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You’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad

Join the WW&F Railway's volunteers and be a part of rebuilding Maine history.

Quick Details

Volunteers are Essential to Our Railway

It is our volunteers that work on our projects, that meet and greet our visitors, and that operate our trains. We have no paid staff. Through our newsletter and media, you might have the sense that the WW&F is a well-oiled machine that wants for nothing. While we have certainly been fortunate in most regards, the WW&F’s success rides on a dedicated group of volunteers who work tirelessly and enthusiastically to rebuild Maine history. As the WW&F has grown, so has the need for volunteers to keep the railway moving forward.

We encourage new volunteers to come and find a place with us. All ages, abilities, and interests are welcome- there is truly something for everyone. Because of the variety of things we do, and the potential dangers of working around railroad equipment, we require that new volunteers only do work under the supervision or guidance of project managers, at least for the first couple of months, so that we can “show you the ropes”.

A few examples of volunteer work on the WW&F Railway include:

  • Buildings and grounds construction & maintenance.
  • Right-of-way and track construction & maintenance.
  • Archival work, including computer assistance.
  • Machine Shop and Wood Shop work.
  • Communications (magneto telephone) maintenance.
  • Train Operations (Car Hosts, Trainmen, Brakemen, Engineers, Conductors, Dispatchers).
  • Gift shop and ticket sales. Greeters. Docents/Tour Guides.
  • Backend office (ticketing, customer service, IT support, web design & maintenance).
  • Event planning and hosting.
  • Grant writing and Administration.
  • Cooking! We like to be fed.

Volunteers are always present on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Typically, work begins by 8am on Saturdays (9am on weekdays) while “closing time” is after 4 PM. Activities for volunteers are usually rain or shine, but may move indoors during inclement weather. To get involved… just show up! If you need more details, consider attending a Volunteer Recruitment Day (see below) – or email us at info@wwfry.org.

“Organized” Work Parties: You’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad

Some weekends, we have larger concentrated sessions to accomplish specific goals where a pool of general laborers are needed. These “workin’ on the railroad” dates are ideal for new or occasional volunteers to come and make a contribution. In most cases, parents with appropriately-aged children and whole families are welcome to join in the fun – volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome and needed. Note that the exact nature of the work is subject to change based on various needs and factors.

May the Fourth: Tie (fighter) and Dine

A “tie and dine” is a special work day that is set aside to do maintenance along the railroad – usually installing ties and ballast. After working most of the live-long day, we all board the steam-powered special “dinner train” for a cookout or pizza party as “thank you” for our volunteers.

On 5/4/2024, the work train will leave Sheepscot at 8am for some necessary repairs on the railroad. There will be an afternoon session followed by a “dinner train” at 4pm. Volunteers are welcome (and needed!) and is timed to allow members to attend the “Annual Membership Meeting” if they desire at 2pm – and join the work crew for a train ride and dinner (pizza) afterwards.
Come join in the fun and visit our railroad that feels like it is long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Fall Work Weekend: Oct 11th – 14th

Join volunteers from around the country for our biggest work party. Exact plans are still being finalized, but expect fantastic food, marvelous comradery, and maybe a bit of track work, painting, construction, and other projects – all amidst New England’s famous fall foliage.

Tie and Dine: Nov. 2nd 

A “tie and dine” is a special work day that is set aside to do maintenance along the railroad – usually installing ties and ballast. After working most of the live-long day, we all board the steam-powered special “dinner train” for a cookout or pizza party as “thank you” for our volunteers.

What to Expect

  • Volunteer shifts begin (roughly) at 8:00AM at 97 Cross Road, Alna, Maine.
  • Wear heeled, fully enclosed above the ankle boots (safety boots are preferable).
  • Wear full legged pants (no shorts, etc.).
  • Tools will be supplied, but feel free to bring ones that you are comfortable working with.
  • During spring/summer months, ticks and bugs are included at no extra charge during outdoor work sessions. Appropriate repellant (and sunscreen) is recommended.
  • Cut/burn sessions feature large bonfires. Wear appropriate clothing as it will be damaged by cinders.
  • Volunteers will ride the train (or carpool) to the work site, depending on the work being done.
  • On Saturdays, lunch is available for a modest donation – or pack your own. (Weekday volunteers should bring a lunch.)
  • Work will usually conclude by 3PM.
  • Younger volunteers are welcome under appropriate adult supervision.

How to Sign Up for a Work Session

Please click the calendar date to reserve your free “ticket” to any You’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad session. These RSVPs are greatly appreciated (but not required.)

Can I Volunteer on Another Date?

ABSOLUTELY! Please contact us when you are available and your area of interest. Or, feel free to just “show up” on any Saturday, Tuesday, or Wednesday – and we’ll do our best to plug you into the day’s projects.

Questions and More Information

Volunteer Recruitment Day: Sept 14th

We are holding Volunteer Recruitment Days from 10am – 2:30pm on Saturdays April 13th and Sept 14th. New volunteers are welcome in every facet of the Railway and we’d love for you to join our volunteer corps. The work is rewarding, enjoyable, and a great way to connect with others. Whether you are a member who hasn’t had the availability to volunteer before or are considering volunteering for the first time, come out and see what ‘working on the railroad’ is all about!

Rules Class: Sept 28th

Want to drive the train? Come to the rules class and we’ll teach you (over time, of course.) All volunteers active or interested in serving on board the train (from Car Host to licensed steam locomotive Engineer) must attend a Rules Class at least once every three years. Potential candidates for train crew are welcome to join us to learn how to operate our historic equipment safely and efficiently.

Discussion Forum: Work Reports and Weekly Agendas

The Volunteers section of our Discussion Forum contains a monthly “Work Report” which highlights the immediate crews expected to be working. Check it out so you know what is going on at the railway every week.

Quick Volunteer Guides

A few of our newest volunteers put together these guides based on their own experiences. While they are designed to be printed, they contain many details about making the most of your WW&F experience.

Contact Us: Sign Up or Get More Details

Please direct any specific questions to info@wwfry.org. Or call us at 207-882-4193 ext. 1 and one of our volunteers (you get the idea) will call you back.