There’s a new man blowing the whistle for recruits and volunteers to help run the award-winning Swanage Railway.
Jonathan Evans has just taken up the role of recruitment and retention officer to attract volunteers to the railway at Swanage – as well as the Wareham and Wool mainline station support groups.
“Lifeblood of the railway”
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the railway. We simply couldn’t survive without them.
“Most people that passengers see across the board are all volunteers from station porters to train drivers. They are vital to what we do.
“And we need as many as we can get. As things return to normal and we have two train services running in the summer we could have up to 50 volunteers working a day.”
There are many volunteers who work behind the scenes too, on anything from painting a fence to repairing a locomotive, to helping with the archives or carrying out routine maintenance.
Jonathan Evans chatting to volunteer porter David Chant
Many volunteers work behind the scenes
“I love the idea of what the Swanage Railway has achieved over the past 45 years as well as the exciting plans that it has for the future that will place the heritage line firmly at the heart of local communities across the Isle of Purbeck.
“Being a part of that is a wonderful and very rewarding feeling while being a volunteer signalman means that I am involved in the signalling of Swanage Railway trains – and keeping our passengers and staff safe – while being an important part of the team which I love.”
Jonathan, 49, was born in Dorchester and has returned to live in Dorset’s county town after travelling and working in France, Switzerland and South America for several years.
In Argentina, he was a volunteer for an after-hours school club and also set up and ran a free city walking tour in Buenos Aires that was ranked the best tour on Tripadvisor.
Appointment thanks to grant
The appointment is thanks to a grant from South Western Railway’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund.
He will be based at Swanage station on a two-year full-time paid contract, working with the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership and South Western Railway in setting up a new support group for Moreton station.
The Swanage Railway has been rebuilt over more than 30 years since 1976 – after the ten-mile branch line from Wareham to Corfe Castle and Swanage was closed by British Rail and the tracks lifted in 1972. The railway currently has more than 400 regular volunteers.
Swanage Railway’s recruitment and retention officer, Jonathan Evans
“Passionate about volunteering”
South Western Railway’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund manager Veronika Krcalova said:
“Here at SWR, we’re passionate about volunteering. Not only does volunteering enable people to gain valuable new skills and experiences. It also helps to connect people with similar values and interests.”
The Swanage Railway’s director for volunteers Trevor Parsons said:
“We look forward to Jonathan working with the Purbeck Community Partnership and South Western Railway for the benefit of not just the Swanage Railway but also the main line stations at Holton Heath, Wareham, Wool and Moreton on the main London to Weymouth line.”
Jonathan Evans can be contacted on 01929 408466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org