Help us run the railway

Almost everyone you see at the Kent & East Sussex Railway is a volunteer and behind the scenes there are many more. The Trustees are volunteers, as are many of the people who are restoring and maintaining the locomotives, coaches, signalling, track and stations.

Without the commitment of our volunteers we would not exist. Can you help? We would love to welcome you! There are some incredible volunteering opportunities available that will broaden your mind, your circle of friends and teach you new skills too. Studies have shown time & again that volunteering is good for you - it can give you a fantastic sense of pride and achievement.

There is always lots to do. But there's also lots of tea involved!

How can I get started?

Have you a specific interest you enjoy or that you want to achieve? Do you want to learn a new skill?

What could I do?

There's an extraordinary range of skills needed to keep the railway running and you'd be amazed at what you can do with the support of our great teams. Here's a small selection of some of the opportunities available:

Operating

Keeping our visitors on the move. Our Drivers, Firemen, Cleaners, Guards, Signalmen or Crossing Keepers are all trained in-house.

Forestry & Conservation

Keep the railway safe and attractive by maintaining the lineside vegetation.

Locomotive Department

Steam & diesel locomotive restoration and maintenance in our workshops at Rolvenden station. A group of volunteers known as The Saturday Gang contribute to the work of the department - to see what they have been up to recently, you can read their blog here.

Carriage & Wagon Department

Visitors spend most of their time with us in one of our historic carriages. Our purpose built workshop at Tenterden tackles every aspect of restoration and maintenance of a fleet that ranges in age from the 1870's to the 1960's.

Signals & Telecommunications

Provide, restore and maintain our signals, IT and internal telephone network - we have one of the longest traditional telegraph pole routes in the UK.

Civil Engineering and Permanent Way

Ensuring our visitors experience a safe and attractive railway by planning, maintaining and developing the railway's infrastructure and trackwork.

Catering

Keep our visitors topped up with that essential element of railway operation. Tea! The Station Refreshment Rooms at Tenterden, Northiam Tea Room and Bodiam Station all help keep the wheels turning. There's usually also an on-board trolley service for those who cant get enough of riding our trains - for free! The 'Wealden Pullman' dining train offers yet more opportunities to acquire new skills, including traditional silver service.

Travelling Ticket Inspectors

Do you like meeting new people? You'd make a great TTI or on-train guide! It's not just about checking their tickets on the trains. It's about sharing your passion & enhancing the customer experience.

Booking Office & Platform Staff

As you'll often be the first point of contact, the welcome and level of care you provide to our visitors is paramount. You'll need to acquire a good knowledge of the line, as the questions you'll be asked are as varied as the customers we greet!

Museum

The award winning Colonel Stephens Railway Museum is a fantastic example of what can be achieved in a relatively small space. Many of our museum attendants have previously worked in other roles around the railway, but the common factor amongst us is enjoying meeting people!

Gardening

The Gardening Group, co-ordinated by Veronica Hopker (01303 862811), goes from strength to strength. But don't worry, you don't need to be Monty Don to join us!

Gift Shop

As a registered educational charity, our retail activities are an essential element in ensuring that the railway continues to prosper for future generations to enjoy. You'll need a keen eye for presentation & an engaging personality, but the most essential requirement is a great sense of humour!

What if I can't make a regular commitment?

We all lead busy lives and can't always commit to a regular pattern of time. But the advantage of volunteering is that you don't have to! Neither do you have to be a "railway person" to get involved - most of our staff come from backgrounds that have nothing to do with railways. But you do need to be a Member of the Kent & East Sussex Railway Company before you can volunteer. And for some jobs, principally those that involve operating the trains, it may be necessary to have a simple medical. But we take care of that, because we take care of YOU!

To find out more or to attend one of our prospective volunteer taster days, contact our Volunteer Recruitment Officer or fill in the form below. You're assured of a very warm welcome!

View our 'Help us run the Railway' leaflet