How the rail industry works

Rail is a complex industry, and the way it is structured varies from country to country. The below diagrams give an initial grounding – click to view larger versions.

If you are a volunteer wanting to know who to contact, see the advice at the foot of this page.

Who to contact – tips for volunteers

In the UK, a good first point of contact is your local Station Manager. You can get their contact details from posters displayed at the station. Also, see if your line has a Community Rail Partnership. If so, contact them.
Volunteering at stations is something that hasn’t traditionally been done in France. However, you could try contacting Gares et Connexions via their website.
Volunteering at stations is something that hasn’t traditionally been done in Germany. However, you could try contacting either the station manager, the transport authority (for example Aachener Verkehrsverbund if you live in Aachen) or the council’s transport team.
In the Netherlands, contact your local council or NS Stations regarding projects at stations, or speak to the local train operator if you are interested in your whole line.
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