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University of Wisconsin-Superior
Belknap and Catlin
P.O. Box 2000
Superior, WI 54880
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Summer school with transportation and logistics students takes on a whole new meaning when you can climb aboard an active railroad locomotive, jump inside a brand new never been driven before semi-truck and learn about Great Lakes shipping.
Michigan Tech and UW-Superior are again co-hosting the Youth Rail and Intermodal summer program. 17 high school students from around the country are getting the chance of a lifetime to learn first-hand about railroads, trucking and logistics.
UW-Superior professor Dr. Richard Stewart gave a short classroom presentation to the group on how it all ties together to move product from one location to another. Stewart is also the director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at UW-Superior and Co-Director of the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.
The group will have another fun day of learning on Thursday when they take a closer look at Great Lakes shipping and rail as they tour the CN Ore Docks. Following that they will tour the Duluth Railroad Museum and will take a train ride up Lester River..
The students have been learning about transportation and logistics operations with educational stops in Houghton, MI, Marquette, MI, Superior, WI and Duluth, MN. Now in its 4th year, the program allows students to learn all aspects of the transportation industry. . The hands on learning experience is the key.
Tommy Edwards is the Terminal Trainmaster at the Superior Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail yard and has been involved in the field for about a decade. He said, "I Like to see kids interested in the transportation and logistics industry and show them how unique this industry really is. We focus on safety and show them how important that it is in what we do here at BNSF."
The students were able to climb aboard a locomotive engine that was about to depart from Superior to Minneapolis and was carrying a load of 11,000 tons. The train had 8 locomotive engines but only three were active and they were moving 136 cars on their journey.
Ryan Kapperud is the Division Trainmaster at the Superior BNSF location and gave the kids great insight into the railroad industry and the jobs that are available. It was a two member crew on the train with a student intern aboard and the train stretched a mile and half long and would reach a top speed of about 40 mph according to Kapperud.
Kapperud was happy to give back to the students, "I appreciate the opportunity to speak to young adults about the railroad and the opportunities that railroads provide. I believe that this is our best opportunity to talk to young and old alike about safety around railroad equipment. We learn from a very young age how fun it is to run a train and how important and big they can be, but not everyone understands just how careful you need to be around them. Sometimes all of that built up energy, weight, and hardness of rail equipment can be very unforgiving when things go wrong. Train equipment is fun to watch, but usually from a safe distance. This was a great opportunity to teach railroad enthusiasts to develop and explore their interests in a safe and smart way."
UW-Superior student, Derek Krivinchuck was a camp staff member and was impressed with what the group was able to learn. "This camp is a unique experience to bring kids from all over the country together to learn about intermodal transportation. They have the opportunity to see up close how various modes of transportation both work together and compete against one another to gain a competitive advantage. They get incredible behind the scenes access which isn't available to the general public, and have the opportunity to meet students and professionals from within the respective industries."
Krivinchuck is a senior, majoring in transportation and logistics at UW-Superior from Poplar, Wis. and was able to present some of his transportation research at the Posters in the Rotunda program at the state capitol in Madison last April.
Another highlight for the group was at Halvor Trucking headquarters in Superior, WI. There they were able to meet with the management staff, some of which have graduated through the UW-Superior transportation and logistics program, and were able to tour the facilities and drive an actual truck simulator that the drivers use for training.
Halvor has three separate lines they operate in Superior and are now in their 45th year of operation. Jon Vinje is the CEO of the company and also met with the group. Halvor staff again talked about safety and how important that it is in their industry as well. They operate over 300 units and 850 trailers and have 400 employees.
Al Dirksen, director of logistics for Halvor Lines, said they have a great relationship with UW-Superior and their Transportation and Logistics Research Center; they currently have 6 UW-Superior graduates on their staff along with two interns. He was proud of the cooperative relationship, "We have a great partnership and business relationship with UW-Superior, we are glad to do business with them." Halvor is currently storing some UW-Superior items at their warehouse while the school is undergoing some residence hall remodeling.
This camp provided not only eye opening opportunities in the transportation field but perhaps the incentive to make it a lifelong career thanks to those who do it every day, love it and teach it.
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