The Weardale Railway is mainly run by volunteers whose contribution is essential to the running of the railway and its long term future. You can be part of this by becoming a working member in one of our many departments. Generally you do not need specific experience as training will be provided in your chosen area.
Volunteers are always in demand whether helping in operations as a driver, guard, crossing keeper, etc, station duties in the shop, cafe, ticket office, or behind the scenes maintaining and refurbishing rolling stock and track. All volunteers need the protection of training and the Trust's Insurance, therefore it is in everyone's interest that:
All volunteers must first become members of the Trust.
Upon receipt of the completed Trust application form and payment, new members are invited to list their areas of interest, any relevant skills and an indication of the time available to the Volunteer Coordinator via an email to email@example.com who will then put them in touch with the relevant team leader.
So how can I help?
We always have regular duties and also one-off projects that we need help with, so whether you are working, retired, at home, studying or maybe looking to develop your career or skills, volunteering with Weardale Railway is a fantastic way to spend your time. Listed below are some of the main areas where volunteers are needed.
Stanhope Station Gift Shop
The gift shop at Stanhope is operated and managed by volunteers. It is always busy, selling postcards, books, magazines, souvenirs and children's railway toys. The shop makes a significant contribution to the Trust’s income.
Trust gift shop at Stanhope Station
Maintenance Depot - Traction & Rolling Stock
The depot at Wolsingham is where the Trust maintains and restores the coaches and locomotives. For coach restoration skills in carpentry, metalworking, upholstery, plumbing, varnishing, painting, sign writing, trimming, wiring would all be of use but not essential as training is provided. For locomotive maintenance, engineering experience is a distinct asset but painters and general helpers are every bit as much in demands as fitters, turners, etc. The work covers steam and diesel traction, including No. 40 and our diesel multiple units.
If you have green fingers, you would be welcome to help look after our stations at Stanhope, Frosterley, Wolsingham and Witton le Wear.
Hanging baskets under the canopy at Stanhope Station
We have two gated road level crossings in regular use at Broadwood near Frosterley and Witton-le-Wear, with a third on the Stanhope to Eastgate section at Unthank. Crossing keepers are responsible for opening and closing the gates to allow trains to pass safely.
This role requires a period of training before being assessed to be a fully qualified guard. The guard, contrary to popular belief, is in charge of the train. The driver thinks he is, but the guard knows better!
Travelling Ticket Inspectors
Sell the tickets, answer the enquiries and generally meet the public. This role is very much the first point of contact for our customers when they travel with us. A good knowledge of the railway and the local area is an asset!
Newcomers to the steam department will begin as cleaners and progress to become fireman and drivers. To operate our diesels, you will progress through being a traction trainee, secondman and finally driver. This can take considerable time dependant on your availability, your own competence and turns available. We are required to follow the policies of Weardale Railway Limited.
Out and about working on the track itself. Fencing, ballasting, walking the line, checking the track, cutting back lineside growth are all vital jobs. The work can be fairly strenuous but will be tailored to suit your specific requirements.
Sunday Gang clearing vegetation alongside the track
Promotion and Marketing
If you can help in this area you would be especially welcome. The railway is busy in the peak holiday months but is always seeking ways to fill seats ‘out of season’. We are also looking to increase our exposure to the corporate market and the travel trade.
Trust promotional display at Shildon NRM
Station Platform Staff
Duties consist of overseeing the safe and punctual departure of trains, answering queries from the passengers, and generally ensuring their safety. Some assistance is always useful to assist wheelchair bound passengers on and off the train and to escort them safely across the railway. Helping to keep the station tidy and assisting with special events are also important parts of the station staffs' duties.
Vacancies also exist for handymen, painters, etc, to do the general upkeep necessary to keep our stations looking neat and tidy.
Maintenance on the canopy at Stanhope Station
And the benefits...
Great company, a friendly working environment, free travel on the railway and a quarterly newsletter. Interested? Please don't let a perceived lack of skill deter you. Full on the job training is given as necessary. But the main thing is to come and enjoy yourself! In short, if you have the time and enthusiasm we can make use of you! Remember, potential volunteers must first become members of the Weardale Railway Trust for insurance purposes. If you have any queries please contact the Trust via
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with the appropriate person.