Many of our passengers may not realise is how reliant upon volunteers the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is. There are hundreds of volunteers up and down the line performing a variety of exciting and challenging roles. Once your perfect role has been discovered you could be helping out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway within days.
We are always looking for interested people who can spare some time. There is a wide range of volunteering opportunities available, covering virtually every aspect of the Railway’s activities. Whilst some roles require a significant time commitment, others do not. If you want to get your hands dirty, there are plenty of opportunities, but if manual work is not for you, there is also a wide range of choices. In some cases, you do not even have to come to the Railway to help us.
Volunteering presents you with the opportunity to meet new people, from all walks of life, gain worthwhile skills and results in a real sense of achievement.
There are many different areas that you can volunteer in – below is a list of some of the options:
Operating – The daily operation of the Railway is the responsibility of the Operating Department, which has to provide Guards, Signalmen, Control Staff, Ticket Inspectors, Booking Clerks and Platform Staff and also ensure that trains and stations are clean and tidy. Volunteers are constantly under public gaze, so personal appearance is important and formal training is required for all of these jobs. As well as having significant safety responsibilities, you must also have good communications and personal skills, both for dealing with colleagues and the general public.
Locomotive Footplate – Every boys dream – becoming an Engine Driver. Today the NYMR allows this to become reality. Starting as a Loco Cleaner, you can work your way through the ranks to Fireman, Passed Fireman, then (after a number of years!!) to driver. Being a heritage line, there are opportunities to experience working on a variety of steam locomotives, together with diesel locos and railcars. Engine crews on the NYMR are some of the best on any line, due to the unique challenges the route provides.
Locomotive Engineering – Opportunities are available to either utilise existing skills or gain new ones working on maintenance and heavy overhauls of our fleet of steam and diesel locos.
Carriage and Wagon – The Carriage and Wagon Department carries out major overhauls and repairs to our fleet of coaches at Pickering, including internal refits, body repairs, bogie and brake overhauls. Painting, welding, joinery, plumbing, electrical and upholstery skills are amongst those needed for this work. The volunteers play a critical role in ensuring that our passengers’ journeys are pleasant ones. Depending on where your skills and interests lie, the NYMR has various specialist groups, such as the LNER Coach Association, which restores teak bodied coaches in its purpose-built workshop. A relatively recent development is the establishment of the Railway’s Wagon Group, which cares for our demonstration freight train.
Infrastructure – We have a large number of structures and buildings along the line, which all need maintaining, and, in many instances updating. Volunteers with civil engineering, building and electrical experience are particularly needed – either to work within Station Groups, or directly within the Infrastructure Department.
Permanent Way – The P. W. Department is responsible for the maintenance and renewal of our 18 miles of main line and sidings, which, as well as track and ballast, includes ditches and fences.
Signalling and Telecommunications – The S. & T. Department’s work includes the installation and maintenance of modern colour light signals and traditional semaphores, block signalling, and internal telephone systems. Electrical, mechanical and telecommunications skills are all used.
Station Groups – Each of our four main stations has a supporting Station Group, helping maintain and improve the standard of its station, whilst ensuring the heritage aspects are recognised, respected and promoted. This includes painting, gardening, and building work. The Station Groups also play a key role in the organisation and staffing of the annual programme of Special Events.
Catering – The NYMR provides fantastic food and drink at all its Tea Rooms and on our famous Pullman dining train – there are many roles in the Catering Department, whether preparing, cooking or serving the food and enthusiastic people with a passion for local food are needed who enjoy day-to-day interaction with the customers on the NYMR. Stewards are also required to man on-train catering such as trolleys or buffet cars.
Retail Sales – The railway has a number of shops along the line, at Goathland, Grosmont, Pickering and Whitby. This volunteer work involves direct interaction with passengers and visitors, providing them with an essential support service. Volunteers will learn the necessary knowledge of all aspects of the railway, from operations to timetables, in order to satisfy customer enquiries. Volunteer duties include telesales, stock control, store room assistance, order fulfilment and, of course, shop counter sales. Volunteers here need to be friendly, polite, and approachable and enjoy a direct relationship with the NYMR’s customers.
Customer Services – The Customer Services team is often the first point of contact for our passengers – dealing with enquiries about train services and requests for general information about the Railway, and taking advance bookings for Dining trains, Special Events, NYMR holiday accommodation etc. Contact can be either face to face or by telephone.
Education and Archive – Assistance is needed with planning and development work at our recently opened Education Centre, and volunteers are also needed to conduct school parties round the Railway. The Education Centre also houses the Railway’s archive collection of historic documents and artefacts, where there is an on-going need to catalogue, record, conserve, research and assist with enquiries.
Marketing – Marketing the Railway is an important day-to-day role that provides varied and different challenges every day. Whether promoting the NYMR through local media, distributing publicity material,organising the running of events or coordinating photo opportunities, the Marketing Department has it covered. This department requires keen, hard-working and approachable individuals – preferably with marketing experience.
Administration – With 350,000 people travelling on the NYMR, there inevitably is plenty of administration work to be done behind the scenes. In particular, there is specialist work such as fund raising, where volunteers with the right skills can be involved whilst often working from home.
For some volunteer roles, Criminal Record Bureau checks will be undertaken. For safety critical roles, medicals will be carried out.
Our present volunteers come from all over the country, and even from overseas. Whatever time you have to spare, the Railway will appreciate your commitment. Volunteer accommodation is available. Working volunteers are entitled to a discount in Railway Shops and Tea Rooms. To be a volunteer you need to be member of the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust. To find out more click here.
In addition we often have particular requirements for volunteers in specific roles – some of which can be quite specialised. For a list of some of these please click here.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please use the form below to send us a message, indicating which area you would be interested in.