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Becoming a volunteer on the Bluebell Railway

Why not join us on a Find out more day - now held monthly.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The successful running of the railway depends largely on the voluntary efforts of the society's members in a wide variety of duties. Whether you are male or female - an active senior citizen - found time on your hands through early retirement - or a younger member, if you can attend regularly, now and then or just for a week's holiday, a welcome awaits you.

You will meet plenty of new people and perhaps learn new skills and widen your experience. Obviously some jobs are more popular than others, some you cannot walk straight into such as engine drivers, which can take some training. We all started from scratch and the more you learn about, and work on, the railway the more likely your chances of eventually finding your niche. Most departments accept people from 16 years of age and our oldest working members are in their 80's. Working members only can enjoy travel benefits on other selected private railways.

We need YOU to help us. By joining the Society, your subscription helps the railway financially. You also have the opportunity to be a volunteer working member in any of the many departments. Details on some of these departments are shown below, including links to some departmental recruiting pages.

  • BUFFET STEWARDS - The train buffets and bars are well patronised by the public, and assistance would be most welcome.
  • CARRIAGE PRESENTATION - A thorough cleaning before or after the day's running is supplemented by extra work during the day to keep the carriages in good condition for the public.
  • CARRIAGE AND WAGON - skills in metalworking, carpentry, plumbing, wiring, trimming, painting, varnishing and sign writing are among those deployed in maintenance and restoration. While previous experience is useful but not necessary, enthusiasm is vital.
  • FENCING - A gang meet on the third Sunday in each month to repair and rebuild fences, mostly along the lineside providing constructive outdoor exercise in all seasons.
  • GUARDS - Training can be arranged, but volunteers without previous experience are advised to spend some time on station duties to obtain necessary operating knowledge before applying.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE - details of the volunteer teams operating on various days each week. Outdoor exercise on the track itself.
  • LOCOMOTIVE RUNNING - New members begin as cleaners with opportunities for promotion to firemen and driver in due course.
  • LOCOMOTIVE WORKS - fitters, turners, painters, and general helpers are required and training can be given. Assistance to the permanent staff would be particularly useful. Apart from major and minor repairs, several important restoration projects are in progress. For the Maunsell Locomotive Society: e-mail Peter Jessup.
    To see details of the team restoring SECR P-class No.27, see their Project 27 Blog and Facebook page.
  • MUSICIANS - Join the Bluebell Railway Band. Contact the EGCB/BRB directly, rather than the Bluebell team.
  • SHOP - The shop at Sheffield Park is popular with the public and a very useful source of income for the railway. Counter staff are needed. Staff may be requested to submit references.
  • SIGNAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS - Electrical and mechanical work on signalling equipment, and maintenance of the internal telephone system. Some experience in any of those fields is desirable.
  • SIGNALMEN - Full theoretical and practical training will be given, but volunteers without previous experience are required to spend some time on station duties to obtain necessary operating knowledge before applying.
  • TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT - STATION STAFF - duties include greeting the public at the ticket barrier, answering the many questions they may have regarding the railway, collecting supplementary fares on the observation car when it is running. Platform duties include the prompt and safe departure of trains, the cleaning of the station towards the end of each day, and also during the day, if it is not busy. Opportunities for training in the booking office, and also for signalman and guards are given subject to suitability. More details are available for:
  • TRAVELLING TICKET INSPECTORS - it is desirable to have a TTI on all trains, not only to check tickets, but to help our passengers with the many questions they may have about the railway.
  • OTHER VACANCIES - Vacancies also exist at all stations for painters, gardeners, general maintenance and handymen.

Join one of our "Find out More Days" for a tour behind the scenes, which will show the variety of roles for which we are looking for new volunteers across the various departments of the Railway, or to discuss what you might be interested in doing.

There are some basic requirements which must be fulfilled before you become a volunteer, such as being a BRPS member, and drinking copious quantities of tea (while on duty) or occasionally something stronger afterwards! Common to all the engineering departments is the issue of safety.

For younger members (aged between 9 and 16) The 9F Club provides an opportunity to get involved with the railway.

For more information about membership, please see the Membership Details Webpage.

To get involved, please join us on a Find out more day - held monthly.


Join us on a Find out more day

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Volunteering: Sheffield Park - Horsted Keynes - Buffet Cars - Loco - C&W - Infrastructure - Fencing Gang - 9F Club
Must Do - Safety

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