Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway


Volunteering at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

The guard cleaning carriages. (C) Dave Outibridge Did you know that the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway is maintained and operated entirely by volunteers? - and we always need more to help lighten the load!

Whatever your background or skills we can find a role that will allow you to contribute towards making the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway a successful heritage line. You could also find a sense of job satisfaction that may be missing from your daily life.

A P-Way 'outing' to Healy Mills to collect materials from Leeds First remodelling. (C) YDRMT We are particularly keen to recruit people from all walks of life and all age groups to train as operating staff, e.g. guards, signal men, footplate crew, station staff, on-train buffet staff, shop assistants and tea room staff so that we can offer a fully staffed and operational railway plus shops and tea rooms on every operating day. We run trains every day in Summer and your help can make all the difference!

Operating staff are also encouraged to take on another role within the railway and our railway is operated by the same people who restore and maintain locomotives and carriages, lay and maintain track and signals, maintain and decorate buildings.

Driver with Wheldale in platform 2 at Embsay. (C) Andy Lister Full training is provided and, although it may take some time to make the step up to engine driver, there are immediate vacancies for all roles.

Do you feel that you are stuck in a rut at weekends? Do you fancy a holiday with a difference? Join the volunteers of the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales!

written by Dave Barlow

What can I do?

There are many jobs on offer to you at our Railway and we hope you will come and help us in whatever capacity you feel most suitable. Many duties such as booking clerk, platform staff, T.T.I, guard, signalman and footplate crew work to a roster where you will be required to give your availability in advance. Other areas, like carriage and wagon or locomotives are co-ordinated by their departmental managers.

  • Booking Clerks
    Booking Clerks represent one of the first steps in the operating department. If you are good and comfortable dealing with the public and don’t mind handling money, then you may like to consider joining our Railway as a Booking Clerk. The Booking Clerk is normally the passengers’ first point of contact with the Railway and it is essential that the person behind the ticket window and on the platform gives passengers a good impression. The Railway has two operational booking offices at Embsay Station and Bolton Abbey Station. Booking Clerks work to a roster.

    (C) Stephen Walker

  • Platform Staff
    Anyone who is interested in joining the Platform Staff should enjoy meeting and dealing with the general public. Platform Staff must be smart in appearance, be polite, create a lasting impression on our visitors and they must be friendly and approachable. The Platform Staff are responsible for the general safety and well being of the passengers, both arriving at the station and also boarding and alighting from the trains. Platform Staff are also required to know the workings of the booking office because during midweek the platform and booking office are covered by the same member of staff. Platform Staff work to a roster.

  • Carriage and Wagon Department
    Our small, but thriving Carriage and Wagon Department always extends a warm welcome to new volunteers. It is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and restoration of our numerous coaches and wagons, jobs requiring a variety of skills. The work is varied and interesting ranging from engineering on braking systems to paintwork, interiors, carriage cleaning and bodywork repairs and many more. If you are looking for challenging and rewarding ‘hands-on’ work, your contribution in the department will be most welcome.

    (c) Tim Warner

  • Permanent Way Department
    The main task of this department is to maintain and renew the track and line-side drainage throughout the Railway. This is vital work if the railway is to operate safely. The role of the ‘platelayer’ is ideal for anyone who enjoys working outdoors. A reasonable level of physical fitness is required but the continued investment of ‘state of the art’ maintenance equipment has made the job considerably less strenuous. The Permanent Way Dept. is required to operate as a team and, to many volunteers, the team spirit is one of the most important aspects of their involvement. New members are always welcome and full training in all tasks is provided, starting with basic track safety and progressing to operator of one of the growing list of machines currently in use. This department makes a significant contribution to our Railway.
    See their section of the Departments website for further information and photographs.

  • Sales Department
    The Railway has gift shops at Embsay and Bolton Abbey stations, offering a selection of gifts and merchandise, mainly railway related. These shops are popular with our visitors and provide an important service for them. Working in these shops requires the ability to deal with the general public and new volunteers are always welcome. This job can be less physically strenuous than other Railway duties, and may appeal to those who are seeking a less physically active role.

    (c) Tim Warner

  • Guards
    The grade of Guard is attained by members who have spent a good period of time working upon the Railway to get to know its operating procedures and other knowledge. Guards are responsible for the safety of the train and its passengers. Their tasks include preparation of the stock before the day’s operations, dealing with passengers, and the safe working of the train throughout the day. Guards also have to be smart in their appearance as well as being friendly and approachable when dealing with passenger enquiries.

  • Travelling Ticket Inspectors (TTIs)
    TTIs are responsible for checking tickets on trains and for collecting supplementary fares and fares from passengers boarding the train late. They also assist the Guard in the preparation and disposal of rolling stock before and after an operational day. As a TTI, you should have good inter-personal skills for this important ‘front-line’ job as you will be involved mostly in ‘meeting and greeting’ our travelling visitors.

    (c) Bob Bonsall

  • Signalman
    Our Railway signalling system is essential for its safe and efficient operation and if you want to be a signalman you will need to have a thorough knowledge of the signalling systems and of our Railway operations. The grade of signalman is attained by members who have spent some time working upon the Railway, getting to know the operating procedures and gaining other knowledge. Currently our Railway has two operational signal boxes, one at Embsay Station and one at the Stoneacre passing loop. A third at Bolton Abbey station is being installed and will, hopefully, be brought into use soon.

  • Signal and Telegraph Department
    The Signal and Telegraph (or S&T) department installs and maintains all signalling and telecommunications equipment on our Railway. This small but important department is looking for new members, both skilled and unskilled, and offers interesting and challenging work both indoors and outdoors.

    (c) Robert Milner

  • Locomotive Department
    The locomotive department offers many opportunities for aspiring volunteers. Whilst the finished product is very obvious, much of the behind the scenes work goes un-noticed, but it is vitally important. The work is challenging and almost invariably dirty! Anyone who is experienced with engineering and/or machining will be most welcome but these skills are not essential. There is a wide range of tasks for both skilled and unskilled new members as help is required in all corners of the department. You must possess the necessary personal equipment to work in the locomotive department. Steel capped boots and overalls are mandatory.

    (c) Tim Warner (c) Tom Ireland

  • Footplate Crew
    Footplate crews are usually trained from members who have spent a considerable time working on our Railway beforehand. It is not necessary for all footplate crews to work solely with the Locomotive department, but some time spent there would help.

  • Diesel Department
    The Railway has diesel locomotives to assist with shunting and other duties. There is a small band of volunteers who maintain and restore them. The same criteria apply as for the Locomotive department and this department offers a warm welcome to new volunteers.

  • Catering Department
    Volunteers are always required to assist in the catering side of the Railway. We have buffet cars on all steam service trains as well as refreshment rooms at both stations. There is need for staff to operate these important facilities and if you feel you are able to help, your contribution will be very much appreciated.

    (c) Tim Warner

  • Buildings Department
    On our Railway, the buildings, associated structures such as fencing and some minor projects are always in need of maintenance and construction. The station buildings and their local area are one of the first things seen by visitors to our Railway and a good first impression is always important. This department is always looking for volunteers to help with this essential work.

  • Fund Raising
    The Railway is always raising funds for different projects on the line. At present we are raising funds for the construction of the new engine shed / museum complex. For example we urgently need volunteers to open the ‘Embsay Fund Raisers’ bric-a-brac shop at Embsay Station. In addition volunteers are required to sell ‘saver tickets’ on trains.

    GET INVOLVED! If you are interested in becoming a volunteer on our line, you may wish to complete the Volunteer Interest Form which gives you some idea of the variety we can offer, and means we can put you in touch with those in charge of your particular area of preference. Some details about the various 'jobs' are above. You may also like to have a look in the Departments section, which more information on projects.

    Further details from:

      Volunteer Liason Officer,
      c/o Bolton Abbey Station
      Bolton Abbey,
      Near Skipton,
      North Yorkshire.
      BD23 6AF
    e-mail: volunteer@embsayboltonabbeyrailway.org.uk

    You can be assured of a warm welcome regardless of age, gender or ability because without volunteers like you, there would be no Railway!

    Please note that children under the age of 14 cannot work upon the Railway without direct parental supervision.
    Just to show that age is no barrier, or where you live, an account of one of our volunteers is included in our YDR News magazine


    Yorkshire Dales Railway Museum Trust (Holdings) Limited
    Registered Charity No. 1116386
    Bolton Abbey Station, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AF
    General Enquiries: 01756 710614 - Talking Timetables & Fax: 01756 795189
    enquiries AT embsayboltonabbeyrailway DOT org.uk webmaster AT embsayboltonabbeyrailway DOT org.uk
    Yorkshire Tourist Board
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