estates management department
article by : MP
The purpose of the Estates Management Department is to look after vegetation clearance, fence maintenance, lineside drainage and the many culverts along the full length of our Railway. The Department comprises of two separate, but inter-dependent sections, Lineside Clearance and Lineside Drainage. As so much of the work overlaps, volunteers in both sections have the chance to work alongside each other and to observe the tasks that the other group carries out. Thus, all volunteers in the Department have the opportunity to gain new skills and understanding.
Both sections work under the direction of the Head of Estates Management Department for normal day-to-day activities and individuals are expected to volunteer for at least one duty per month.
LINESIDE CLEARANCE SECTION
This section meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, usually from 9.30am until 4.30pm to check/maintain fences and to clear trees and vegetation from the Railway’s embankments and cuttings. This work is vital to ensure driver visibility and, of course, to improve the views for our passengers. Using your own hand tools, such as long-handled loppers or a small bow saw, the work also includes making and maintaining bonfires and working on steep embankments and in deep cuttings. Power tool users are welcome, but must attend in house training provided by the railway. Personal power tools are not to be used. Appropriate protective clothing must be worn when operating power tools.
LINESIDE DRAINAGE SECTION
Our Railway acts as a giant barrier, preventing rainfall on the Cotswold Hills getting to the Rivers Avon and Severn. Therefore, this section has the very important role of looking after all the track drainage and culverts in order to ensure the stability of our track bed and to prevent landslips. The work varies throughout the year and includes things like building work, vegetation clearance, pipe laying, ditch clearance and CCTV surveys. It can be as strenuous as you want it to be and currently takes place on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. However, this sometimes changes to meet volunteer availability and task requirements.
ESTATES MANAGEMENT UNIFORM AND SAFETY
All Estates Management volunteers need to complete Personal Track Safety training provided and need to understand the Health & Safety regime under which we work. Where necessary, training will, of course, be provided on the use of equipment.
As you might expect, the work of both sections is almost entirely outdoors and in all but the worst of weather, so suitable protective footwear and clothing, including sturdy gloves, are essential. When at the trackside you will need to wear (orange) High Visibility Clothing.
There is no specific level of fitness required, but you will be on your feet for most of the day. The work of the Estates Management Department will take you anywhere along the railway and will involve a lot of walking. Much of the work will involve going up and down steep inclines, also climbing in and out of ditches, digging, shovelling, sawing and raking. You will also need to be able to carry equipment and be able to load/unload vehicles.
However, regular breaks are taken during the day! Please be aware though, that working on remote stretches of the line can mean that facilities are often non-existent, so you will have to be self-sufficient and will need to bring your own food and drink with you for the day.
CURRENT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
We have vacancies in both the Lineside Clearance and Lineside Drainage sections.
Please note that prospective volunteers for the Clearance section will be invited to a ‘taster’ day before acceptance and, if accepted, may initially be required to work for half-days only, as the work is very labour intensive.
For those wishing to join the Drainage section, experience with basic construction techniques, whilst not essential, would be advantageous. Prospective volunteers will be invited to attend a taster day.
Every opportunity will be given for prospective volunteers to work for both sections.
Please see here to learn how to become a volunteer.