Ted Mollett, an engineer with the Alberni Pacific Railway, checks the daily operating bulletin on board the RS3 diesel locomotive before it hooks onto the rest of the train at the roundhouse. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Ted Mollett, an engineer with the Alberni Pacific Railway, checks the daily operating bulletin on board the RS3 diesel locomotive before it hooks onto the rest of the train at the roundhouse. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Alberni Pacific Railway temporarily halted

Number 11 diesel locomotive has passed its inspection “with flying colours”

The Alberni Pacific Railway is working to get back on the rails after it was temporarily halted by a Technical Safety BC inspection.

On Aug. 31, Technical Safety BC—the regulatory body that oversees rail operations—took on a scheduled inspection of Alberni Pacific Railway and found two “serious regulatory violations,” according to a letter sent to city council.

During a city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 24, city CAO Tim Pley confirmed that APR was not allowed to move any trains until those issues are addressed.

“One of those items was that a third party qualified inspector inspect the locomotives, and that work has happened,” Pley said. “Several items have been identified that need to be rectified before those trains are allowed to operate.”

In a later interview, McLean Mill Society president Sheena Falconer confirmed that this inspection determined that the Alco Diesel Locomotive needs a few repairs.

“There are three action items that need to be addressed before it can get back on the rails,” she said. At least one of these repairs, she added, will be “fairly costly.”

The Number 11 diesel locomotive, meanwhile, passed its exam “with flying colours,” said Falconer. The track itself also passed inspection. Once this information is passed on to BC Safety Authority, she said, APR will be “full steam ahead.”

“We’re very happy about that,” said Falconer. “Now we’re really focused on getting the steam back on track.”

Falconer said the McLean Mill Society has a potential source of funding for repairing the steam train, and they are hoping to have the steam locomotive up and running for the visiting cruise ships in 2019.

The future of the Alco is not known at this time, as the locomotive’s wheelset needs to be repaired. Although APR has the ability to take on this repair, Falconer said the fix is fairly expensive.

“At this point, the steam is where we really want to be,” she added.

McLean Mill’s next scheduled train run isn’t until October, when Jeepers Creepers returns to the mill.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com