Volunteer Hosts

The Otago Excursion Train Trust welcomes applications for membership. If you have a general interest in railways and like meeting and interacting with overseas tourists this is the place for you. The following is some information to help you in understanding a volunteers position on a charter train.

Every year from October to the following April Port Otago has a large number of Cruise Ship visits. This past season 79 charters for special trains were .received by Dunedin Railways and started on the 8th of October 2016 with the Sun Princess  and finished on the 17th of April 2017 with the Sirena.  These trains were staffed in part by volunteer hosts from the Trust. Dunedin Railways also operates other charter trains where volunteer hosts may be required.

A volunteer host's job on these trains is to interact with the passengers,  serving them prepacked meals., tea and coffee, a selection of New Zealand wines and beers, soft drinks and water.  A host needs be a good ambassador for Dunedin, answering questions about the city and it's surroundings and generally helping the passengers to enjoy their train trip.

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To be a host on these trains you need to be a member of the Trust and to be prepared to attend a host's training course. You will be given a copy of the host handbook and you must be fully aware and understand it's contents. A degree of physical fitness and a tidy appearance are important requirements. You will be responsible to the Volunteer Host in charge of the train volunteers

For your information the permanent employees of the Company that you as a volunteer should be aware of, in the operation of these charter trains are:

  • Locomotive Engineer (LE) who is in charge of the locomotives and train.
  • Guard, this is the person in charge of carriages and is primarily responsible for safety.
  • Train Manager who is primarily responsible for passenger service.
  • Locomotive Assistant  assists the LE with the movement and general working of the train.
  • Buffet Staff, these are the staff responsible for provisioning the train. You will have most interaction with these staff through the Volunteer Host
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Cruise Ship train at Pukerangi, the terminus for most Cruise Ship trains

 If you have the time and are interested you can find out more by filling in the Membership Application form here and an OETT representative will contact you.