Sunday, April 7th was a special day at the B&O Roundhouse. Midwest held its' first ever Youth Day giving our youngest members a unique opportunity for some hands on experience reflecting what our certified train crew members do on a daily basis.
The day started out with some class time for Stephen Thomas, Marcus Weber, Sebastian Marconi and Erik Hirzer that included teaching the hand signals that would be used later in the railyard with the operating crew. After class, lessons resumed around our Alco locomotive 123 and Nickel Plate passenger car 90, where engineers Steve Emling and Bud Ramkey pointed out break rigging, valves, coupler components and other parts integral to operation of the equipment.
Once the locomotive was fired up and ready to go they were shown how to use the hand signals to perform a coupling maneuver between 123 and 90. Once coupled they connected the glad hands of the brake hoses and aired up the car by opening the angle cock.
While running, everyone got to take the "point" to watch the track and learn how to count down distance by car length when coming to a stop. All of the participants then got some seat time in the locomotive while performing a large switch using 90 and eight additional cars.
During the course of the afternoon everyone was instructed on the proper procedure for crossing the tracks, and finally, how to tie down the train when finished.
Each member was given two pictures taken during their turn in the seat and a certificate acknowledging their participation in the event as well as a Midwest 4070 cap.
All of the participants are active members that volunteer for various activities and work crews. Although their activities during Youth Day do not qualify them to perform any of those tasks on site, it may encourage them to eventually take the next step to take actual classes to become certified brakemen, conductors and possibly hostlers or engineers.
The future of our organization is in the hands of our younger members and Youth Day was one step to ensure that future.