Volunteering with us
Like all heritage railways, the Epping Ongar Railway could not operate without our friendly team of volunteers and helpers as well as the local businesses and groups that kindly assist.
Volunteers undertake all the jobs that are essential for the safe and smooth operation of the railway, both the jobs that might first come to mind, as well as many that may go unnoticed, but are never the less essential to making the trains run, whether it is...
- Selling tickets
- Helping passengers onto the train
- Being part of our on-train teams - a guard, train driver, fireman or ticket inspector
- Safely signalling trains
- Helping out in the shops, refreshment facilities and museum display
- Keeping our stations and coaches clean and tidy
- Being a bus conductor on our vintage bus to Epping
- Caring for and restoring our heritage rolling stock
- Restoring and maintaining the stations and gardens
- Keeping the track in good order
- Managing the vegetation and environmental ecosystems along our beautiful line
- Maintaining drains, bridges and structures
- Working on keeping the steam and diesel locomotives running that haul the trains
With the huge variety of tasks, the railway can often be likened to a small town - and everyone is welcome and no matter how you choose to help, everyone plays an important part in ensuring the railway can operate trains and our visitors enjoy their visit. Please do not feel apprehensive - we all started from scratch!
We have teams that meet on both weekdays, and at weekends, and there is always a friendly welcome for new faces. It's an excellent way to meet new people, find a new life-goal, do something different, work towards achieving something rewarding, or passing on your experiences. You can come by yourself and find many new friends of all ages, or bring your partner / family and achieve something together.
You might find yourself working on an item that is over 100 years old, and getting it working / looking as it used to be can be very rewarding, especially when the public can then both enjoy seeing it operate and learn about our transport heritage by seeing it in action.
Perhaps you have always been interested in the branch, or live locally and would like to put something back into the local community? With our goal to once again run trains to Epping; the more people helping out (in any capacity) the sooner we will achieve this goal, both improving the local transport network and encouraging tourism. For many, volunteering provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of their busy working lives; for some of our long-standing members, its a way to keep themselves active in their retirement. There’s also a number of junior volunteers who use their passion for this Heritage Railway to help them learn new skills and meet new people. Whatever your own story, you can be sure of a warm welcome and appreciation for all and any time you can spare to help out.
Our volunteers are both male and female, and range from 16 to 85 - there really are jobs for all tastes, abilities and there is no minimum commitment, you come down when-ever you feel able.
No prior railway experience is necessary! Many of our volunteers started with no prior experience, so don’t fret if you haven’t worked on Railways before – if you’re willing to learn and can follow instructions safely, you’ll still be welcome to get involved at Essex’s longest Heritage Railway. We have people within the teams that can pass on their knowledge, and if you are able to come regularly (perhaps once a month), you can soon become an active part in operating our local heritage railway.
Our teams restoring heritage items can sometimes benefit from people with particular skills, such as brick-laying, plastering, plumbing, welding, carpentry, electrical, upholstery or painting, but just as important are those people who help with the marketing, fund raising or collating information in the historical archives.
Epping Ongar Railway prides itself in providing a safe and rewarding volunteering experience, and you can always raise any questions with your team leader. We also have Volunteer Coordinators who are there to ensure you enjoy every stage of your volunteering, and ensure that you can progress and learn new skills or roles.
Find out what our friendly teams of volunteers have been doing in the last few work parties on the Department Diary.
What our volunteers say...
You can find out what some of volunteers think of their experience by following these links:
How to find out more...
If your volunteering instincts or perhaps a love of railways have been stirred and would like either some more information or a volunteer form, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Contact Form.
All our volunteers must be members of the Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society. Details of membership can be found here.