West Somerset Railway
Sam Burton

Become a Volunteer

Volunteering your time to help the Railway - Preserving the Past for the Future

Individual enquiries and applications are always welcomed at any time.

Volunteers Age 18+:

Please contact us on Telephone 01823 433856 or email [email protected] 

Work Experience

The West Somerset Railway offers work experience placements that are designed to fit around the requirements of individuals ranging from Secondary School young people to University students preparing their Dissertations. There are a limited number of these per year on a first come first served basis. Please call 01643 704996.

Youth Volunteers (Trackers):

The West Somerset Railway can accept volunteers who are under the age of 18. The tracker scheme encourages boys and girls to take an active part in the operation of the railway by allowing them to work alongside adult volunteers. By doing this the trackers will hopefully gain valuable life skills which they can use in the future and include on their CV. This is done in a safe environment and in a structured and controlled way. To discuss becoming a Tracker please contact Rodney Greenway via email at [email protected]

Lots of different skills are required.  As a prospective new volunteer you could experience supervised work training in any of the following disciplines. 

All new volunteers are required to undertake training and induction for the role they will undertake. This will be carried out by each department Please indicate your role preference when applying.


Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon

The Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Department is under the control of the Head of Mechanical Engineering (HoMe) . Work within the department is split into several areas:

  • Steam footplate grades from locomotive cleaner up to driver.
  • Diesel locomotive grades second men and drivers.
  • Minehead - steam locomotive workshops, repair and overhaul of locomotives.
  • Minehead - carriage and wagon workshops, repair and overhaul of carriages and wagons.
  • Minehead - Diesel and Diesel multiple unit repair and overhaul.
  • Williton – Diesel locomotive repair and overhaul (This is managed by the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group).

There is a requirement to give a minimum of 12 turns annually, some areas may require a higher commitment. Physical and medical restrictions may apply.

General Information

There are around 400-500 active volunteers whose contribution help makes the West Somerset Railway 'tick'. Indeed, without their considerable input the West Somerset Railway would probably cease to tick! Volunteers are able to assist (subject to undertaking a training programme and passing a medical in some cases) in all aspects of the WSR, and their contribution is absolutely vital towards ensuring the success and future growth of the Railway. On any given day, the footplate crew, guard, ticket inspector, booking clerk, stationmaster, track worker, buffet car steward - and many, many more are likely to be volunteers.

Advertised Vacancies

Board Director Vacancies

The West Somerset Railway (WSR) is one of the UK’s premier heritage railways. We operate Steam and Diesel locomotives, hauling heritage rolling stock between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. There is a timetabled service between April and October plus special Galas and a Christmas event. The WSR has over 1000 volunteers and a small paid staff. 

Over the past year, the railway has experienced significant changes and financial challenges, but is now on a path to recovery, and we are looking for 3 Non-Executive Directors to join the Board and help drive our progress forward. The posts will cover Finance, People and Partnerships and Business Development. These are unpaid posts, but expenses will be paid. 

The prospective job holders will need senior level experience and while experience of railway operations and voluntary work is preferable, this is not a requirement. We are keen to attract candidates that can extend the diversity of the current board.  

Prospective candidates should submit their CV (on no more than 2 pages) with a short covering note to the following address:

Jonathan Jones-Pratt

WSR PLC, The Railway Station, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5BG.

or email : [email protected]

or for phone enquiries : 01643 700408