West Virginia Operation Lifesaver has completed the thirteenth annual WVOL Rail Camp. The camp began in 2000 and has continued to operate and grow over the years. According to WVOL State Coordinator, John Perry, “When we started the camp we weren’t sure if it would continue or not, but our supporters continued to provide the funding we need. We at WVOL consider this camp a very important means of getting our very important safety message out.” This year the camp was held at Camp Pinnacle near Wardensville in Hardy County, West Virginia. Each year around 50 young people between the ages of ten and 17 gather for the annual event. Perry added, “Thus far no camper has paid anything to attend the camp.” The only cost to parents or guardians is the cost of getting the student campers to the camp and back home.
This year student campers again used the South Branch Valley Railroad for their on track experiences. They had a dinner train ride along the beautiful South Branch of the Potomac, toured the South Branch shop, dispatch center to see how the railroad operates, and had a demonstration on the electrical and mechanical workings of a highway-rail grade crossing. Each camper also had the opportunity to operate a locomotive (under the watchful eye of SBVRR engineer Bill Hill) so they could experience the feeling that even a light locomotive cannot stop quickly.The campers also got to take a trip on the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park’s steam train. The campers left Cass and rode to Whittaker Station where they had lunch and returned to Cass.
In addition, the student campers received one hour of classroom training each day from WVOL presenters, Anthony Cole and Don Mills. WVOL Board of Directors Chairman, Roger Lipscomb noted, “These young people get very good classroom instruction and then get to see what they have learned on an operating railroad. Our goal is that they will take what they’ve learned back home to their parents, their friends and their schools.”
This year’s camp hosted student campers from nine states.
Perry added, “We want to thank our sponsors, the Rahall Transportation Institute, TrakSpec Railroad Corp., the Collis P. Huntington Chapter, NRHS, the White Oak Chapter, NHRS, The State Rail Authority of West Virginia, and the South Branch Valley Railroad. We especially want to thank SBVRR Superintendent, John Philbrick and all of our volunteers who came to watch over, cook for, teach and take care of the campers. Chef Betty Reed provided great food the entire week.”
WVOL Rail Camp 2012 Staff
Click photo for larger image