Rogue River Project

Help Wanted – Coopersville & Marne Railway Company

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

Squire ‘rides the rails’ on historic railway by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL All little boys love trains and some never lose that fascination. One such is Rockford resident Andrew Kersting. Squire readers will recall that Kersting founded the Rogue River Project. Since 2005 Kersting has joined forces with Trout Unlimited and local citizens for annual litter clean-up days of the Rogue River. This year Kersting was gratified and more than pleased that the annual event was not necessary because the river was amazingly clean. It seems river users had “gotten religion” and are now policing and cleaning the river themselves. Kersting, 23, is an amazing young man. Not only does he have a love of the environment, he is a volunteer Conductor and a Brakeman with the Coopersville & Marne Railway (C&M). Recently Kersting contacted the Squire and asked if we would like, one day, to take the short 30-minute drive to Coopersville to “ride the rails” on an authentic old-fashioned passenger trail. One of your reporters still has a hand-carved toy train from his childhood and for him the question was a no-brainer…”Lets GO!” Last Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. found us at the C&M engine house, in the heart of downtown Coopersville, to meet the train’s crew as they were about to prep the locomotive for the day’s two runs. The railway’s locomotive is a 125-ton General Motors SW9 switcher, #7014. Built in 1952, the engine is lovingly maintained by the all-volunteer staff of C&M. The 1,200 horse power diesel engine of the locomotive turns a generator which in turn feeds 600 volts of electricity to the traction motors that are geared to the locomotive’s 8 drive wheels. Along with Kersting acting as Brakeman, the train’s scheduled crew of the day included another Rockford resident Conductor Al Kolpack, along with Engineer Bruce Quinn and Brakeman Trainee Mike Smith, both from Grand Rapids. Kolpack and Quinn are both certified by C&M as Brakeman and Conductors and both hold federal Engineer licenses. The two of them have been volunteers with C&M for a combined 19 years. “Although the Engineer is responsible for the operation of the locomotive,” said Kolpack, “the conductor is the boss on all trains. The train doesn’t move until the Conductor says […]