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People Watching: Camille Jasiorkowski, Look Park Train Conductor

  • All aboard with Camille Jasiorkowski. Gazette staff/ Caroline O’Connor



@RebeccaMMullen
Friday, August 11, 2017

Anyone who’s been a child or has a child in Hampshire County probably has fond
memories of Look Park’s steamer train. Since the 1940s, the miniature locomotive has been toting passengers around the one-mile stretch of tracks, past the park’s petting zoo, athletic fields and jungle gyms.

A string of fresh-faced high school and college students conduct the train and sell tickets out of the one-story train station fashioned to look like a Victorian house.

OK, maybe the conductors aren’t always fresh-faced — in the past, a few kids have looked like they’ve just rolled out of bed — but this summer welcomed a particularly enthusiastic crop.

We caught up with one conductor during her second day on the job. Camille Jasiorkowski of Southampton has been working at the park for nearly three years. Her first job was in the visitor’s center, running the cash register, renting out picnic tables and answering phones.

But she always had her eye on the conductor position, she said: “This is definitely one of the more exciting places in the park.”

So, when she turned 18 (the minimum age required to be a conductor), she applied for the job. Training lasted just a few days and mostly consisted of “explaining all the knobs,” she said.

Now, she works eight-hour shifts, pretty much 9-5. She and another conductor take turns driving the train, doing three rides on and three rides off. Camille gets minimum wage but said train conducting beats her other job — working at CVS.

“It’s an awesome job in the summertime,” she said. 

Camille graduated from Hampshire Regional High School earlier in the summer. This fall, she’s headed to the University of Vermont to study biology. She wants to work in genetics, either as a doctor or lab researcher studying incurable diseases. Her grandmother has Parkinson’s disease, and Camille said her struggle inspired her to go into medicine. “I’m a total science person — my brain works and thinks that way,” she said. 

While we were talking, Camille got a chance to put her medical skills to the test. A boy came into the train station with a bleeding finger. He had been bitten by one of the goats in the park zoo, he said. Camille administered Band-Aids and chatted easily with the boy. She is certified in first aid and CPR, she said: “It’s not all required for the job — my school had me do it.”

In her spare time, Camille enjoys running, mentoring kids and getting involved with her church youth group. And soon enough, she’ll graduate from the kiddie train to the real one when she takes the Amtrak Vermonter to Burlington to start college.

Job hazards: “The other day we had a kid put a rock on the tracks.”

Best part of the gig? “The kids absolutely love it. They get so excited about the littlest things, it’s so cute… it’s not a hard job, it’s a fun job.” 

Train regulars: “Lots of kids that I recognize week to week… There’s a few that come back weekly, and they always have their conductor hats on.” 

Tips for working in the heat? “Stay as hydrated as you can, drink as much water as possible.” 

What do you eat in an average day? Breakfast: smoothie; lunch: sandwich, piece of fruit and chips. She sometimes gets lunch from the Look Park Grill. “Grilled cheese is my favorite.” 

Train memories: “As a kid it’s like the thing to do, your parents bring you here all the time… when you’re little, you definitely think it’s the coolest job in the world.”

Is there an age limit? “As they get older, they like to scream through the tunnel and make a lot of noise… the train is kind of timeless.”