All Aboard to Port Alberni!
The Emmy Award-Winning Public Television series, Great Scenic Railway Journeys, will be headed to Port Alberni, British Columbia to profile one of its historic rail sites. The Alberni Pacific Railway has caught the attention of the show’s producers, with its rich history, colorful past, and its current operations. Filming will take place August 12-14th. The railway was selected to be in the batch of programming that will hit the PBS airwaves in the spring of 2012. Show creator and producer Robert Van Camp states, “We are very excited to be able to include this historic location in our next special. We have filmed several railways in Canada and The Alberni Pacific Railway will be a great addition to our programming.”
The Alberni Pacific Railway (APR) operates on six miles of track, part of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway’s 39-mile Alberni Subdivision which was completed in 1911. In 1983 the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society was formed with the purpose of restoring a 1912 logging Shay locomotive, with steam and diesel rides beginning in 1984. In 1990 the City of Port Alberni purchased the Port Alberni station, which is currently the headquarters of the society and the ticket office for the Alberni Pacific. Also in 1984 the McLean family donated the equipment and buildings of the 1926 to 1965 steam sawmill and village to the city. In 1989 the McLean Mill was designated a National Historic Site, in 2000 the mill opened to the public, and in 2001 the railway started running a steam train to the mill with the No. 7, a 1929 Baldwin 2-8-2 saddle tank. This mill is Western Canada’s only operating steam sawmill. The Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society operates both the railway and the mill, with the Alberni Valley Museum working closely with the society.
More then just train rides
Today the Alberni Pacific Railway has more to offer than just historic train rides. There is the Tin Pants Theatre Show, sawmill demonstrations, special event planning, vintage truck shows, steam donkey and spar tree demonstrations, and even train robberies. Along with all the fun on the railway and McLean Mill there is also the remarkable Canadian scenery to experience.
Great Scenic Railway Journeys is hosted by David Holt; produced and directed by show creator Robert C. Van Camp.
Robert Van Camp
If you would like more information visit the Great Scenic Railway Journeys website http://gsrj.com/.
For further information about the Alberni Pacific Railway, McLean Mill National Historic Site or our other heritage attractions please visit www.alberniheritage.com.