Vandals hit Port Alberni McLean Mill train

WatchTwo youths have been arrested after two rail cars used for tourism rides to the McLean Mill in Port Alberni were hit by vandals. Volunteers with the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society say they're still adding up the cost of broken windows and ripped seats.

Volunteers with the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society were busy Wednesday working on an old locomotive that will once again pull rail cars full of tourists through Port Alberni.

However, the cars themselves now need repairs after a major vandalism spree on Monday.

“They broke some windows to get in because they were locked, [then took] about five fire extinguishers that they smashed windows with and then squirted them off and anything else they found that they could kick the windows with because all the glass is laying outside,” said the Society’s President Pete Geddes.

The rail cars are sitting in the city-owned yard because the ride is idle this summer.

The vandalism occurred Monday in broad daylight.

“One of our fellows was coming down to do some work here and he looked out at the train and saw some people in it so he phoned the police and they came down and caught the kids coming out of the coaches,” added Geddes.

“It’s just senseless, just senseless vandalism, I don’t know, I don’t get it,” said volunteer Mike Roxburgh.

And that’s how everyone around the yard feels now, at a loss to explain why they’d be the target of such senseless and expensive vandalism.

“Somebody comes down and destroys stuff that’s the pride of Port Alberni, I don’t know. It’s just ridiculous,” added another volunteer Brent Pennington.

“There’s a lot of work put into these trains. There’s a lot of guys who put a lot of days and a lot of their free time down here working,” said volunteer Sarah Smith.

Port Alberni RCMP confirm two youths are awaiting their first court appearance on mischief charges.

The volunteers are happy to hear that but say they’d like to see some immediate punishment.

“Come down and clean up the mess they made. That’s what I’d suggest they start doing anyway,” said Roxburgh.

The Society hopes donations from the public will help it cover the cost of damages.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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