Thinking about volunteering at Steamranger

 
  MatthewH Locomotive Driver

Hi All,

I am currently thinking about volunteering at SteamRanger, but before I send them an email, I have a question for active volunteers on this site.

In regards with what I would like to do at SteamRanger, I would like to be involved with train operations, eventually becoming a Steam Locomotive driver (though I realise that will be many years away). However, I was looking at their handout on their website, and it says that train drivers are sourced from the maintenance crew working on the steam locomotives, but Guards are usually experienced station masters, who start out as passenger attendants. Can someone please tell me if this is correct?

Thanks
Matt

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  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
Matt, I think the best way to do it would be to simply contact Steamranger. They should be able to tell you what the various steps are to work your way up to becoming a loco driver including all the training steps and medical requirements.

Although I have no involvement with Steamranger, I am a volunteer at another heritage railway. The best advice I have is to be prepared to help out where needed and take part in the less "glamorous" jobs. ie: there are many behind the scenes tasks that need doing at a tourist railway that most punters don't see, but they are just as important as the guy with his hand on the regulator in the cab.

Depending on your skills, this can range from manual work such as shovelling dirt or removing rust to office jobs such as paperwork or IT as well as general train preparation such as cleaning carriages. ie: there's nothing wrong with saying you would like to ultimately drive the train, but you'll fit in much better if you're prepared to be part of the team.
  sarail Chief Commissioner

Location: Redwood Park, Adelaide, South Australia
Being a trainee guard for SHR I can answer this 1st hand. What's on our website is correct - the path to a guards role, starts as a Passenger Attendant (exams), then onto Station Master - after a year or two as SM (and passing more relevant exams, medicals etc), you then progress to trainee guard/train manager, pass another set of exams, then progress to Cockle Train guard. After this (and once you've got some road knowledge) you can then progress to working out of Mt Barker.

I can't answer from the loco crew side of things though.

Hope this clears things up.

Peter
  waylander Station Master

Hi All,

I am currently thinking about volunteering at SteamRanger, but before I send them an email, I have a question for active volunteers on this site.

In regards with what I would like to do at SteamRanger, I would like to be involved with train operations, eventually becoming a Steam Locomotive driver (though I realise that will be many years away). However, I was looking at their handout on their website, and it says that train drivers are sourced from the maintenance crew working on the steam locomotives, but Guards are usually experienced station masters, who start out as passenger attendants. Can someone please tell me if this is correct?

Thanks
Matt
MatthewH
Hi Mat,

I am an active volunteer with steamranger, also a trainee fireman. To get into the cab it is expected that you do some work etc around the mechanical workshops to learn how things work and learn a bit about the trains. Once you are seen to be competent and enthusiastic around the workshops and you commence your railway safeworking/shunting training, you will eventually become rostered on the foot plate as a trainee, as you become more proficient and gain road knowledge, and complete more of steamrangers internal exams, the loco crew will let you perform more duties on the locomotive. Generally you will handle the cockletrain duties first as this is a more forgiving section of track. The Hill section will be your last part to learn. Once you have qualified and are competent with good rout knowledge you can commence your driving training.

While most of the training is provided in house, there are a number of expensive external industry courses that you will need to fork out yourself. One being the boiler ticket, and the other being the reciprocating steam engine ticket. However you dont need these straight away. And you must also be medically fit and healthy (be expected to have a medical examination), and also free of all drugs and alcohol as there are some government requirements in this matter if you want to do any safeworking role i.e. guard, SM, traindriver/fireman, railcar driver etc.

Whilst this wont take forever dont expect it to happen overnight either.

And by all means this is not the only way to get your foot onto the trains, as peter said above you can take the rout of a guard, or there is a railcar driver rout as well, and some people take on more than one role.

If you want to know more just ring the number on the website and somebody there will put you into contact with the right person/s in the organisation.

Regards
Mat

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