Events & Experiences

Steam Engineman Course 2020

The West Somerset Railway offers a range of one day and two day courses to realise your ambition and make your long held dreams become reality.

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Steam Engineman Course 2020


Closure due to Covid-19

We regret that the West Somerset Railway is currently closed due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic. We are fully complying with and following government guidance. At the present time we are not clear when the railway will reopen, but this information will be posted here, as soon as it becomes available.

We are working to maintain the railway, and plan to operate a service as soon as we can. We regret however that for the remainder of this year, 2020, all special events, including galas and dining trains, have been cancelled. (This information supersedes any information about these events elsewhere in this website. In some cases that information is still shown so that you may plan for the future.) No bookings for any of these events are being taken at the present time.

We are very sorry to have had to take these decisions, and we very much look forward to welcoming you back to the West Somerset Railway as soon as we are able to do so.



The West Somerset Railway offers a range of one day and two day courses to realise your ambition and make your long held dreams become reality.

Experience the feeling of working steam locomotives as you join the team on the footplate, shovel coal into the firebox, blow the whistle, open the regulator and feel the power.

Treat someone special (even yourself) to the thrill of a lifetime learning what it feels like to be a real fireman and engine driver. A really special present or excellent Corporate Hospitality.

With twenty miles of stunning Somerset countryside and coastal scenery, and challenging gradients there is something for everyone from the novice to the experienced enthusiast.

Our Steam Engineman Courses are designed for moderately fit men and women (over 18) (you need to be able to climb up and descend from the locomotive cab) to experience aspects of the railway unseen by many passengers. Depending on your choice of course you will learn how to prepare a locomotive, the principles of working a steam locomotive, signalling, braking, safety, driving and firing. Guided by an experienced West Somerset Railway Instructor you will haul a train of coaches or freight wagons along part of the entire longest preserved railway in the country.

Enjoy a real treat yourself or give the perfect surprise gift Voucher.

Please see our SEC Accommodation List for establishments who serve an early breakfast.

When Steam Engineman Courses are held, the Railway does not always operate a public service so buffets and shops may be closed to the public. Friends of participants are, however, welcome to visit station areas and to take photographs etc.  

Please note: Only course participants may travel on the train.

Train timings given in the programme are approximate and may be subject to change due to operational requirements. In particular the finish time should be regarded as approximate. Gaps in the above times are to facilitate of operational moves.


A half day practical introduction to the mysteries of the Steam Engine using the Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren section (where the West Somerset Railway meets with the mainline).

You will experience using the regulator and firing the locomotive.

There is only a locomotive on this course - no wagons or coaches are used.

The course starts at Bishops Lydeard signal box at either 09.15 or 13.15 and takes between three and four hours.

Also included with this course are two Rover tickets so you can enjoy a days travel on the railway at your leisure.

£245.00 per person 

Dates for 2020:

19th April 

3rd may 

17th May 

12th July

9th August 

23rd August

Stage One

The first course is two days and has theoretical and practical elements. Numbers are limited to a maximum of six participants to ensure you get the full experience from your course. This course starts in Minehead.

DAY 1 - has talks and demonstrations on safety, making steam and boiler management, locomotive operation and signalling theory meaning you have the best possible information for day 2. The day includes visits to the signal box, locomotive sheds and workshops.

DAY 2 - starts at 07:30 to prepare the locomotive for the day’s work including oiling up and lighting the fire. Watch as the Steam that you've created brings the loco to life. The climax of the day's proceedings is three round trips to Blue Anchor hauling an empty passenger train. You will have one trip firing and the other driving and spend the other trips learning about the other end of the business with the Guard. The day ends with disposal of the locomotive and certificate presentation for completing the course successfully.

This two day course includes lunch and refreshments on both days and course notes including detailed diagrams.

Once you have completed a Stage One course you are then able to undertake the rest of our Steam Enginemen Courses where your knowledge from the Stage One is essential starting with a Stage Two or Stage Three.

£475.00 per person 

Dates for 2020:

22nd & 23rd March

29th & 30th March

14th & 15th May 

31st May & 1st June 

11th & 12th June

2nd & 3rd July 

24th &25th September

18th & 19th October

Stage Two

The Stage Two course is a practical one day course for 6 people and expands the knowledge that the participant gained while doing a Stage One.

First preparing the locomotive you will then haul a freight train from Minehead to Williton and back, driving one way and firing the other. When not firing and driving you will travel with the Guard on a restored brake van and learn about how his job differs from a normal passenger train while the other participants have their turn on the footplate. The day ends with disposal of the locomotive and presentation of certificates for successfully completing the course.

£525.00 per person

Dates for 2020: 

27th March

11th May 

21st October

Stage Three

For those who have completed a Stage One Course this course gives more practical experience for six participants.

Starting with locomotive preparation ending with disposal, enjoy a full day with the power of steam on the West Somerset Railway.

With the long and steep climb to Crowcombe Heathfield on the way from Bishops Lydeard to Williton hauling an empty passenger train, can you rise to the challenge as you fire one way and drive the other?

The cost of this course includes lunch.

Once you have completed Stages One to Three why not try our Stage Four for driving all along the West Somerset Railway.

£525.00 per person

Dates for 2020:

29th June 

23rd October


Stage Four

For those who have completed Stages One, and either Stage Two or Three, put all your Steam experiences together for this most challenging of the West Somerset Railway's Steam Enginemen Courses.

Two full round trips from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead hauling empty coaches during a normal working timetable perhaps between service trains depending on the available dates.

4 participants are taken on this course for two round trips on the line. Lunch is included in the Price.

£850.00 per person 

Dates for 2020:

13th April

20th July

Stage Five

Early start at Minehead. Prepare the locomotive and two return trips to Bishops Lydeard with shunting. Lunch and refreshments included. There are 4 participants on this course.

£850.00 per person 

Dates for 2020:

1st May 

15th June 


No dates for this event are available at the moment

Multiple Events are in this category

Prices for this event could vary from day to day, click the links above to see prices for your chosen date.

Advanced Booking Only



Cancellation Policy

The £100 deposit paid at the time of booking is a non refundable deposit.

In the event of a cancellation, the West Somerset Railway will retain your deposit payment.

Any other refund will only be considered in the event of the railway being able to re sell your space.

We require all cancellations in writing or by email as soon as is possible.

The West Somerset Railway reserve the right to cancel a Steam Engineman Course if the minimum number of bookings per experience is not reached. The minimum number per experience is: SEC Taster - 7 places (across the whole day), SEC 1, 2, 3 - 4 places. SEC 4 & 5 - 3 places. In this instance we will provide you with an alternative date to complete your course. 

By purchasing your course, you are agreeing to the above cancellation policy.