Steam train rides, Peak District, Derbyshire

Volunteering with Peak Rail

Volunteer Information

Peak Rail is operated primarily by a dedicated team of enthusiastic volunteers, who volunteer their time to ensure that the railway operates throughout the year whatever the weather.

Certainly, if you have visited the railway before, you will have seen the vital roles which they undertake, from the Driver or Fireman, Guard or Signalman, Booking Office Clerk or Catering staff all these people have a passion for volunteering on their railway.

What skills do I need?

Volunteering on a heritage railway can use every skill known to the human hand. All railway’s use skills in every department that you will find in the common workplace, but don’t worry if you’re not sure about the idea of doing your day job as a volunteer, there are plenty of other roles that you could participate in.

A willingness to smile and to help others do the same are the only other essential qualifications! and on a lighter side the desire and the ability to be able to drink, and brew, copious cups of tea.

Some people have engineering skills, others are skilled in DIY, some are just over enthusiastic gardeners whilst others are totally unskilled.

We recognise that volunteers normally have an interest in a specific area and any necessary training will be given to enable them to fulfil their voluntary role.

How old do I have to be?

Our volunteers are of all ages and backgrounds. Some are at university, some have retired, others take their holidays working on the railway. Certain roles however such as steam/diesel footplate crew have a minimum age of 18 due to the safety critical nature of the roles.

What jobs can you offer?

We can never have enough volunteers to help operate the railway and vacancies are available in all departments. Whatever job you decide to volunteer for you can be sure of a warm welcome.

How much time do I have to give?

Our volunteers come from all parts of the country and are the mainstay of our operation and you are welcome to assist us as and when you can, whether this be regularly or occasionally, either for a few hours or a few days at a time. Some people come to work with us just over the peak season of July/August, taking time off work to do so. Whatever time you can spare will always be appreciated.

What’s in it for me?

Many of the jobs give you the chance to get outdoors, learn a new skill and have the satisfaction of seeing the efforts of your labour at the end of the day.
All the tasks provide the opportunity to be part of the railway family and gain the enjoyment of being part of a busy team. For all sorts of reasons, a wide cross section of people (of all ages) find working on the railway not only satisfying, but very fulfilling, making new friends and expanding their social lives alongside the pleasure of a day’s work well done.

In return for your valuable help we can offer free travel on the railway, staff discounts in our shops at Rowsley South at Matlock Stations and preferential rates when volunteering in our buffet at Rowsley South Station.

The railway and other volunteers will welcome your commitment, and, in return, we can promise you a very fulfilling time.

You can view volunteering positions on the Peak Railway Association website.

Peak Railway Association Membership

The former Midland Railway main line through the Peak District from Matlock to Buxton, closed by British Rail in 1968 was one of the most scenic sections of railway in Britain passing through tunnels and over viaducts and giving impressive views of the area.

In 1975 a group of railway enthusiasts put forward proposals for the re-opening of the Matlock – Buxton railway line as a heritage and community railway offering a service for both tourists and local residents, and so the Peak Rail project was born.


Our principle aim is to provide help, support and advice to Peak Rail plc, to ensure the successful implementation of its proposals to re-open the former Midland Railway main line through the Peak District as an independent railway. This includes raising funds for specific projects, collecting and preserving in its archive historic documents, photographs and equipment which have an association with the railway, recruiting new members and volunteers and helping to operate the existing railway from Matlock to Rowsley.

The Association is managed by its own Board of Directors including representatives from the branches and Peak Rail plc, as well as those elected by members at the AGM. These occur once a year and every member (except Junior members) are entitled to attend and vote. It is also an opportunity for you to raise any questions you may have.

Our annual raffle raises funds for a specific project each year. Projects funded wholly or partly by the Association have included the engine shed, picnic area, shop building at Rowsley South, coach restoration plus a station waiting room on Matlock Platform 2.

As a member there are many ways of supporting the railway, and these are detailed below together with the benefits you are entitled to: –

  • Two days free travel per year, with a 50% discount on all subsequent travel, on Peak Rail trains on all operating days except for Special Events and the Palatine Restaurant Car.
  • 10% discount off certain items in Peak Rail shops (excluding confectionary items, second hand railway books, second hand videos and DVD’s, railway memorabilia and railway models).

However Peak Railway Association Ltd and/or Peak Rail plc reserve the right to change this in the future.

Please note that to receive any of the above benefits (excluding the delivery of The Peak Express) you must carry your membership card with you when visiting the railway and produce it to receive the travel concessions and discount benefits.


We now have five branches of the Association in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derwent Valley, Derby together with the newly formed Buxton Branch. Branches consist of Association members, who meet approximately once a month for talks, slide shows etc. In addition, the branches also organise various fundraising activities and attend events across the country to promote Peak Rail. Please visit the branch pages for details of these events.

If you wish to find out more about the Peak Railway Association Ltd, or about volunteering on the railway, then please email: or telephone 07564 308418.

You can find out more about the Peak Railway Association Branches here: