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General Travel Conditions of the HSB

 Here you find more information.

Steam Engine Taster Course (3 days)

Come and experience the everyday life of a steam engine driver in our short ‘intensive course’.


There are certain requirements that apply to anyone who wants to work on a steam locomotive.

  • One basic requirement is that your senses (sight and hearing) meet at least the requirements of a normal driver (not a professional driver).
  • The use of aids such as glasses or hearing aids is permitted.
  • Because a shift can last up to nine hours and there are no long breaks in between, you need to be sufficiently physically fit.
  • We would like to inform you that there is no place to sit inside a steam locomotive and that unavoidable impacts (e.g. when entering curves and points and from rail joints) while driving are transmitted with little shock absorption.
  • You will ride on the steam engine to the Brocken at least once. This means that you need to expect fluctuations in temperature and air pressure during the day.
  • You will necessarily come into contact with greases, oils, smoke, soot etc. while on the steam locomotive.
  • You will be provided with a locker for the duration of the course, in which you can keep your work and ordinary clothes. Of course, you can also make use of the sanitary facilities of the locomotive staff (wash basins, showers, WC etc.). You should bring your own hygiene items such as soap, towels and flip flops.
  • You do not need any prior knowledge with regard to the structure and function of the steam engine nor of the rules of railway operation (signalling, operating regulations etc.) to take part in the taster course.
  • The language of the course is German.

Clothing and food

  • You need ordinary work clothes for working on the steam engine, i.e. long trousers made from robust material (e.g. jeans), sturdy shoes with good grip and an appropriate top for the weather conditions, with long sleeves if possible.
  • You will be lent a black work jacket. You can also purchase this from us if you like.
  • As the weather in the Oberharz, and especially on the Brocken, can often be very harsh, we recommend that you bring with you an item of windproof and waterproof clothing.
  • We also recommend a hat of some kind – you can purchase an engine driver’s cap made from real leather from us.
  • When driving a steam engine, regular mealtimes and opportunities to purchase food and drinks are not possible. The break times are very short and are dictated by the timetable. We ask that you bear this in mind.

Accident prevention and insurance

  • At the start of the course, a member of HSB staff will teach you about the dangers connected with railway and steam engine operation.
  • The HSB will not accept liability in the case of soiling or damage to your own clothes or personal items (e.g. cameras).
  • In the case of damage inflicted upon you by HSB - such as due to carelessness by our staff or a technical fault - you are insured as part of our company's general public liability insurance.
  • In addition, we recommend that you take out private accident insurance, as we do not cover damage through fault of your own (e.g. on the way to and from the training or through failure to follow instructions).

Objective of the course

  • It is not possible to teach all the expertise needed to work as an engine driver in three days
  • The taster course is intended to give you a chance to see what it is like to serve on a steam locomotive under real conditions – not always easy or pleasant.
  • This includes not only driving, but also repairing and maintaining a steam engine.
  • The course can also serve as preparation for training as an amateur engine driver on the HSB at a later date.
  • At the end of the course, you will be named “Amateur Engine Driver – Applicant”, documented by an attractively designed certificate.

Taster course schedule

During the taster course, you will take part in a normal service shift of a member of engine staff in normal operation, as an observer.

Safety and punctuality are the top priorities in railway operation. The engine staff – especially the engine driver – cannot be divested of their responsibility for these. We would therefore like to inform you that you must follow the instructions of the engine driver at all times. You should not inhibit the work of the staff; it is not possible for you to take actions on the steam engine yourself.

1st day

Arrival (8:30 am), welcome, occupational safety briefing, briefing on site, trip on a steam engine

2nd day Participation in a full shift for a member of steam engine staff, including preparing for the journey and “stripping down” the engine
3rd day Participation in a full shift for a member of steam engine staff, including preparing for the journey and “stripping down” the engine

Training times, leisure time

You will take part in a normal working day for a member of steam engine staff. This also means that you will be subject to the same working hours regime as our engine staff, at least on day two. This means:

  • Shifts begin and end at irregular times
  • The shift can start between 7:30 am and 3:00 pm, and end between 2:00pm and 9:00 pm
  • Shifts last up to 9 hours

Shifts begin and end in Wernigerode. In consultation with you, we will attempt to fit in with your personal preferences regarding start and end times on the days in question.

Accommodation during the training

On request, we will be happy to organise accommodation for you in comfortable hotels or guesthouses in Wernigerode. Because accommodation prices can fluctuate depending on the hotel category requested and the season (from €50.00 per night including breakfast), specific arrangements can only be made once a binding date has been set for the course. The number of nights (e.g. arrival on Thursday, departure on Monday) can also be arranged individually.

Price and dates

The steam engine taster course costs €439.00.

If you would like any more information or to ask about dates, please contact Ms Bruder on tel.: +49 (0) 3943/558-151, fax: +49 (0) 3943/558-155, e-mail: cbruder@hsb-wr.de or use our contact form for enquiries with no obligation.