The Railway Centre team pride themselves on being a friendly and welcoming bunch, not only to the 50,000 or so visitors, that come every year to take a ride on the trains, admire the restored locomotives, carriages and buildings or just soak up the period atmosphere we strive to recreate, but also to new volunteers wishing to help with the work at the Centre. There is a wide variety of jobs from driving the trains, to making sandwiches, from restoring carriages to selling tickets and from maintaining historic buildings to bringing the Centre to life as a period re-enactor.
Our volunteers are of all ages and from all walks of life. Here, we profile a handful of the more than 250 volunteers that regularly help keep the spirit of the Great Western Railway alive and (as you'll read) have an enjoyable and rewarding time in the process. When you're ready to get involved, let us know that you'd like to help and we'll get in touch!
Andrew developed a fascination for the Great Western Railway on childhood visits to Didcot and badgered his Mum to let him join the Young Volunteers as soon as he was old enough. Since joining at the age of 12, he has trained for a variety of operating roles.
Ann has been a volunteer for over 35 years, after starting as a shop volunteer; she is now a Guard and one of our Trustees. One of the highlights of her time at the Centre was working with historian and TV presenter Tim Dunn.
Dave enjoys putting his valuable skills from a career in the electrical industry to good use on new projects or on repairs to older installations in our listed buildings.
Frank is one of our longest standing volunteers and is responsible for many fantastic photographs on this website and in our publicity. He also delights in sharing his knowledge with visitors in his role as Tour Guide.
Fred joined as a volunteer shortly after retirement and found new friends of different age groups, sharing good sense of humour and looking out for one another. He says the onsite exercise is very good for him and he's rightly proud of the superb carriages and wagons he has played a part in restoring.
Laura, who got involved after visiting the Centre with her family, finds the variety of roles rewarding and enjoys using existing skills and learning new ones to help the Centre develop.
Leigh started volunteering to be actively involved in running and restoring steam locomotives but says the social side of volunteering is just as enjoyable and a big part of why he keeps coming back.
Richard (right) likes being able to talk to visitors, showing and explaining how things used to be done at a time when life and culture were very different - running trains was more labour-intensive yet in many ways it was a more relaxed time.
Young Volunteers - Members aged 11 - 16 can join the Young Volunteers group which meets monthly and assist, under supervision, in the work of the Centre.
The first step to becoming a volunteer is to join the Great Western Society - the Charity that runs Didcot Railway Centre.
We need volunteers to carry out all types of tasks - see the opportunities across our departments here.