NLR Volunteering

Volunteer Working  Membership

You may have a particular skill you feel you can offer the railway; you may wish to learn a new skill or take on a particular project. Whatever your interest in the railway, you will soon find the right job to suit you.

One aspect of the Railway which is very important is that Volunteer Working Members are permitted to give as much or as little of their time to the railway as they wish. Time is a precious commodity these days and this is a fact that is very much respected by all of the Volunteer Working Members. Of course there is nothing stopping an individual from spending every moment of their spare time on the Railway if they wish to do so.

Another aspect which is essential is that everyone is permitted to work at their own speed. Slowly but surely the job is completed, which produces good end results and allows the work to be completed safely. Occasionally, staff from all departments are called upon to help with a larger project which is beyond the scope of an individual or department. Many hands make light work!

Volunteer Working Membership Additional Benefits

Additional benefits of being a Volunteer Working Member are:

  • Reduced prices on a selected product range in the Platform 3 Buffet.
  • 10% discount on purchases made in The Shop on the platform.
  • Eligibility to purchase a Heritage Railway Association (HRA) Inter-Rail Pass, giving free/reduced travel on Heritage Railways in the scheme*.

* The pass is valid from the 1stMarch until the last day of February of the following year and is subject to terms & conditions of the scheme and participating Heritage Railways.

Nationwide Building Society volunteers, Rob, Helen, Vicky and Paul stand in front of BR Mk2 coach 5174 and its repainted B4 bogies. Photo: D.Millard

Volunteering FAQ’s

Click on a question to view the answer. If the answer is not there. Use the form at the bottom of the page to get your answer. 

Who can work on the railway?

Before you can become a Volunteer Working Member, you need to be a member of the Northampton & Lamport Railway Charitable Incorporated Organisation (NLRCIO).
This not only provides you with the benefits of membership, but also covers you for insurance purposes.
More details about membership and to download a membership application form, please visit the Memberships page.

If you are under 16, you will have to be supervised by an older volunteer or parent/guardian to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Note: The constituent parts of the Northampton & Lamport Railway reserve the right to perform background checks on members; particularly Volunteer Working Members.

Where do I work?

There are several departments which make the railway run, they are:

  • Operations
    • On-train staff e.g. Guard & Ticket Inspector or carriage cleaner.
  • Locomotive Department
    • Restoration, operation and maintenance of steam and diesel locomotives.
  • Carriage & Wagon
    • Restoration & maintenance of Locomotives, Carriages, Wagons & road based vehicles.
    • Specialist repair and manufacturing of metal based structures and equipment which form the structure of a railway.
    • Vehicle fault, maintenance & repair record keeping.
  • Permanent Way & Civil Engineering
    • Restoration, construction & maintenance of the track and associated line side equipment and structures such as a bridge, platform or embankment.
  • Signal & Telegraph
    • Systems installation, restoration & maintenance, of the signals, telephones and networks; also includes the structure of the signal boxes and the operation of signals during service days.
  • Booking Office
    • Ticket sales and platform duties.
  • Souvenir shop and Emporium bookshop
    • Our very own retail outlet and second hand bookshop.
  • Catering Department
    • Running of the Platform 3 Buffet and on-train catering.

If you are not sure where your area of interest lies, it may be a good idea for you to work in each department for a short while, until you have tried them all. This will also give you the opportunity of getting to know the other Volunteer Working Members. You can always change your department if you fancy doing something different.

A number of the Volunteer Working Members undertake several different roles in the differing departments; it is up to you what you do!

What sort of work will I do?

Most of the work involves the laying and maintenance of track, or restoring and maintaining our fleet of steam and diesel locomotives, rolling stock and signalling equipment. There are also customer facing jobs such as working in the station gift shop, buffet or booking office and on train jobs such as ticket collector, guard or locomotive crew.

There are also the publicity/support function jobs that can be done away from the railway, examples are:

  • Distribution of publicity materials (leaflets & posters).
  • Creation of publicity materials.
  • Attending exhibitions, fairs & fetes with the Railway’s display/sales stand.
  • Giving talks about the Railway.
  • Website updating and development.
  • Publicising the Railway using suitable forums and other websites.

Note: Volunteer Working Members who become involved with the running of trains (Loco crew, Signallers, Booking Office & on-train staff) will need some commitment to satisfy any rotas which are drawn up.

What special skills can I offer?

Many Volunteer Working Members already have skills which are very useful to the railway. You may have a skill from your work or hobby which could be of great use

For example, you may be a professional carpenter – on the railway this might mean you would enjoy working on carriage or wagon restorations.

Another example is electrical work; which covers a vast field including wiring low voltage lighting on rolling stock, ignition control circuitry on diesel locomotives, wiring for Signal & Telegraph, and 230/415 volt installations.

Many of our volunteers like to do something very different from their day to day jobs from driving locomotives to signaling or working “front of house” in the booking offices, shops and buffet. It is your choice – so let us know what you would like to do. 

What special skills do I need?

No special skills are needed as appropriate training will be given as required. You may find that you have a talent for something that you never even thought about.

The Railway will provide the following Mandatory Minimum Training requirements to all Working Volunteer Members:

  • Personal Track Safety (PTS) — in case a track based emergency arises all members can help; examples include a child’s toy falling on to the track from the platform.
  • Basic Health Check / Medical — comprising a well-being questionnaire, blood pressure check, chat about any medication or conditions & a colour blindness check.

Note: All Basic Health Checks are undertaken by a qualified Medical Professional and full medical standards of confidentiality are maintained.

What do I need to bring?

If you are going to be working on or near the track, Orange Hi-Viz clothing is required (a vest, coat etc.) — it’s a good idea to bring some even if you are working elsewhere.

Safety footwear and suitable outdoor clothing is especially recommended for the Infrastructure & Engineering departments’ work.

When do I work?

The railway is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the year (except Good Friday) and these are the most active days for Volunteer Working Members. Some also come along on Saturdays or in the week (if something is happening), whilst others pop in for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons and some turn up only if the sun is shining — It’s up to you!

To apply for a Volunteer Working Membership please see the Memberships page to download a membership application form. In addition to your completed form and subscription fee, you will need to send a recent UK passport size photograph (1 in x 1 in size) for use on your Volunteer Working Member / Staff Identity Card.

How do I get involved?

Just pop along to the railway for a chat in the shop or buffet – Sundays are the best as that is when most members are about. Bring your membership details with you if you have them (if you are not already a member) and we can get you signed up and working. It is really that easy. Want more info? just contact us via the form below or email

Contact us to find out more

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