Volunteer Opportunities

The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum keeps on track with the help of volunteers just like you. Without our volunteers, the railroad simply would not be able to exist. All training is “on the job, hands on”, working with an experienced volunteer.

Want to begin the process of becoming a volunteer? Download our member/volunteer form

Return completed forms to:
Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum
PO Box 603
Boone, Iowa 50036
or [email protected]

Train Operations
For those of you interested in becoming a member of the operating crew, you will receive a copy of our timetable before you begin the training process. All of the rules and procedures which govern our operations are included in the timetable. You must pass a rules and safety exam before becoming a qualified crew member.


All prospective train crew members begin their training as a student brakeman. As a student brakeman, you will work under the watchful eye of a qualified brakeman, where you will learn the responsibilities of being a brakeman. You will learn about radio communications, hand and whistle signals, air brake systems, switching operations – including how to safely couple and uncouple train cars, and how to properly align switches. Once qualified, you can be scheduled to work as a brakeman. In addition, you can begin training for diesel engine crew, conductor, or positions on the electric trolley.


The conductor is in charge of the train. He must be a qualified brakeman, therefore having an understanding of air brake systems, signals, etc. A conductor need not be qualified for engine service, but should have good people skills (the conductor IS the goodwill ambassador of the train), and the desire to ensure that passengers are having an enjoyable trip, all the time making sure that the train operates smoothly and safely. The conductor will punch passengers’ tickets, assist passengers in boarding and exiting the train, and handle any problems en-route.

Diesel Engine Crew

The engine crew is comprised of a fireman and an engineer who have the task of operating the train smoothly and safely. Students will begin to learn the inner-workings of the locomotive, learn how to conduct cab inspections, learn proper start-up and shutdown procedures, and gain a better understanding of the air brake system and train handling. You must become a qualified brakeman before you can begin training in the locomotive.

Electric Trolley

Motorman or conductor training can begin at any time. The trolley operates on Saturdays throughout our regular operating season, making trips between our depot and downtown Boone.

Other Positions

Office Assistance

Duties may include stuffing envelopes and brochures, preparing special mailings, and various other office tasks.


Attending the Iowa State Fair and other venues promoting the railroad and Boone County. Time involved varies from a few hours to a full day. You will pass out brochures, talk with people, and share information about the railroad.

Restoration and maintenance

Non-mechanical rebuilding, painting, cleaning, etc.

Gift shop

Gift shop volunteers usually work in pairs. Time commitment is usually a four-hour shift. Additional volunteers are needed during Thomas weekends to man the outdoor tent in addition to the shop located in the depot.

Maintenance/restoration/mechanical positions

Assists with maintenance and repair as assigned under supervision of railroad staff. Duties assigned depend upon experience and knowledge. You may also assist with track work, which may include track repairs, clearing brush, or trimming trees along the line.

Wolf train set-up

We are responsible for preparing the dinner and dessert trains prior to their trips. This includes setting the train with fresh linens and place settings. Volunteers are also responsible for folding the cloth napkins which are used on the trains. Time commitment is an hour or two each week.

Special events

The society hosts several special events throughout the year, including Thomas The Tank Engine, and Santa Express trains. Volunteers are vitally important to the success of these events. Help is needed in a variety of areas.

Ticket sellers

Using a computerized ticketing system, our ticket sellers sell tickets to walk-up customers at our depot ticket windows. Sales begin one hour prior to departure time, therefore sellers should arrive at the depot fifteen minutes prior to opening the ticket window so they may prepare for the day. Once the train leaves, the ticket seller will balance their till, and shutdown their system. Time commitment is approximately 90 minutes on weekdays, and 4 1/2 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Volunteers must be comfortable with the public, handling money, and be able to make change accurately.

Tour guides

Tour guides ride the train, providing valuable information to (and interacting with) our customers. Guides should enjoy working with people, and do everything that they can to ensure that our passengers have a safe, enjoyable trip. Tour guides also assist passengers boarding and exiting the train.

Appearance and attire

As we are dealing with the public, good hygiene and a neat overall appearance are a must. We want to make a positive impression on our guests! Members of the operating crew should wear clothing appropriate for their position. Shorts, open-toe shoes and tennis shoes are prohibited. Smoking is prohibited on all trains, in the depot, and on the depot platform.

Sex Offender Registry

All volunteers must provide us with information for the Sex Offender Registry. The society, with support from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, runs a background check on all volunteers. This information is maintained in the office, and is always kept confidential.

The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum / Iowa Railroad Historical Society does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.