POINT PLEASANT — Kindergartners recently took a ride on a locomotive for learning.
This week, Mrs. Jocelyn Casto and Mrs. Michelle Mitchell, teachers at Leon Elementary, took their classes to the Appalachian Industrial Park to ride a diesel locomotive and learn about a life working with trains. They visited the company Appalachian Railcar Service, which is located inside the industrial park. ARS services and stores rail cars for major companies.
This is the third year that Leon Elementary has brought students to ARS for train rides. Casto started this annual event because her father Brett Russel is an employee there, and has always been fascinated with trains and the rail system.
“We want to expose the kids to as many career choices as we can, and educate them about new things as much as we can,” Casto explained.
The kids all got to ride in a diesel locomotive around the rail yard and hear a story with “Mike the Train Man.” They heard the children’s classic “The Little Engine that Could.”
Russel said that: “We really enjoy doing this with the kids because its educational. We’re a part of the community, we give jobs to the community, and we want to give back.”
While the students do not know this, Russel had placed a fake alligator in the pond that kids could take a look at. Few got very close to it.
There were 22 students who came for the train ride, as well as several parents. The engine they rode on was not a full size locomotive, weighing only 296 thousand pounds. A wide-body locomotive, like what would be seen on the tracks is nearly 430,000 pounds. This immense weight is what enables trains to move such large amounts of goods in an efficient way, explained Russell.
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