Drive A Steam Train

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Here is your opportunity to drive a 120 year old steam locomotive along a winding, steeply graded narrow-gauge railway, through a variety of inspiring scenery between Emerald and Cockatoo.



No previous experience is required. The 861 Footplate Experience Course is available to anyone aged 18 years old or over who is of reasonable health and fitness.

You may bring along your partner and family or guests, who may ride on the train, or enjoy the attractions of the area.

You have exclusive use of the locomotive for a day, under the expert supervision of an experienced Puffing Billy Railway driver.

You get the opportunity to light the fire, lubricate the locomotive, learn how to raise steam and how the Westinghouse brakes work, before spending several hours firing and driving the locomotive over a very challenging route.

Your day can start as early as 7.00 am when the fire will be lit in the locomotive and steam raised. This will be followed by a briefing session on safety procedures, and on the operation of the locomotive.

After making up a short train at Emerald you will depart at 9.15 am for Lakeside. At Lakeside your locomotive will take water, before you depart for Cockatoo. This section of track features three trestle bridges. At Cockatoo you will run the locomotive round the train, do some shunting, before departing for Lakeside. 


At Lakeside you will be able to see, and be involved in, much activity. On your arrival at Lakeside, the first train from Belgrave will have already arrived at the station. Your train will be shunted into the stabling siding. At 11.40 am the second train from Belgrave will arrive. At 11.45 am one of these trains will depart for Gembrook. The locomotive on the other regular train will run round its train, ready for its return to Belgrave at 12.30 pm. Your train will then leave the stabling siding and come into the station to take water. You will then have lunch. After the 12.30 pm train departs for Belgrave, you will run the locomotive around your train, before departing for your second run to Cockatoo .

On arrival at Cockatoo you will again run the locomotive around the train, do some shunting, then depart Cockatoo for Lakeside. 

At Lakeside you refill the locomotive with water and see the Luncheon Train. Then, after having afternoon tea, you will take your train back to Emerald.

At Emerald you will see the last regular daily train from Belgrave pass on its way to Lakeside. You will then finish the day by shunting the train into a siding, and taking the locomotive back to its shed. Here it will take water, the fire will be dropped, the locomotive will be cleaned, and put to bed in its shed.

Your day will end at about 4.00 pm.


To make enquiries about bookings email or telephone Puffing (03) 9757 0700.


Gift Certificates

The 861 Footplate Experience Course makes a unique and memorable gift for a special birthday or Christmas present.


The Locomotive

The locomotive you will be driving was built as an 0-4-0T in 1886 by Société Anonyme Usines Métallurgiques du Hainaut - Locomotives Couillet.


The Schedule

The schedule below gives the details of the day's activities of the guest driver on the Footplate Experience Course.


The Route

The Puffing Billy Railway runs from Belgrave to Gembrook (24km or 15 miles). You will be driving on the 7.6 km (4.8 miles) section between Emerald and ...