome to watch and take photographs too. Courses are very popular, so hurry and book your place. Gift vouchers are available too.

Our Line:
Our line, built 1850, served coal mines along its length from Elsecar to Cortonwood. We now run on one mile of track, currently being extended, which will be travelled several times during the experience. The Coalfield Line has steep gradients and curves, making it perfect for a footplate experience learning, including hill starts!

The Course:
After a warm welcome and safety briefing, two delegates will join the engine to be supervised by our experienced and qualified crew. You will learn about driving and firing these magnificent machines and get to try out the shovel and controls yourself. Boilersuits, gloves, plus tea or coffee, will be provided, along with an attendance certificate. Guests receive refreshments too. Delegates must be 18 years old or over and be able to climb into an engine.

The Cost:
One hour course (shared with another delegate) - £139
Two hour course (or one hour for two delegates booked together) - £258

To start booking your place, please download and fill in this application form.

If you already have a voucher or gift certificate, please request a date for a course using the online request form.

Course administration can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - we look forward to welcoming you soon.
(please do not use the enquiries email for footplate correspondence)

 

All courses are subject to availability.
For more details including a detailed itinerary for the courses, please telephone: (01226) 610100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Administration is the responsibility of one part-time volunteer, who aims to reply to calls and emails within 72 hours.  You are most likely to speak directly to her between 5.30 and 8pm most evenings except Wednesdays.  If there is no reply, please leave a message on the answerphone.

All courses are subject to EHR terms and conditions.
Please make all cheques payable to: Elsecar Heritage Railway Ltd.
Courses are limited to a maximum of two participants.
If necessary the Railway may postpone course dates without notice.