The South Devon Railway Enthusiasts' site

Volunteering on the SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY
3803 footplate
Lighting up 3803 for the first timePhoto ©SDRA Collection


The South Devon Railway Association was set up in 1969 as the Dart Valley Railway Association to provide financial and physical support to the then owners of the Ashburton Branch.  When the South Devon Railway Trust took over in 1991 the association changed its name and continued to support the Trust.

The South Devon Railway is always looking for "VOLUNTEERS" to provide a high quality service to its visitors to our seven mile branch line which follows the River Dart for much of its way between Buckfastleigh , Staverton and Totnes (Littlehempston) station

You can assist us by joining the South Devon Railway Association which will then allow you to work as a VOLUNTEER on the railway in a variety of different roles which after suitable training could find you possibly driving or firing one of our Locomotives, acting as the Guard with responsibility for potentially over 300 passengers or being in charge of one of our three stations as the Stationmaster.

The Association provides staff for all three stations on the line, the two active signal boxes, guards and footplate crew on every day we operate trains on the railway.  If "front of house" is not your scene then the Association also provides staff who repair, maintain, restore the building fabric, all of our carriages, wagons and even assist the South Devon Railway Engineering in the main workshops.

There are many varied jobs around the railway that whatever your skill, interest or professional background we will have a rôle for you. Many of our volunteers come from highly skilled professional backgrounds and use working on the railway as a way of unwinding from the paid day job or as an interest after taking retirement. Full training is given where required including medicals for certain operational roles, such as Driver, Fireman, Guard and Signalman.

Want to know how you can assist?

Below is a list of departments on the railway where we need further volunteers:


Operations Department - Locomotive Crews, Guards, Ticket Inspectors, Signalman.


Carriage & Wagon - Help with the restoration and maintenance of our carriages and wagons many of them heritage vehicles requiring traditional skills such as woodworking and metalwork specialists.


If Locomotive restoration is what interests you, we have a "Sunday Gang" that work with our Full Time staff in the Locomotive Works at Buckfastleigh every fortnight.


Station Staff - at Buckfastleigh, Staverton and Totnes including Booking Office Clerks, Porters, Platform Staff, Toilet Cleaners, Museum Stewards, Tour Guides.


Permanent Way - Maintaining the seven miles of line including regular inspections which involve walking between the stations, clearing the line side vegetation to ensure our visitors enjoy the spectacular views from the train windows.


Signal & Telegraph - Train to become a Signalman in one of our three signal boxes or help maintain the equipment either in the boxes or along the line side


Catering - We need staff to run our "Buffet" Cars providing an on board service serving light refreshments tour passengers. We need waiters to serve on our prestigious "Devonshire Pullman" Dining trains.


Civil Engineering - Helping to maintain our Buildings ( painters, plumbers, builders, carpenters, electricians etc.), Platforms, Bridges, Line side fencing and drains

Finally - We are always looking for help with Special Events, Administration, Finance, Fund Raising, Gardening, Miniature Railway

If you think you have the skills and the time to come along and assist with the running of the South Devon Railway we would love to hear from you.

Please contact us in the first instance by downloading the Volunteer Brochure, completing the form and posting it to us or John Keohane the Volunteer Coordination director.


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© South Devon Railway Association 2014


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