Operate-a-Loco tickets are SOLD OUT for the 2015 season. Please look forward to our 2016 season. 2016 will be the LAST YEAR the steam locomotive will be available; steam will not return after 2016 until engine 17 completes her 15 year inspection. Diesel Operate-a-Locos will continue to be available.

The New Hope Valley Railway Operate-a-Loco program puts YOU in the engineer’s seat of one of our diesel or steam locomotives. Spend an hour at the throttle on the 8-mile round trip New Hope Valley Railway route through the North Carolina piney woods. Experience the thrill of driving a real railroad locomotive.

The Operate-a-Loco program is open to anyone aged 16 and up with a valid driver’s license. Participants will operate a locomotive that is not connected to a train. Diesel participants will be able to bring up to 2 additional people as riders. Unfortunately, due to the very limited space available, Steam Operate-a-Loco participants will only be able to bring along 1 additional person as a passenger in the cab.

Operate-a-Loco participants who choose the Steam locomotive option will experience what it must have been like to run a steam engine during railroading’s golden age! Sound like fun? It is, but it is not for the faint of heart. Long pants and closed toed shoes are required and long sleeve shirts are recommended. Temperatures inside the steam locomotive cab routinely rise above 14o degrees Fahrenheit (up to 150 degrees in the summer), so be sure you can take the heat! You must be able to climb into the locomotive cab and stand for more than an hour without assistance. Bring your own gloves if you have them, or you can borrow a pair of ours. Steam Operate-a-Loco sessions may take up to two hours depending upon the level of participation.

And yes, you can blow the whistle!

Operate-a-Loco fare is $125 for Diesel / $250 for Steam.