Since its historical beginnings in 1987, the York-Durham Heritage Railway has been run primarily by volunteers. Our organization would literally fall off the rails without the dedication of the many friends of the railway. There is no shortage of work and we are always looking for new members to help in the many tasks required to keep the YDHR running smoothly.

Interested? Become a YDHR member

Our volunteer members all have something unique and valuable to offer the railway. We have retired teachers, computer specialists, chemical engineers, financial analysts, motor mechanics, and more! All of these people enjoy the challenge of volunteer work and the pleasure of knowing our heritage is being preserved. Anyone can volunteer as: individuals, couples or families.

You can contribute your time to any of these volunteer positions

Train Ambassador

We are actively trying to find individuals who enjoy interacting with people. Become an Ambassador for the train, answering questions before the train ride, and engaging guests during their trip.

Operating Crew

The crew consists of an engineer, conductor and trainmen. We will train you on hand signals, radio etiquette, hook-ups, brake tests, runarounds and locomotive driving. All it takes is a willingness to learn – no railway background experience is needed!

Track Department

YDHR is responsible for maintaining all the track, railway crossings, switches and derails on the line. Outdoor jobs that aren’t as heavy include brush clearing, sign repair and line inspection. There’s always plenty of track work on a line in excess of 12 miles.

Locomotive Maintenance

For those who enjoy the challenge of first generation diesel-electric motive power. We have 3 locomotives , so there’s always plenty of work to do.

Car Department

Maintenance and repair of our passenger coaches, including body work, window repair, carpentry, electrical and plumbing.

On-board Services

This includes our ticket counter, snack bar and souvenir stand. Ticket sales, snack & refreshment counter, souvenir shop. If you enjoy meeting people and helping them enjoy their trip, these positions are right for you.


We are always looking for new photographs and video of our special-themed trips.

Railway Artifacts Museum

We’re looking to include more heritage railway equipment. We have 2 pieces of rolling stock that need repair and refurbishing work before they can be added to the museum. Plenty of opportunity for someone with interest in heritage equipment.

General Maintenance

Maintain the grounds, our storage trailers, work sheds and other equipment. We also have gardening, painting, carpentry, metal work, general labour and other activities around the yard calling out for attention.

Volunteer Membership

All volunteers are required to maintain Membership status for insurance purposes – but there are also many advantages!

  • Members who volunteer their time can ride the train for free. Certain conditions apply; please refer to the “Members Benefits” section in the 2019 YDHR Membership Application
  • You will receive our quarterly newsletter, the Connecting Rod, with YDHR updates and interesting rail articles.
  • You will have the opportunity to vote at our annual general meeting
  • Friendships with fellow rail-fans!

Membership fees:

  • SINGLE MEMBERSHIP $40.00 (HST not included)
  • COUPLES MEMBERSHIP $45.00 (HST not included)
  • FAMILY MEMBERSHIP $50.00 (HST not included)

2019 YDHR Membership Application

Attention High School Students
Volunteer with YDHR to complete your community service hours needed for graduation! Find out how.