Learn to Drive a Steam Train

Learn How To Drive A Steam Train In Essex

5 stars 20 Reviews
participants Price for 1 participant

Put your Hand on the Throttle and Learn to Drive a Train! This once in a lifetime experience is your chance to operate a full-size Steam Locomotive on Connecticut’s beautiful Valley Railroad.

This unique experience begins with instruction on safety aspects, basic locomotive theory and operation. Following instruction, you will join a member of the crew, climb onto the majestic 4-6-4 Steam Engine and embark on a one hour journey as a Railroad Conductor.

As you depart from the Valley Railroad Station, your hand will be on the throttle as you travel past some of the most beautiful scenery and landscapes the Connecticut River Valley has to offer. Under direct supervision, you will learn how to operate and control your speeds as you marvel at the power of one of the most important and influential inventions in history. This Learn to Drive a Steam Train experience in Essex, Connecticut provides you with the opportunity of turning your dreams of driving a train, into reality. 

The Learn to Drive a Steam Train Xperience CertificateŽ is for one participant. There will be additional participants during the instruction period of the experience.

This experience is not suitable for guests.

Connecticut, Essex

The Learn to Drive a Steam Train is offered on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in April and November, subject to availability. Lessons begin at 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM.

The Drive a Steam Train Lesson includes an instruction period plus one hour of driving the train and has a total duration of approximately 3˝ hours.

The Drive a Steam Train may be cancelled by the Conductor in the case of severe weather.

What to wear
Dress comfortably, in casual attire. Closed-toe rubber-soled shoes and socks are required.

Additional Information
Participants must be atleast 18 years of age. Only one participant will be allowed on the locomotive with the train conductor at a time. Guests are not permitted onboard the train.

Participants are required to sign a Liability Release Form.


Cancellation Policy
All changes to reservations for the Learn to Drive a Steam Train Experience require fourteen (14) days advance notice.

Xperience Certificates cannot be exchanged once a reservation for the experience has been made.

Hands On Train Experience 

5 stars

Better experience than I expected. The Engineer was very patient, explained everything clearly. Excellent Instructor. The Fireman was also great. Will recommend this to my friends. 

- - Sussex, CT, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Steam Train 

5 stars

Absolutely Fabulous! Brian, Eric, David were very nice local people to work with. It truly was a dream come true for me and the best present ever. All my friends and relatives were shocked, surprised and later just as excited as I to watch my experience on video. 

- - Essex, Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hand on the Throttle 

5 stars

Ready to do it again! Was a great ride, people were great! You control a 150 ton locomotive, get to feel the rush of all that steam power moving one big machine! 

- - Ewan NJ, Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hands on the throttle 

5 stars

This was an excellent experience. I will highly recommend it to others interested in steam railroads. 

- - Kew Gardens NY, Tuesday, April 24, 2012


5 stars

One of the best times I've ever had had....can't wait to do it again! 

- - Hanson, MA, Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learn to Drive a Steam Train 

5 stars

It was terrific!!! I took the class at noon on April 20th and rode the train at 4 PM. While everyone was very friendly and behaved like they really enjoyed their job, I would like to call specific attention to the crew on the train. They were very friendly and eager to share their knowledge about railroading. They made you feel right at home and put you at ease. Their attitude was that they were happy I was there and eager to share railroading with me. I would recommend it to anyone interested in trains!!! 

- - New Jersey, Monday, April 23, 2012

Train Experiece Day 

5 stars

'The Hands on the Throttle' Train Exp.Day was awsome. It was a dream of a life time for me. The crew and instructors were very good and patient with all of us. It was worth the drive to Essex to see and drive a real Steam Locamotive,what an Awsome piece of machinery. Thanks again for the RIDE!! PS:Special thanks to my Spousal Equivalent and her 2 Daughters for making all of this possible for me. 

- - Lyman, ME, Thursday, April 19, 2012

Steam Train 

5 stars

WOW - what an exciting and exhilarating experience! Getting the chance to start, run and stop a steam locomotive was awesome. Feeling the engine rumble and sway along the track, smelling the coal smoke and swirling steam, and of course, blowing the whistle for grade crossings and kids (seeing them smile and wave to me was pure pleasure!) on this 8 mile trip are some of the sensations and images I'll always treasure. The instructors and engine crew were truly professional, very patient and answered all my questions about operating the locomotive. I tip my engineer's cap to them. Thank you to the Valley Railroad, Xperiencedays.com, and especially my family, for this wonderful gift. Now, it's your turn. The engine and crew are waiting for you. GO! 

- - Staten Island, New York, Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Train Driving Adventure 

5 stars

I got thIs as a birthday present and I was amazing, he loved every minute of this experience. 

- - Thompson, Tuesday, April 17, 2012


5 stars

As a life-long lover of anything having to do with railroads and especially steam locomotives, this was the experience of a lifetime. 

- - LAKE LOTAWANA MO, Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Steam train 

5 stars

The experience was fabulous. The folks at Valley Railroad are enthusiastic about sharing their love of steam trains and making the event everything it was advertised to be. I'll likely do it again and one of my friends is ready to sign up as well. 

- - Williamsburg, VA, Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Steam Train 

5 stars

Driving the steam train in Essex was a wonderful experience. Moving 80 tons of metal was the thrill of a lifetime. More importantly, I have made a small contribution to railroad preservation. 

- - Essex CT, Sunday, April 17, 2011

Drive a Steam Train 

5 stars

For a few hours last Friday, I became a little boy again, driving a steam locomotive along the Connecticut River Valley. It was a dream I have had for over fifty years since I was just a kid playing with my electric trains at Christmas. Words cannot describe the thrill! 

- - Essex, CT, Monday, April 04, 2011

Hands on the Throttle 

5 stars

What a wonderful adventure! The crew and staff could not have been better. I was at the throttle for #97, a 2-8-0 Consolidation. Now I have one up on my other train friends - I have actually driven a steam locomotive! 

- - Howell, NJ, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hands on the Throttle 

5 stars

Fantastic, great bunch of people. Lots of fun, one of the best experiences I have ever had. 

- - Warren NJ, Monday, April 26, 2010

Learn to Drive a Steam Train 

5 stars

Fantastic, start to finish! I'll be back with friends! 

- - New Hampshire, Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hand on the Throttle 

5 stars

This experience exceeded my expectations. The classroom activities covered all the principles of operation of all the major components of the steam engine. It was well presented utilizing a real engine and models with plenty of time allocated to questions. It is amazing technology for the time. Once on the engine, the engineer and fireman did a fantastic job giving me the guidance to actually operate this amazing machine myself. I highly recommend this experience. 

- - Bridgewater, NJ, Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learn to Drive a Steam Engine 

5 stars

Outstanding adventure. Great people at the Essex Valley RR drove a 282 consolidation steam engine, apretty big engine. Class was first then drove the train for 1 hour through Conn. Valley along the river. Absolutely terrific day. I'm going to do it again. The RR is a living museum of stores, repair shops and yards. 

- - Mt Sinai NY, Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hand on The Throttle 

5 stars

One of the great moments in my life time.
Instructors were very helpful and considerate of our needs to learn a lot in a very short period of time. The engineer and fireman did a great job in making me comfortable at the trottle! I will return soon to do this again! Thanks again! 

- - East Lyme, Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'Hand on The Throttle' 

5 stars

My siblings and I purchased this for our Dad's milestone birthday. He had an absolutly amazing time. The faces on the 4 engineers we saw, including Dad's, after their time at the throttle were priceless...like a young boy Christmas morning. I would highly recommend this once in a life time adventure for any steam train buff. Must be at least 18. Just be sure to reserve in advance as this expereince is limited and always sells out. The staff at the Essex Steam Railroad Museum were great and provided everything needed (release, train manual, etc.) well in advance. Again, I highly recommend this adventure!! 

- - New Hampshire, Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learn to Drive a Steam Train Unique Gift

Please use Add to Cart to purchase a Gift Certificate For this experience. More Info How Experience Gifts Work To make a reservation at the time of purchase call 866-973-7436

New to Xperience Days? See How it Works

See How It Works LEARN MORE



Buy a Gift Certificate