Experience an authentic Rattler journey aboard the footplate with our drivers!

In purchasing this experience you are contributing to the preservation of heritage rail in Queensland.

This experience operates on Wednesday and Sunday Classic Rattler Run, and is also available as a Gift Voucher!

About the experience

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a steam train driver? Now, you can get a taste of the action! Upgrade to our Footplate Friends Experience, and you can ride as a guest in the cab with the train drivers. This is one of the most unique experiences the Sunshine Coast has on offer and is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself or offer as a gift to your train-loving friends or family. Plus, this experience contributes to the preservation of heritage rail in Queensland!

The Footplate Friends Experience Package includes a morning briefing with the Rattler train crew, morning tea, return steam train footplate cab ride, Mary Valley Rattler high vis vest, cap, pin, and lunch with the crew. All guests will be included in the Footplate Friends below.

Due to our comprehensive safety measures at the Mary Valley Rattler, guests must be 18 years of age to partake in the Footplate Friends Experience.

Our Footplate Friends

Andrew Farriss

4th November, 2019 – First Footplate Friend!


Thank you to all the Mary Valley Rattler team for a truly fantastic footplate experience! A once in a lifetime and thoroughly enjoyable opportunity to ride a living, fiery steam engine working from the footplate… beyond amazing!!

Footplate Friends Experience

03rd September, 2023


It was a great day, fantastic experience and would recommend it to anyone!!!!!

Colin Footplate Friends

30th August, 2023


One of the best things I have ever done. I think both drivers (Tony and Tanis) made me feel like one of the crew and explained how the engine operated. I even had to work. Sort of. They were great. All the staff I met on the day were excellent and you could tell that they all love trains, especially the Rattler.

Bradley Edwards Footplate Friend

07th June, 2023


I’ve just done the Footplate Friends Gympie to Amamoor return trip on the “Spirit Of The Mary Valley” steam train. What an amazing experience and a terrific way to spend a Sunday Morning.
The drivers Tim & Tanis made me feel very welcome and the pies for lunch heated on top of the boiler on the way out just topped it off.
We had to make a couple of unscheduled stops on the way back, one for a dog and another for a sheep but this just added to the experience.
If you are a train buff or just interested in how these engines work I would highly recommend putting this trip on your list.

Jonathon Young

27th May, 2023


My wife organised a ride as a Footplate Friend on the Mary Valley Rattler for my 25th birthday after I mentioned that I would appreciate such an experience endlessly. From blowing the whistle for excited spectators along the line, talking extensively with the drivers, enjoying the views, and feeling the steam train cruise along the tracks for the first time made for an incredible day that I will never forget. As a new face to steam engines, but a lover of old machines, I learned and experienced so much over the trip meeting and talking with the wonderful volunteers. I wish everyone involved in providing this experience the very best and can not thank them enough for what they do, nor overstate the quality of the experience I received. Brilliant!

Thomas Stoitse

16th November, 2022


Absolutely fantastic journey! The drivers were great! I loved the whole experience.


15th June, 2022


Mind boggling day, Bill & Mal were fantastic! Marvellous experience something I’ll never forget.

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11th May, 2022


Awesome train drivers were the best! Terrific.


08th May, 2022


I had an awesome day on my Footplate Experience, with drivers Peter and Tim, and Declan in the Guards Van.  I’ve always loved trains, and Peter and Tim were so knowledgeable explaining how the steam train works.  I loved the hands on experience of shovelling the coal, and operating the water lever, and feeling like part of the crew.  My husband did the VIP Club Car experience.  Next time, hubby and I will swap experiences.  We had breakfast in the café, complete with piano serenade.  A wonderful day, and we thoroughly recommend it.  Well done, and thank you, to all the staff and volunteers for providing this memorable activity.


6th October, 2021


Fantastic experience! Great Crew. Once in a lifetime experience.


22nd September, 2021


Really enjoyable! Highly recommend, was very informative.

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12th September, 2021


Wonderful experience, Tim & Tony a wealth of information. Recommend to everyone! 😊

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11th July 2021


Fantastic day! I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, drivers were friendly and shared a lot of information!

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30th May 2021


It is a must do experience – just do It! It was amazing the crew answered all my questions, I can’t stop grinning!

Allan Slack

21st March 2021


It was a great day, I have wanted to do it for years!


28th February 2021

Stuart Adcock

I was lucky enough to get the A team of drivers Peter and Adrian, their years of experience was brilliant to watch with both driving and firing. I have been a railway enthusiast all my life and I’m lucky enough to own a miniature live steam locomotive that I run on a small railway on my property. I had an idea on what the day would be like and I’m happy to say it was better than I had ever imagined. A truly fantastic opportunity, if you are reading this and thinking maybe, just book it, you won’t be disappointed.

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14th February 2021


The Footplate Friend Experience was a Valentine’s Day present and was just the best day ever. Riding the Rattler is always a great day, but on the Footplate is just a whole different level altogether. The experience is just absolutely amazing – I wore ‘The Rattler Grin’ all day long!

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24th January 2021


All the staff were very helpful and friendly but special thank you to Peter and Chris for the amazing experience. I highly recommend

Rosita Day

13th December 2020


I had a great day on the Rattler. Very, very cool! A super fun experience. Thanks to Adrian and Darryl for sharing their knowledge with me and to all the friendly staff at Mary Valley Rattler. I wouldn’t mind doing it again!

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8th November 2020


I was very impressed by the friendliness and curtesy shown to myself, brother and sister by all volunteers and staff, we felt everyone wanted to be there and make or day as enjoyable as possible.

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17th October, 2020


Wow, what an experience. I had no idea there was such an art to driving a steam train. I learned so much sitting up front, and then it was awesome to indulge in a little luxury in the Club Car on the return. A great day out. Thank you.

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11th October, 2020


Best day of my life. The staff and volunteers were so kind, knowledgeable and friendly.

Footplate Friend 4th October 2020

4th October, 2020


I absolutely loved it, it was worth every cent!


13th September,2020


The drivers go out of their way to make you feel like you’re part of the team, and keep you in the loop with everything they’re doing while driving the engine. It’s absolutely the best seat to have on the Rattler.


4th March, 2020


A brilliant day and another footplate day added to my list of engines around the world. A great team to work with!

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1st March, 2020


“It was a great experience, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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19th January, 2020


I had a very enjoyable time doing the footplate experience, both drivers were very friendly& happy to share their knowledge!


5th January, 2020


The entire experience was awesome – especially helping ‘fire’ as we came up the bank!

Will Gould 3rd January

3rd January 2020


It was a great day! I would do it all over again.


29th December, 2019


It was amazing to see how the mechanics of the steam engine work! The drivers were really informative.

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26th December, 2019


I appreciated the experience and would do it again!

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How was your experience?