Engineer For A Day

Have you always wanted to be an engineer? Does a member of your family want to be an engineer? Are you looking for a Birthday or Father’s Day gift idea they will never forget? Come enjoy a once in a lifetime experience by becoming an “Engineer For A Day.”

How will you spend your day? Arrive at the Uxbridge Station yard at 8:00 am. The train will depart the station at 10:00 am for Stouffville and will return to the Uxbridge Station at 1:15 pm.

Engineer waving
Malcolm waving from 3612

Upon arrival you will meet the assigned engineer, the conductor and the rest of the crew. You will be given basic safety instructions along with a copy of the Operating Timetable and Daily Operating Bulletin. As we operate on track controlled by CN Rail, you will be able to view the CN daily instructions. You will accompany the engineer to the assigned locomotive, then you and the engineer will tour the locomotive and carry out any pre-start inspections. At this point you may have gotten slightly dirty so you’ll be glad that you are wearing work clothes. The engineer will then allow you to start the diesel engine.

While in the cab you will get to watch and listen as the engineer and train crew convey instructions back and forth. Your first lesson will be as the locomotive is run from its storage location to the front (known as the head-end) of the train and coupled up. As the train’s brakes are tested and other systems set up you will have the option of following the conductor through the brake test routines on the ground or remaining in the cab with the engineer.

View from the engineer chair
View from the locomotive

At departure time the conductor advises the “head end crew” that it’s safe to proceed and the engineer will show you how to ring the bell and pull the handle for whistles. Watch him as he gently pulls on the throttle. Don’t forget to wave at the passengers on the platform.

Along the way you will be invited to ring the bell and whistle for the road crossings. Once we arrive at Stouffville there will be a break to join the crew, have a coffee and eat those sandwiches or snacks you brought in your lunch pail.

All too soon it’s back on board and we back the train to Goodwood, so the engine assistant will be at the other end of the train sending instructions by radio to the engineer. If you wish, you may join him there or stay with the engineer in the cab. Once in Goodwood, the engine is uncoupled from the train and “run round” to the (new) front end, coupled up, brakes are tested and it’s off to Uxbridge.

When the day is complete at 1:30 pm, you may keep your visibility vest and your York-Durham engineer’s hat as souvenirs.

locomotive control board
Control board


The cost is $400 + HST. The fare includes two complementary tickets for your friends or family to ride in the train when you are in the cab. Sorry, but family members or friends cannot be in the cab with you when the train or engine is moving – they are welcome to join you during the breaks.

Booking Policy

Payment must be received in full at the time of reservation. Refunds will only occur if the trip is cancelled by the York-Durham Heritage Railway or if you advise us at least three weeks prior to the date of the trip. If cancelled by us, you will be provided the choice of re-reserving or having your payment refunded in full.

To make a reservation, please send an e-mail to with a title line of Engineer For A Day.


When do you offer this ride?
From the first Sunday operation in June and each scheduled Sunday run right through to the end of October.

How old must I be to qualify for Engineer For A Day?
You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the Engineer For A Day. You will sign a release form before departure.

What should I wear and bring?
You will require sensible work shoes (open toed shoes and sandals are not permitted), work gloves and jeans or overalls. Please keep in mind that your clothes could get dirty. Earplugs are suggested. We will provide a complimentary crew visibility vest and a York-Durham Railway Engineer’s Hat. We suggest bringing your lunch.

Can I bring a camera?
Absolutely! We encourage you to bring a camera to remember the occasion.

Can I purchase a seat aboard the engine rather than purchasing the Engineer For A Day pass?
No, but we allow our guests to visit the locomotive cab while the train is at stopovers.