Volunteer

Make a Difference, make some Memories and have FUN!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Wensleydale Railway.  Without their efforts, there would be nothing for our thousands of visitors to ride on and see the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Our dedicated volunteers come from all walks of life with many different skills; some like to get their hands dirty and others do not; that is up to you!

It is an exciting place to work with never a dull moment! Whether you are passionate about heritage; want to learn new skills; looking to make a difference and make new friends along the way, there is a rewarding role for you at the Railway. Volunteers can give anything from a few hours a month on an ad hoc basis up to a regular amount of time each week. Younger volunteers are very welcome too, but must be at least 14 years old.    

All that we ask is that you become a member of our charity, the Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) and take part in our induction programme.

There are many different areas on the Railway where you can get involved:

Station Support Groups

Each of our four stations (Leeming Bar, Scruton, Bedale and Leyburn) have a Station Support Group helping maintain and improve the standard of the station whilst ensuring the heritage aspects are recognised and promoted. This includes painting, carpentry, gardening, building & fencing repairs.

Direct Works

Help maintain our buildings, platforms, bridges, line side fencing and drains along 22 miles of line. Volunteers with practical, civil engineering, building, carpentry or electrical experience most welcome!

Vegetation Management

An active team working every week tackling the never-ending growth of trees and plants along 22 miles of track with qualified chainsaw operators, general gardeners and bonfire lovers. All training provided.  Volunteers get a baked potato for lunch on cooler days!

Maintenance & Carriage restoration

This team ensures the preservation, refurbishment and maintenance of the diesel locomotives and rolling stock so that they are fit for purpose and ready to run. Basic engineering skills are required for some jobs but so are painting, carpentry, electrical and upholstery skills or you can come and learn new skills. There is huge job satisfaction when the carriage you have been restoring returns to service on the line full of appreciative passengers.

Heritage Education Program

Get involved with our award-winning education programme with schools and community groups on board the train and at the beautifully restored Edwardian station at Scruton where volunteers are dressed in period costume. All volunteers in this team are subject to a DBS check.

Training/Health & Safety

Making sure that everyone is properly trained to do their job on the Railway. All training is provided free from courses run by this team ranging from Induction, First Aid to Guard exams.

Commercial

Running shops and buffets at our stations and on trains giving us the chance to raise much needed income from selling tickets, refreshments, souvenirs and books. You will need to have good customer skills and a sense of humour is essential!

Operations

The daily running of the Railway is the responsibility of the Operations Department with volunteer Guards, Drivers, Level Crossing Keepers, Travelling Ticket Inspectors and Signallers. Most of these roles are in the public eye so personal appearance is important and significant training with exams is required; many are safety critical roles so good communication and interpersonal skills with your colleagues and the public are essential.

Marketing & Fundraising

Whether it is travelling on our trains telling the Wensleydale Railway story and interacting with customers using our contactless card machines or handing out donation envelopes or working in the office or at publicity events and stalls promoting the Railway.

Administration & Events

There is plenty of administration to be done behind the scenes of this heritage railway from dealing with public enquiries – online, face to face, phone or mail; group bookings; special events or IT working in the office. As an Events volunteer you can get involved in a whole host of different initiatives from Gin and Fizz Trains, Murder Mystery Evenings, Afternoon Teas and Curry Nights.

Infrastructure/Permanent Way

Our Permanent Way team carry out a track renewal programme replacing worn out sleepers, rail and ballast to keep the 22 miles safe for our trains to run on. This role is a physical one and good health and fitness is essential.

FAQs

How many volunteers are there?

At the last count we had over 250 volunteers. Yes, really!

Do I need previous experience?

Not at all. Most of our volunteers have no previous experience of working on a railway when they arrive. In most cases we will train new volunteers by having them work alongside existing volunteers.

Are there any age limits?

Our volunteers range from 14 years to the over eighties. Older people can carry on volunteering to any age provided they are fit enough and can do the work safely.

How much time do I have to give?

On the whole it is entirely up to you. Some of our volunteers offer a few days a year; others are never away from the place. Certain jobs on the operating roster have a minimum number of turns, to ensure that staff remain fully conversant with the needs of their role.

Do I have to be a member of the charitable Trust?

Yes, all volunteers must be members, but volunteers are also entitled to 50% off train tickets and receive the railway magazine, Relay.

Need to know more?

Contact Helen Ashworth, the Volunteer Coordinator on 01677 425805 or email volunteer@wensleydalerailway.com