ELKINS - Spending 12 weeks in the remote Nevada desert may not be the type of internship Davis & Elkins College student Daniel Condo ever fathomed, but it’s one he can’t wait to begin. The lifelong train enthusiast minoring in railway heritage tourism management will spend the better part of his summer break learning the overall operation of a steam powered excursion railroad.
Condo, a resident of Massillon, Ohio, was recently selected for a paid internship with the Nevada Northern Railway National Historic Landmark. Located in Ely, Nevada, the railroad facility consists of original steam and diesel railway locomotives, rolling stock, track, passenger station and buildings that served the historic copper mining region for more than a century. Each year, thousands of visitors explore the complex and enjoy a 90-minute train ride.
Condo is the third Davis & Elkins College student to participant in the internship arranged through the Center for Railway Tourism at D&E.
“We value our relationship with the Nevada Northern Railway,” said Center Director Jim Porterfield. “Our interns have made a career commitment to preserving railroad heritage and sharing it with the public. In Ely they learn not only the nuts and bolts of that effort, but can discern what of their ideas hold merit.”
Mark Bassett, president of the Nevada Northern Railway National Historic Landmark, calls the partnership a triple win.
“It’s a win for the program at D&E because they offer their students real world experience,” Bassett said. “It’s a win for the students because they receive a paid internship to learn about the railway heritage field. It’s a win for us here at the railroad because it brings us motivated students who have made excellent contributions to our effort. We look forward to continuing and expanding this partnership with Davis & Elkins College.”
During his internship, Condo will live in an authentic bunk house and work daily shifts on the train, in the shops or at the museum.
“I really hope to learn the ins and outs of the business aspect, too,” Condo said. “You have to know how to separate the rail fan from the businessman to learn the most economical way to keep rail heritage going in the long term.”
From family vacations that always included a railroad aspect to collecting nearly 20 model trains and creating railway themed paintings, Condo has a true passion for railroading. He hopes to eventually have a career in railway heritage preservation and interpretation.
Now in his second semester at D&E, Condo majors in business management and minors in railway heritage tourism management. With a degree in two-dimensional fine arts from Bowling Green State University, he decided to go back to school when he saw a flyer for the Center for Railway Tourism’s program.
“For anyone who’s interested in trains as a career, it’s here at D&E,” Condo said.
The Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins College is a component of the management program within the Division of Business & Entrepreneurship. The railway heritage tourism minor provides students with the experience necessary to undertake and succeed at a career in managing railway heritage sites. The program and its courses are open to all students, regardless of their major.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Davis & Elkins College student Daniel Condo uses a soft-bristled paint brush to clean a model railroad display in the Robert C. Byrd Center. Condo will spend part of his summer working on a real railroad as an intern with the Nevada Northern Railway National Historic Landmark (www.nnry.com) in Ely, Nevada.