Elsecar Heritage Railway

Elsecar Heritage Railway

At a glance


  • Museums / heritage

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Its not just about a train....

We are a small, public owned, heritage railway - the only one in South Yorkshire. We offer Yorkshire heritage - Yorkshire hospitality.  We are 100% volunteer run with the charitable objects of heritage preservation and education.  We run from Elsecar to Cortonwood in a rural area that was previously the heart of the South Yorkshire coalfield and is still recovering from the decline of heavy industry. We are a visitor attraction that focuses on delivering trains and events to the local community as well as, through our steam engine training, reaching a global audience.   We love to share our railway with people and encourage our visitors to engage up close with travel of a bygone age, having both an entertaining and fun time, but a learning experience too.  

It is not all about trains though.  We have a strong community of volunteers, especially older men (some have been coming over 20 years now) and younger people with social engagement needs and we help provide a home that is engaging and comfortable for them.  We help with skills training, especially relating to the rail industry, engineering and special needs, plus diverse business needs like customer service, events management and finance. We are part of the Heritage Action Zone for Elsecar/Dearne Valley and as we grow we provide a vital link that bounds the valley and brings in essential income from the tourist industry.  We work incredibly hard to preserve amazing machines and to increase our visitor proposition and all mainly from the resources we generate as a not-for-profit business.  

The railway is an engaging passion, for volunteers and visitors alike.  You do not have to be a railway fanatic, to know the ins and outs of every engine or number, or how a railway is run.  We are a community, with a passion for welcoming people to enjoy what we do.  We are a business which struggles its way through the challenges that all business face, like governance, strategy, plan, legislation, finance, cash flow, marketing, product, customer care, team, recruitment, retention....

We have a bold vision to more than double in size, in terms of track, engines, stations, visitor attraction, interpretation and museum services.  Of course, this brings the growth challenges of project management, finance, people, skills, risk ...

We need help.  People passionate about community, skills and knowledge transfer, making things happen, generating funding and revenue and getting involved in a not-for-profit with exciting, radical and different plans.  Of course, if you like the sight, sound, smells and heat of a steam engine that's fun too!


  • Make people welcome - we are known from our hospitality 
  • Footplate Experience Courses - were paying delegates learn to drive and fire steam engines and drive diesels.  In 2015 we delivered over 500 courses attracting people from all over the UK, plus Holland, Germany, USA and Australia.
  • Sunday afternoon service trains - that keep the heritage available at an economic price to the local community
  • Events to bring entertain to visitors or all generations (and much needed revenue to us), such as Santa, beer festival, ghosts, cream teas...
  • Charter trains, such as weddings, celebrations and even funerals
  • Preserve locomotives and stock - with Mardy Monster being our current main restoration activity, so far costing over £200,000
  • Work with training schools and groups to give railway and work experience, including volunteering opportunities for squads of young soldiers from the British Army
  • Build a volunteering community, without paid staff, and offering diversity in volunteering which gives a safe harbour for many more vulnerable community members.
  • And basically we try to have fun, but at times it is real hard work!

No current opportunities

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