Doing the right thing has its rewards. That’s what the 1880 Train found out in hosting the Prairie to Peaks Iron Horse Rail Summer Camp last week for seven young people. As one camper said, “When I came here, I knew nothing about railroading and didn’t really like it. But now I think it’s awesome!”
In partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Train hosted the camp at the Black Hills Central Railroad (BHCR) in Hill City, SD.
“I believe that the Prairies to Peaks Iron Horse Rail Summer Camp could not have chosen a more perfect location or group of individuals to partner with for our inaugural camp than the Black Hills Central Railroad, in Hill City, South Dakota!” says camp organizer Ken Naylor, who is also a railroad safety specialist/chief inspector with the FRA of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “The management and employees of the 1880Train family has become our family.”
The camp’s main purpose is to teach young people, ages 11-15 years, rail safety around highway/rail grade crossings, railroad rights-of-ways, rail equipment and rail operations. In addition, it educates them about the many different crafts that are necessary to operate a railroad and exposes them to the opportunities available in the rail industry.
The campers attended the camp for free (including food and lodging), thanks to the following organizations:
- Black Hills Central Railroad
- BNSF Railway Company
- Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees
- D&I Railroad Company
- Ellis & Eastern Railroad Company
- Michael Lestingi
- Montana Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainman
- Montana Operation Lifesaver
- Montana Rail Link
- Mount Rushmore KOA
- Nebraska Northwestern Railroad Company
- North Dakota Operation Lifesaver/North Dakota Safety Council
- Northern Plains Railroad Company
- Red River Valley & Western Railroad Company
- South Dakota Legislative Board of the United Transportation Union
- South Dakota State Railroad Museum
- Wyoming Legislative Board of the United Transportation Union
As far as rewards for all involved, some other comments that the campers made were:
“I enjoyed being at this camp, and I learned stuff like ‘stay off of the railroad tracks.’ I learned some simple rules about railroad safety. So, in other words I love this camp!”
“This camp was fun. I liked everything about the camp: the train ride, learning about trains and everything. I learned that I wish I could come back next year!”
“The camp was fun! It was interesting learning about steam engines. It was fun in the museum playing with the model trains. This is my favorite railroad camp!”
“I liked this camp because I enjoyed learning about the different kinds of trains and identifying them and listening and learning about the movies that steam engine #7 has been in.”
The camp is just one of many educational opportunities the BHCR is starting this year. The Train is holding daily Engine House Tours and three in-depth Steam Seminars this season, as well. These opportunities are all intended to stir a passion and respect for trains in young and old, alike. Looks like the 1880 Train has done the right thing!
Written by Debbie Ketel, the new 1880 Train blogger. By night, on weekends and between kids’ events, I convey the vision of the 1880 Train to YOU. (I’m also learning about trains.) Join the blog and take part in my journey!