Volunteering

Imagine the satisfaction of hearing the chuff of a steam engine or the chug of a heritage diesel engine come to life, witnessing the smiles on the faces of passengers as they step aboard, and being part of the magic that transports them back in time. As a Cholsey & Wallingford Railway Volunteer, you'll experience all this and more.

What you will do

You will play a vital role in preserving the unique heritage of our rural branch line, working alongside like-minded individuals. This includes:

  • Maintaining and restore historic locomotives and rolling stock.
  • Gaining experience and knowledge to be part of the train crew.
  • Learning the skills to ensure that our track and assets are safely maintained.
  • Recreating a vintage railway experience for visitors.
  • Welcoming and guiding passengers during their visits.
  • Staffing the box office and catering posts.

In 2022 the CWR won the “Small Groups” Award at the Heritage Railway Awards, a fantastic reward for all the volunteers. We are passionate about continual improvement and will make sure that you are heard and become part of the living history of the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway

What we give you

No prior railway experience is necessary! We will provide guidance, training, and encouragement, ensuring you feel confident in your role. As a 100% volunteer run organisation, the volunteers are the heart of the CWR, and there will be a place for you here.

But it's not just about work; it's about the sense of community and camaraderie that comes with being part of the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway family. You'll forge lasting friendships, exchange stories and knowledge with fellow enthusiasts, and create unforgettable memories together.

Ready to embark on this extraordinary adventure?

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a volunteer at the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway. Email: volunteer@bunkline.uk

The Wallingford Fryer - Fish and Chips Train

The Wallingford Fryer. Saturday 17th August.

Enjoy an evening on the Bunk Line with a fish and chip supper.

What our volunteers say

"Volunteering at the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway is a truly rewarding experience. Everyone is really friendly and work together towards a common goal. You can learn new skills, be taken out of your comfort zone if you wish to push yourself or apply your existing skills to help. Not only do you get to work with a great group of people, but you also get to be a part of preserving an important piece of history." - Michael

"I have been volunteering at the railway for over 10 years, and it has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. It's amazing to see how much the railway has grown and improved over the years, and I am proud to be a part of it." Dave

Roles:

Visitor Experience Team

Visitor Experience roles are ideal for new volunteers, as you'll quickly learn about the history of the railway and the various other roles available and can be the first step towards joining our Operations Department. If you’re enthusiastic about engaging with the public and representing the railway, you will form a crucial role in ensuring our visitors have an enjoyable visit. However, there are also numerous behind-the-scenes roles you can undertake. Roles include:

  • Working in the ticket office or in the shop.
  • Helping our passengers on the platform.
  • Working as a Travelling Ticket Inspector (TTI) aboard our trains.
  • Helping with our catering and events.
  • Station maintenance and gardening teams.

Operations

Our Operations Department are responsible for the running of the trains and all positions are ‘safety critical’. All roles require ongoing training and assessments, you will need a certain level of fitness and you will most likely need to undertake medical checks. To work in these roles therefore a higher level of commitment is required from volunteers, and there is a minimum age of 18 for some roles. Although we used the traditional gendered job titles, we have female and male volunteers in these roles.

All operating days require Guards. They responsible for the safety of our trains, making sure each service is prepared properly, that all passengers are safely onboard and provide any assistance required. To train as a Guard you would normally have been a member of our Visitor Experience team working on the platform and as a TTI.

Our Steam Locomotive Department follows the traditional route of Cleaner – Fireman – Driver. Cleaners help preparation in the morning and disposal at the end of the day, whilst learning the basics of steam locos. As Trainee Fireman you’ll take turns learning the necessary skills with our experienced crews, working towards completing training and passing exams to progress to Fireman. As an experienced Fireman you can progress to Trainee Driver and Driver roles.

Within our Diesel Locomotive Department you’ll start as a Trainee Secondman, assisting the driver with preparing the loco and helping during the service, such as coupling up. After qualifying as a Secondman you can progress to train as a Diesel Driver on one of our heritage locos.

Engineering

These roles are hands-on and especially suit people with practical skills, although there are roles for anyone of any ability.

Permanent Way is typically physical work, helping to change sleepers and maintain the track to enable our trains to continue to run. This team manages lineside vegetation, where both safety and environmental concerns are balanced.

Our Diesel and Steam Engineers help with the ongoing maintenance and servicing of our heritage loco fleet, and anyone with experience in these fields is especially welcomed - we can always find you a paintbrush or an oil can. However, if you worked on one of our vehicles in a past life, we would love to know!

From helping to restore our coaching stock, keeping them looking their best both inside and out, as well as more engineering type jobs such as maintaining their braking systems and suspension, roles within the Carriage & Wagon Department are highly varied. They will suit anyone with an interest in or experience in upholstery, carpentry, painting, engineering, and welding amongst other skills. You will be working on our stock of Mk1 coaches and various goods wagons

Administration

There so many of behind-the-scenes roles you can get involved with, from helping with our marketing and event management, accountancy and business administration roles, fundraising, to social media and website. We’d particularly like to hear from anyone with experience or an interest in video production. These activities are particularly accessible if you have limited time where you can get to the railway but want to take an active role.

Start your heritage railway journey today and book your tickets to travel through the countryside on "The Bunk"

Pie and Mash

Pie, mash and a pint. Saturday 29th June.

Enjoy a locally produced meal of Pie, Mash and seasonal vegetables.

The Wallingford Fryer - Fish and Chips Train

The Wallingford Fryer. Saturday 17th August.

Enjoy an evening on the Bunk Line with a fish and chip supper.

Cream Tea

Enjoy a fabulous cream tea whilst riding behind a heritage locomotive through South Oxfordshire. Available Sunday 16th June - SOLD OUT, Sunday 25th August and Monday 26th August.

Our amazing cream teas are back in 2024 with Cream Tea trains running on Fathers Day and various dates during the year.

Start your heritage railway journey today and book your tickets to travel through the countryside on "The Bunk"

Running Days 2024

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