Trainspotters spotted in Alberni

Port Alberni volunteers pull out all the stops for European rail buffs on special Vancouver Island stop.

Rail buffs from Europe

The No. 7 steam train was the star of the show, Wednesday, as 35 rail buffs from Europe, Scandinavia and Australia visited the Alberni Valley for a day long photo opp.

The train was set up as a heritage logging train, complete with six large cedar logs loaned to the Alberni Pacific Railway by the Coulson Group and a newly-painted caboose, also borrowed.

Photographers started at the roundhouse early Wednesday morning, and the volunteer crew took them to a few choice spots along the way to McLean Mill National Historic Site.

Bernd Seiler of FarRail Tours in Germany organized the side trip to the Alberni Valley. The photographers had been to Alaska and the Yukon Territory to ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway, and will head to Washington State later this week to ride more rails.

Seiler was looking for something to fill in the gap and a friend in Victoria, historian Robert Turner, suggested Port Alberni.

The volunteers did a great job preparing the train for the photographers, Seiler said. It was a challenging shoot because there is so much vegetation beside the tracks, but there were sufficient places for the photographers to get plenty of video and still shots, he added.

The tour was a coup for Port Alberni, local co-ordinator Ken Rutherford said. “It’s showcasing our railroad and our historic fabric to Europeans, Australians and some people from England,” he said.

While critics of the railroad and mill say “it’s just a steam train,” Seiler said that’s a big draw in Europe. “In Europe there are many people interested in railways and especially heritage railways,” he said.

There are hundreds of small railways across Europe and five major railway magazines with readership of more than 100,000 each, so “it’s quite common to photograph railways,” he said.

He organizes 10 to 12 such photo tours a year all around the world. Seiler said he would return to Port Alberni “as soon as you open the line to Cameron Lake. You have beautiful trestles there.”

The Industrial Heritage Society made several thousand dollars by hosting the tour, and McLean Mill made money too, Rutherford said.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Alberni Pacific Railway temporarily halted

Technical Safety BC discovers ‘regulatory violations’

BCHL: Bulldogs see fourth straight loss at BCHL showcase

Alberni Valley Bulldogs on the road again this weekend

Port Alberni Black Sheep fall to Surrey Beavers in rugby action

Three tries late in the second half cemented the win for Beavers

Addiction should be treated, not criminalized, say health professionals

Port Alberni Shelter Society forum talks opioid crisis

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Alberni Teens Can Rock band Stranger Than Fiction releases first single

Port Alberni group has been performing since 2016

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read