Spa Valley Railway » Volunteering


The Spa Valley Railway has established itself as one of the most progressive and friendliest societies in railway preservation. With visitor numbers on the increase (from 30,000 in 2015 to 40,000 - 45,000 in 2017/18) exciting overhaul projects coming along, now is the time to get involved in this exciting and ever growing heritage railway!

We're on the lookout for Dining Train Volunteers, Station Masters, Catering Staff, Guards, Signalman, Steam Engine Cleaners and locomotive maintenance staff!

The Spa Valley Railway operates trains through 5 miles of glorious High Weald countryside and is run by a 100% voluntary workforce! Enjoy the delights that a heritage railway has to offer, it is a great way to socialise and make friends for life!

Don't delay email today and get involved with our wonderful railway!

You can be part of it - become a member or our Society and start Volunteering!



You don't have to volunteer to become a member - you are most welcome to join as a member and just take advantage of all the membership benefits. However, we do ask that all volunteers are members for insurance purposes.

The railway has many hundreds of members, a good proportion of whom actively contribute as volunteers. Members operate and support the railway by giving their time when they can. Everything you see around the railway is the fruit of our own labours, and our exciting future projects will require the same winning formula of people who wish to learn new skills and share existing ones.

Whether you've got a specific interest already, or simply want to contribute to something that benefits the local community, there's something interesting and rewarding for you to do on the railway.

As a society, we are known for our camaraderie and relaxed, but professional atmosphere, and new members are always welcomed into the fold. Existing volunteers will tell you of the friendships they have made and the satisfaction derived from seeing the railway develop.

It's the explanation of how something works, or the welcome our visitors receive that makes the difference to someone's day.

Being part of the team that runs the railway is richly fulfilling, and brings with it the benefit of acquiring new skills and new friends, so please join us and fill in the membership form, indicating what you might be interested in doing.

Remember, it doesn't matter how much time you feel able to give, and if you can only come for a day or a morning every few weeks, that's fine. We'll be delighted to see you! 

Station Staff - Station Masters, Shop and Ticket Office
If you enjoy meeting the public and like to be at the centre of things, ticket sales and platform duites are rewarding and fun roles. Station Masters and staff are a vital part of the visitor experience we aim to provide, and presentation and attention to detail are key.

This is an area we are extremely short of volunteers in and we certainly need more at Tunbridge Wells West, our key station where we take the majority of our passengers through ticket sales. We have a developing Southern Region terminus, located around our Victorian Engine Shed, become part of it and help us develop this huge potential and main source of revenue for the railway!

We operate a static buffet car ("Emily") at Tunbridge Wells, two refreshment kiosks at Groombridge, a snack bar at Eridge, plus our award-winning bar car "Kate". A small band of uniformed stewards and stewardesses serve drinks and snacks across the railway, and similarly to station staff, the catering department offers enjoyment and satisfaction as part of a close-knit team.

We are very short of volunteers in our buffet car 'Emily', this is a huge source of our income so the more people willing to take on this vital task and generate income the more we can develop our railway further. 

We also proudly operate a large and diverse range of on train dining products under the name 'Dining in the Weald', this brand is the mainstay of the income that the Spa Valley Railway receives and requires volunteers urgently to ensure its continued success! We are presently extremely short of volunteers to run our all important dining trains, we require people to help with the Fish & Chip trains, High Weald Belle's and other experiences such as Cream Teas. You get the enjoyment of meeting a large customer base and more often than not a meal as part of it too! Go on, join in the fun!

Permanent Way
Our railway is regularly praised by visitors from other lines about the quality of our track. With increasing mechanisation, and a growing understanding of plain trackwork, points and crossings, the P-Way team is an exciting and innovative gang to be part of. Providing the foundation for a safe and expanding railway is very fulfilling, and the team is known for its camaraderie and can-do attitude.

Civil Engineering
Installing and maintaining fences, bridges and structures is an essential part of ensuring our railway is fit for action. The Civils Team offer a varied and interesting selection of jobs for people of all fitness levels.

Carriage and Wagon
Working both midweek and at weekends, our C&W team restore and maintain our historic passenger and goods fleet. Currently engaged on a ground-up restoration of Thumper unit 1317, a Mk1 open saloon, and a Southern Railway PMV - there's always plenty to do!

On Train staff
You can progress from Travelling Ticket Inspector to Guard, one of the most responsible jobs on the line. With the right aptitude, you will in time be in overall charge of the train and the safety of its passengers. As with our station staff, a high standard of personal presentation is expected.

Locomotive Crew
Starting as an engine cleaner, ensuring the locomotives are well turned-out for the day, you'll learn about how they work and how to work them. Progression to Fireman and then Driver is dependent on how well you can acquire the necessary skills to perform these safety-critical jobs. The same standards apply for diesel locomotive work.  If you have existing compentencies from another railway we would be happy to review these and adjust our training programme to suit your individual requirements.

Alternatively why not join to learn how to Drive Diesel Locomotives such as a Class 10 Shunter or even DEMU 1317! Starting as a 3rd Man you'll travel on the rostered locomotive learning the roles and responsibilities of 2nd Man, when the time comes you'll be assessed for 2nd Man and then progress onto learning what's required to be a Driver!

Signalling and Telecoms
The current focus of the S&T department is the installation of a new semaphore signalled passing loop at Groombridge - an enormous undertaking for a little team. However, with design work now complete, steady progress is being made towards full installation, and a new signal box and signals have been erected in readiness for this. In August 2014 a major hurdle was overcome when Phase 1 was commissioned this involved four signals being brought into use from the Signal Box so now really is an exciting time to get involved with the S&T department!

Locomotive Engineering
Whether you're a skilled engineer already or a complete novice, we have a boundless array of clean(ish) and (very) dirty jobs lined up for you in our original 1885 running shed. Restoration projects currently include our 3F LMS Jinty & LBSCR Terrier 'Sutton' as well as the routine maintenance our in service locomotives such as 'UGLY'.

Gardening and Lineside Cultivation
A happy band of men and ladies have restored our lineside to it's steam-age glory, with embankments rich with wild flowers and indigenous fauna. Working both midweek and weekends, they'll be glad to welcome you. Also, our stations are decorated with planters and hanging baskets which bring colour and life to the surroundings.

With every job you'll receive full and professional safety training - the safety of both you and our visitors is of paramount importance.

If you'd like to get involved, please download and complete a membership form, or call 01892 300141 and leave a message for our Volunteer Liaison Officer. Alternatively, drop us a line at  

Annual Membership Subscription Rates

Adult £20.00
Student £12.00
Junior (up to 16yrs old) £6.00
Senior £13.00
Senior Couple £20.00
Family/Joint £30.00

Life Membership Subscription Rates

Single £400
Couple £560
Senior (60+) £200
Joint Senior £300
Part of existing Life Member £175

Annual Membership
Annual membership benefits include:
• Free copy of the 'Spa Valley Starter' full colour A5 Magazine delivered to your door four times a year!
• Member's Privilege Rate Tickets allowing unlimited travel on the day of purchase. Currently privilege tickets cost £3.50 for a return trip over the operational length of the line. This would be a saving of £5.50 per adult to Groombridge and £7.50 per adult to Eridge.
• An invite to the Society's Annual General Meeting.
• The chance to actively participate in the running of the railway as a volunteers. Jobs are many and varied, and embrace all aspects of railway work.

Annual Corporate Membership
This is an annual subscription and is for a 12 month period from the date of renewal (as adjusted to the previous month end). The cost is £100.00 and includes 4 copies of the quarterly magazine in addition to 2 transferable membership cards entitling the holder to privilege rate travel on the Spa Valley Railway. Currently privilege tickets cost £3.50 for a return trip over the operational length of the line. This would be a saving of £5.50 per adult to Groombridge and £7.50 per adult to Eridge.

This category of membership is ideal for Clubs and Societies as well as corporate Social Clubs, Schools etc wishing to provide a benefit for their members/staff.

There are some restrictions on availability of privilege tickets (Days Out with Thomas, Santa Specials, gala events, etc) but generally they would be available for over 80 operating days in the year giving a potential saving in excess of £700.00 over and above membership cost.

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