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Gloucestershire Business News

Heritage railway appeals for volunteers to join their 'outdoor gym'

Where: Norchard Station, near Lydney

When: Saturday, March 23, 11am

The Dean Forest Railway, a not-for-profit, volunteer-led organisation, is appealing for more volunteers to join in helping all aspects of the railway.

One of the unique opportunities the railway offers is the "outdoor gym". Many people are looking to get fit at this time of year, but cannot face the thought of joining a gym. The Dean Forest Railway offers a much more pleasant alternative - it has regular parties working on vegetation control, track maintenance and relaying.

This physical work offers the opportunity to get fit and shed the pounds, whilst out in the fresh Forest air, making new friends and giving back to the community as well.

The railway also offers a range of other volunteer opportunities, including driving trains, checking tickets, operating signals, restoring and maintaining engines and carriages, rebuilding wagons, assisting in the café or shop and greeting visitors. There are opportunities for everyone!

Training is given for all roles, especially those which are safety-critical. As a 'thank-you' society members gain discounts in the shop, café and for travel on the line.

The Dean Forest Railway Society is holding an open day on Saturday, March 23, for members of the public interested in volunteering at the railway, to take a look behind the scenes and find out more about the roles on offer.

Potential volunteers will get the chance to look behind the scenes in a signal box, take a free ride on the train to Parkend, see restoration work close-up on a tour of the workshops, and chat with volunteers to see what it's really like.

The day will start at 11am at Norchard Station, with a talk outlining the opportunities for all available at the railway, from café and shop work, locomotive crews, guards and signalmen, to heavy maintenance and restoration work.

Representatives will be on hand from various areas of the railway to hopefully sign up lots of new recruits!

Alastair Clarke, Dean Forest Railway Society chairman, said: "Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation, and in order to continue to develop the railway we need to recruit new volunteers to join our team.

"The railway has a handful of paid staff, mainly in catering and administrative roles, and most of what you see along our line has been built, is maintained and is operated by volunteers who do it for the sheer satisfaction of running a heritage railway.

"I'd encourage anyone who is interested to come along and explore the varied range of opportunities we have available."

The DFR's main centre at Norchard Station is just north of Lydney and well marked by brown tourism signposts.

Booking for this event is essential so for more details, or to book a place, please telephone the railway on 01594 845840.

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