Come aboard! North Norfolk Railway is recruiting volunteers

North Norfolk Railway No 564 departing from Sheringham

The North Norfok Railway operates heritage steam and diesel trains along five-and-a-half miles of restored track through stunning coastal scenery - Credit: Leigh Caudwell

The North Norfolk Railway (NNR) is one of East Anglia’s most treasured attractions, welcoming 165,000 visitors every year. The NNR operates heritage steam and diesel trains along five-and-a-half miles of restored track through spectacular coastal scenery from the Victorian seaside resort of Sheringham to Weybourne and the Georgian town of Holt.

North Norfolk Railway drivers eye view from the diesel railcar

North Norfolk Railway will host an open day on March 26 for those interested in volunteering - Credit: Leigh Caudwell

The railway is a not-for-profit run almost entirely by a team of around 300 dedicated volunteers, whose passion and dedication help to keep the much-loved tourist destination on track.

From 10am to 2pm on Saturday, March 26, the NNR is hosting an open day for those interested in getting involved. Accompanied by knowledgeable station staff, potential new recruits will tour the line to discover how the railway runs and have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes.

In particular, volunteers are needed to help with welcoming visitors and inspecting tickets, assisting in the gift shops and buffets and also helping run the ever-popular dining trains.

Chris Burden, Holt Station master, is a volunteer with North Norfolk Railway

Chris Burden, Holt Station master, is a volunteer with North Norfolk Railway - Credit: Leigh Caudwell

Chris Burden volunteers as Holt Station master. “Following a period of recovery from thyroid cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, I needed a new challenge to get me back out in the world meeting and helping people,” he says.

“The North Norfolk Railway is a family of like-minded individuals who love the railway. No previous railway experience is necessary, just an ability to learn, an approachable manner and wanting to help preserve our heritage and take visitors back to a time lost in history or often their own childhood.”

Chris started as a travelling ticket inspector in June 2019, but his favourite time to volunteer is Christmas. “I love working with an enthusiastic team hosting families with children in Santa’s grotto, listening to their Christmas wishes and seeing their smiling faces as we wave them off on their return steam train journey.”

Jill Greene volunteers at Holt Station and Sheringham Station

Jill Greene volunteers at Holt Station and Sheringham Station - Credit: Leigh Caudwell

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Jill Greene volunteers at Holt Station and Sheringham Station.

“As a visitor to the area, I travelled on the NNR and was struck by how friendly and welcoming everyone was,” she says. “When I moved to Holt three years ago, I remembered the experience and applied to be a volunteer.

“I knew very little about steam and diesel trains,” Jill says. “I love learning from the experienced volunteers about the history of the railway and trains. My role gives me the

opportunity meet and talk to people, welcoming them to the railway and helping to give them a great day out.”

For Jill, each day is different – and especially so when hosting events such as the Steam Galas, the Forties Weekend and the Norfolk Lights Express.

“The days can be busy, but are always enjoyable and never boring. The special event days are fantastic and helping to make these days happy and memorable is so satisfying.”

There are many roles available, so anyone with a relevant skill or interest will find a home at one of the stations. At Holt Station, for example, there is also a museum, model railway and vintage cottage where volunteers are needed, as well as gardening and maintenance teams.

“As a volunteer, you can work shifts that fit in with your life,” Jill says. “Some volunteers do two or three days a week, whereas others volunteer four days a month. Any time given to the NNR is valued and needed.”

Graham Hukins, North Norfolk Railway commercial manager

Graham Hukins, North Norfolk Railway commercial manager - Credit: Leigh Caudwell

Graham Hukins, commercial manager, agrees. “The NNR is a not-for-profit enterprise and without volunteers we just couldn’t run,” he says.

“You don't have to be a railway enthusiast to get involved. It’s a very social thing and everyone here loves the camaraderie, the atmosphere and being able to help keep something that’s so traditional on the tracks. The railway is very much a part of North Norfolk’s history and volunteers help keep that alive for future generations.

“If anybody is interested in helping and would like to find out more, please come along and meet some of our volunteers on March 26. Don't worry if you've not been involved with anything like this before – full training is given. We’d be delighted to welcome you.”

For more information, please call 01263 820800, email enquiries@nnrailway.co.uk or visit www.nnrailway.co.uk


All aboard!

There are many volunteering roles available at North Norfolk Railway, including:

Museum staff

Station and shop staff

Office administration

Booking office attendants

Buffet car attendants

Locomotive operation

Signalling and telegraphing

Carriage and wagon department

Carriage cleaning

Guards and ticket inspectors