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Hand on the Throttle

AVAILABLE November 8-10, 2019

Reservations available by phone only (860-767-0103 x 0)

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about and actually operate a full size steam locomotive!

Hand on the Throttle (HOTT) registrants receive home study materials covering railroad and steam locomotive safety as well as basic steam locomotive theory and operation. At the beginning of each on-site class session (8:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m.), students are instructed on steam locomotive operation and given a safety test. Following the test, each student operates a steam locomotive under the direct and constant supervision of our engine crew for approximately 1 hour along the Valley Railroad. Only 1 registrant will be allowed on the locomotive for each trip.

Advance Registration

Reserve your spot early…participation in the HOTT is limited to 8 students per day. Scheduling is first come/first served, so please consider first, second, and third choices for dates and sessions (morning or afternoon).

Registrants must be at least 18 years old, in good health, have a valid drivers license, and physically able to operate a steam locomotive. Proper clothing, shoes and eye protection must be worn while participating in the program. A general release signature is required at time of registration.

Hand on the Throttle is designed to give each registrant the opportunity to learn about steam locomotives and actually operate one. The program does not qualify someone for unsupervised operation or operations with a train.


The cost for this unique opportunity is $550.00 (Steam locomotive only).
Please contact Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (860) 767-0103 for details and registration.

2019 Schedule

Morning  sessions available in 2019 as follows:

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Spring Sessions
April 6 April 7
April 12 April 13
 April 14
Fall Sessions Nov. 1 Nov. 2 Nov. 3
Nov. 8 Nov. 9 Nov. 10


In addition to regularly scheduled Hand on the Throttle sessions in the spring , we’re now offering afternoon sessions on regular operating weekdays (June 17-October 25). Please contact the office at 860-767-0103 x 0 to schedule your once in a lifetime experience!