CONSTRUCTION & mAINTENANCE
article by: DB
The Construction & Maintenance Department has two main roles. The first is to maintain the existing buildings and related facilities in safe operational condition, while preserving as far as possible their historic character which our visitors love and appreciate. Years of wear and exposure require regular attention, so we are always busy! We sometimes need traditional materials which may be scarce and expensive, and we take pride in producing high quality work.
Our second role is to construct new facilities to expand the Railway and improve our visitors’ experience. Our major achievement here has been the rebuilding of Broadway station and its platforms and signal box, all of which were completely destroyed when the line closed. Here again, attention to historic detail in design and materials has been, and remains, a guiding principle.
We cover all aspects of building construction and internal fittings from foundations upwards, although we only go as high as a single storey building to work on roofs and gutters etc. Work higher up is usually contracted out. We also construct and repair platforms, fences, gates, roadways and footpaths; in fact these represent a large proportion of our workload.
We need a variety of skills, and the work would particularly suit volunteers with experience in building trades including bricklaying, concreting, slab laying, fencing, plumbing, electrical installations, carpentry or painting. Design or project management experience is useful too. But we also welcome people with general DIY knowledge and a willingness to pitch in and learn on the job.
You will usually work in a team of typically 2 to 6 volunteers, under a task leader, usually on a Wednesday and/or Saturday, or occasionally on other days, subject to your availability. There are no fixed rosters, but you should give advance notice of which days you are available. Working hours are typically from 9am to 4 or 4.30pm but are flexible depending on the work and location. You will need to provide your own safety boots, heavy duty gloves and a Railway Standard orange High Visibility jacket or vest. A hard hat may be required for certain jobs. We have most tools and equipment in our workshops, and it should not be necessary for you to bring your own. We have flat bed trucks for transporting equipment and materials. Our role covers the whole length of the Railway, so you should be prepared to travel to different stations on the line. Most volunteers bring their own packed lunch and/or flask, but we also have our own hot drinks facilities for breaks at Winchcombe and Broadway. The Railway’s catering facilities offer discounted prices to volunteers when they are open.
FITNESS, HEALTH & SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
Many jobs require a reasonable level of physical fitness, for example to lift and carry materials & equipment, dig holes or trenches, climb ladders or operate machinery. If you have fitness or health limitations, for whatever reason, you must inform the Head of Department, who will be happy to discuss other tasks you are able to do safely. Because we have to comply with railway safety regulations you must provide safety boots, protective gloves (including heavy duty gloves for handling building materials), high-vis jacket/vest and hard hat. Wearing of safety boots and gloves is mandatory for almost all jobs; hi-vis clothing whenever you work near the rail tracks or near moving plant or vehicles; hard hats for building work or around scaffolding, JCBs, diggers etc. It’s advisable to have all these items available whenever you are on duty. There are other safety requirements which will be explained when you join the department.
CURRENT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
We are looking particularly for volunteers with knowledge of building design & construction, or experience in building trades including bricklaying, carpentry, painting, plumbing and drainage. We would also welcome a qualified electrician who could also turn his/her hands to more general work. But anyone with reasonable DIY ability would be useful to us, as many jobs do not require special skills.