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’s West Coast Rangers hold rendezvous

Three-day event featured historical re-enactment

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

Port Alberni’s ‘Army of Problem Solvers’ to the rescue

Facebook group gathers people who just want to help their neighbours

Hurricane Katrina inspires Alberni author’s new novel

Jacqueline Swann brings message of climate change to life with story of fictional journalist

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing teenage girl

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home on May 9

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Most Read