BCIT students Milan Josik and Shannon Sears use hand motions to wave foward a locomotive while instructor Riv McIntyre looks on during the conductor training practicum at the APR Roundhouse last week.

Students get hands-on training with Alberni Pacific Railway

BCIT students completed their conductor training practicum in the Alberni Valley last week.

ELENA RARDON

ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS

 

Port Alberni residents might have noticed the rail lines getting a bit more use last week, as a group of BCIT students completed their conductor training practicum with the Alberni Pacific Railway.

BCIT’s conductor training program is a 17-week course that prepares students to work as conductors on freight trains. It is a highly paid job, but comes with a high amount of responsibility.

This year, the APR celebrates its 10-year partnership with BCIT, as more than 35 practicum groups have come to Port Alberni since 2006.

“We are honoured to be part of this program,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society (IHS).

Other practice sites in Canada use a similar multi-track set-up, but the Alberni Valley has the benefit of the nearby McLean Mill National Historic Site and an uphill track. No other site has the use of a hill for practice.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have the best practicum site in Canada,” said Hunter.

The students start early in the morning and practice until after dark, in all kinds of weather—as close to a real-life simulation as possible.

Students were split into two groups last week, for two, two-and-a-half-day sessions. Each class started out with a safety briefing and practiced different hand motions to give directions to cars. Most of the practice work consisted of moving the trains in order, while working with different trains on different tracks.

They split into different groups to do work in the cabs and on the ground—a necessity because of the large sizes of the classes.

Most students, said Hunter, come from the lower mainland. One of these students was Shannon Sears, who hails from Nelson. She was the only female student in this particular session, although Hunter says they have had others in the past and hopes it becomes more common in the future.

“I wanted to try something completely different,” said Sears, when asked what piqued her interest about the industry. She previously worked for Interior Health and at a gym before joining BCIT.

The BCIT practicum program runs at the APR with the help of 10 different volunteers, and revenue goes right back into the railway equipment.

There are still spaces open in the next training course at BCIT next March.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

Just Posted

Port Alberni co-ops targeted in different crimes

One break-and-enter, one case of graffiti at each gas station

Offroad racing happening at Alberni Motorsports Park July 21–22

Last mud truck event until September on the Port Alberni track

Lease agreement signed for Port Alberni oil spill response base

25-year lease agreement is part of a larger expansion plan

Cherry Creek sets water restrictions for summer 2018

Stage One water restrictions are in effect immediately

EDITORIAL: Rezoning would unravel red tape for business in Port Alberni

Harbour Quay is traditionally for tourist and marine-based businesses…

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

B.C. city wants pot punted from farmland

Concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

Most Read