WHRS/Volunteering

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VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES ON THE WELSH HIGHLAND RAILWAY

Volunteering is integral to the operation of the railway. Whilst there is a core of permanent staff the railway relies heavily on volunteer effort to help run and maintain the railway and its infrastructure.


Here is a list of the various groups that provide support for the railway. There are always volunteering opportunities in all areas.

If you would like further information on any of these opportunities then please contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Tony.baker@festrail.co.uk

  • Black Hand Gang

Phase 4 construction work plus track maintenance, line side maintenance and building work.. Workiing parties are on alternative weekends to Rest of the World Gang. This teams been in existence for many years. There is a site here with some photos from 2000-2003 and Phases 2 & 3.

  • Rest of the World Gang

Same working pattern as Black Hand Gang but working on the alternative weekends. Also have a number of working weeks.

For more information of what trackwork entails, please see here

  • Tuesday Gang

General outdoor engineering work.. For example level crossing construction and maintenance,line side vegetation clearance and erection of signage.

  • NG15 Group

The objective of the NG15 group is to work towards providing an ex South African NG15 locomotive to the Welsh Highland by providing both financial and practical support. NG15 Number 134 is being restored at Dinas for future operational use. Working parties take place on the third weekend of every month.

For more information on the work they do, please see here

  • Wylfa Gang

Volunteers carry out safety checks and oiling up of the carriage fleet during the running season. Out of season, they undertake a range of maintenance tasks on the loco fleet and more recently, with funding now in place, have returned to working on 134's restoration, alongside the new "134 Team". The team normally meet at Dinas on a Tuesday night

  • Dinas Engine Shed and Workshops

The Motive Power Dept operates a fleet of steam, and diesel, locos. Of the steam locos, two are oil fired , and the others coal fired. Grading is as follows: Cleaner, Fireman (Trainee), Fireman, Driver (Trainee), Driver.

Applicants should be fit and in good health, be willing to undertake arduous work under difficult conditions, and work long hours. Footplate personnel should be of an outgoing disposition and be able to engage positively with passengers.

At best, the job is exhilarating, and immensely rewarding. Entry into the Grades is dependent upon an inteniew.

At the south end of the Dinas complex there is a workshop and running shed. The workshop is well appointed with machine tools and welding equipment. The running shed has two roads. one with a pit.

The workload is divided between the routine of keeping the serviceable locos in service, and maintaining progress on overhauls.. There is never a lull in the demand for labour.

The nature of the work which can be undertaken depends on the skill of the volunteers available.. Within limits, novices will be given training where appropriate. Workshop volunteers should be of an outgoing disposition, and be able to work cooperatively with others.

For mote infonnation, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.

  • PWDept

Volunteers work with the Permanent Way employed staff team assisting with track maintenance such as tamping and re-alignment. This work is weekdays only. For weekend trackwork, see Black Hand Gang and Rest of The World Gang entries above.

  • Stations & Buildings

Or how about helping out maintaining our stations and building. Perhaps even helping construct a new station building. The stations are mainly looked after through the Society's Adopt a Station scheme, however, there's nothing to stop you joining one of the groups looking after a specific station. The tasks involved are the sort of thing you'd do about your own property and grounds. If you fancy something more constructive, but still want somewhere where you can watch trains come and go then there's program in place for the construction of station shelters and buildings. Woodworking, painting or just simply being able to wield a hammer and screwdriver is all that's needed.

On a more general nature, this department covers both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland lines and covers buildings from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Caernarfon. Volunteers would work with the head of the buildings department assisting with a variety of projects.

For more information on the work they do, please see here

  • Train Crew - Operating Dept

Don't fancy anything too practical, or aren't interested in messy engines? Then perhaps working in the comfort of the coaching stock is for you. Guards, Buffet Staff, selling guide books... they're all jobs that need doing, and volunteers do them.

Guards

The Operating Department is always looking out for suitable volunteers to become guards. You must be able to learn the railway’s rules and its route; learn to operate ticketing machines, credit card machines and mobile phones. They are also looking for early birds who are willing to come in at the crack of dawn and help us clean our carriages inside and out. Firstly wash the grime off the outside and get the observation window sparkling on the Observation Car. Then it is on -to the inside, run a vacuum cleaner over the carpets including the Pullman car , clean the tables and clean the windows; and all before 09:30. We also need station cleaners to sweep the platform, empty bins and general tidying up.

Buffet Trolley

During the operating season we need volunteers to assist with the buffet trolley taking it down the train serving light refreshments as well as hot and cold drinks to our customers. Training will be provided.

Shop and Booking Office

The railway has a shop and booking office at Caernarfon; at busy times help is needed here selling books, toys and general railwayana. Also training can be given to people who might aspire to the selling of tickets.

  • Gardening

A good number of the stations on the Railway have gardens of some sort. All these need to be kept in good order, especially in the summer months. If you like the outdoors and seeing things grow then take a look at the Landscaping Group for more details.

For more information on the work they do, please see here

  • Wagons Rolling stock

Believe it or not, the railway now possesses more than 30 wagons, some serviceable, some not. Much of the work has, until recently, been undertaken by one volunteer on a part time basis. Having built them, they get used. When they get used, they either get damaged, or need servicing so they can continue to be used.

For more information on this, please see here

  • Homework Jobs

On top of the above there are always jobs that can be done away from the Railway. Take the East Anglian Group, they have regular working parties at their base doing wagon work and making station signs to mention a few. If you're 'a loner' then there'll be small (or larger) jobs that can be done in the comfort of you own home or workshop.

  • Hyfforddiant a HwyI - Youth Training

This is in the formative stage and is intended to provide training initia to half a dozen young people aged 16 & 17. If you would like to register an interest contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

  • Special Events

From time to time the railway holds special events such as the Real Ale Festival and Super Power Weekend. For these types of events, stewards and persons to undertake other duties are always required. If you would like to be included on a contacts list please notify the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

  • Area Groups Homework

Some of the Area Groups operate homework projects in the area in which they operate, For more details contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

  • Heritage Group

The Heritage group acts as the railway’s historical conscience with a remit to preserve, restore, and replicate. Projects in the pipeline include a replica water tank for Beddgelert and a replacement crossing box for Cae Pawb (Cambrian Crossing). A working party is held at Tryfan Junction on the first Saturday of the month.

For more information on this, please see their own website, here


  • So whatever it is, whatever your skills we can assure you there's a job here just waiting for you to do it. There's no point in waiting to see if someone else will do it, more than likely they won't - it needs you to do it for us. And don't forget we're a very sociable lot. There'll be a enormous welcome for you and there'll be plenty to do social wise once the railway has shut for the day.

Much more information is available in the Societies own Groups, and Projects, pages with details of who to contact and how are on the Society Contacts page.

See also[edit]