How it works

When someone calls the hotline, (877) 817-4190, we ring the phones of all volunteers who are on-call at that moment. The first to pickup the phone is connected to the caller.

What is this?

Rails Hotline is a toll-free number answered by volunteer operators and supported by the community.

Vounteer to Answer Calls

See the 66 volunteers who answer calls on the hotline.

I'm scared of talking to strangers

You’re first call can be intimidating, but you’ll quickly find out that people are really friendly when they’re getting free advice!

Hotline organizers can also block bad numbers if you get a dud.

Will everybody see my phone number?

Nope. We route all the calls through the main hotline number.

I’m not really an expert

You probably know a lot more than the average person.

A lot of calls are from beginners who really just need a push in the right direction.

What if I don’t know the answer to a callers question?

Don’t fret, most callers just need someone more experienced to have a discussion with.

When faced with a real head scratcher, just think, “What would I do if I had this problem?” then point the caller in the right direction.

From our experience, they’ll appreciate the guidance.

What happens when I get a call?

The call will come from the hotline number, (877) 817-4190 and when you answer it you'll have the option to be connected to the caller by pressing 1 on your phone's keypad. If you do so you'll be directly connected to the caller.

What number do the calls come from?

All calls come from the hotline number, (877) 817-4190. You can download this contact card and add it to your address book so it’ll show up on your caller id.

What if I’m busy when somebody calls?

Don’t answer it.

Callers understand that we’re all volunteers and will be ok if somebody can’t get to their call.

(If you’d like to be taken off-call you can pickup an incoming hotline call and press 9, instead of 1, and we’ll take you off immediately.)

What if I get a ton of calls?

Your phone will only ring when you choose to be available.

Also remember that we're working together as a community to answer calls.

I’m only available a few hours a week

That’s great!

You can setup a weekly schedule and then you’ll be automatically flipped on and off availability. We think you'll get a lot out of helping people, even if it's only 1 hour a week.

I don’t have time to answer calls, but I’d still like to help out

Consider buying some minutes for the hotline.

We’re completely volunteer run and community supported so every little bit helps.