Concept Proposal for
Regional Family Heritage
Features would be
developed in stages by the society over a period of time. As the
park develops, it would initially attract mostly local and regional
residents and guests, visitors, and tourists travelling along the
Calgary and Edmonton corridor but as the concept becomes fully
developed, it would attract visitors from a much-wider area,
ultimately becoming a world-class attractor, especially as the
complementary semi-commercial tourism component evolves.
servicing and drainage,
- replication of an 1891 C&E
Railway combination station
(likely Innisfail) as new C & E
Railway Museum and
Miniature World workshop,
- train-viewing platform and
- storage & maintenance garage,
- replication of small railway
station for reception,
- decorative garden and parking.
Edmonton Railway Museum and Heritage Centre
first stage of the proposed heritage rail park will include a
replication of the original 1891 C&E combination railway station to house the artifact collection gifted by the Junior League of Edmonton from the now-closed station museum that was located in south Edmonton. These artifacts are currently stored and displayed at the Innisfail Historical Village.
The building may also become the home of a research centre for the
Calgary & Edmonton Railway with archives and library.
The 1891 station design had been built in several locations prior to
being replaced or demolished, including at Red Deer, Innisfail,
Olds, Carstairs, Airdrie, Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Leduc and Strathcona as well as a handful of others south of Calgary.
None of the original combination stations have survived in Alberta.
Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum
Train viewing observation
platform and activity area
Also in the initial stage of the heritage rail park is an elevated
for rail enthusiasts and photographers who want to watch the busy CPR Calgary-Edmonton main rail line
that hosts up to 15 trains per day. It would eventually become a covered all-season facility with games, video and reading areas as well as a refreshment bar.
It would include an
adjoining themed playground, gardens and picnic area.
This element alone could ultimately attract a good
number of visitors from many parts of North America.
Ornamental railway station gardens
Many early railway stations had adjoining decorative gardens and
parks to present an attractive first impression of the town to
visitors and settlers getting off the train. These gardens often
included fountains, water features, pathways, flower enhancements, a gazebo and/or benches.
Red Deer was one of the towns or cities that had a memorable
ornamental garden located between the CPR station and the hotels
from 1906 to 1960. Unfortunately, it was replaced by a parking lot.
The Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park would include a similar
feature as an early attraction.
planting, trails, gardens
- replication of a CPR early #2
station (either Penhold or
Blackfalds) for multi use such as
gift shop and meeting room,
- replication of a C&E Railway
combination station that had
been converted to a freight
house for the first of several
model railway exhibits,
- first of several themed
historical model railway exhibits
An additional replicated station,
such as an 1891 C&E Railway station converted to freight house,
would house historically accurate
miniature-world-style model railway exhibits showing the evolution
of communities in the region displaying the result of railway
decisions, technological advances, infrastructure and colonization.
These exhibits would be
represented in various scales over several time periods that could
the early 1890s of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, the boom period
around 1913 featuring the CPR and the Canadian Northern Western
Railway, the late 1930s featuring 'The Chinook' high speed train, the transition era
from steam to diesel around 1955,
Canada's centennial year of 1967 and infrastructure and commodity
transportation changes around 1985 prior to the relocation of the
Red Deer rail yards and the end of passenger rail service in Central
Alberta. The exhibit could include a model of the historic 2,100'
Mintlaw steel trestle across the Red Deer River.
The project could eventually evolve to include the evolution of
model railway manufacturing.
Natural areas, green space, trails,
trees, green spaces and possibly wetlands or other water features accessible through a network of internal trails and external trail connections with picnic areas and
benches to relax and enjoy the environment.
family activity zones
scattered throughout the park and family activity zones
where families can enjoy the unique built and natural environment.
May include gazebos, outdoor stage, covered picnic areas, event zone and an activity, educational and
entertainment centre for children to learn the basics of transportation and mobility
science and logistics.
replication of two or more
railway stations for temporary
multi use and creation of the
temporary Alberta Central
- "opportunity" display and
hidden un-restored rail car
storage space for
donations of rail equipment,
- enclosure of the viewing
- stage one of the Transit and
as a study in architecture
and representing regional railway evolution
several representative styles of railway
stations that once were the hubs of many communities,
large and small throughout Central Alberta for over 125
years, these interpretive centres would be an attraction
unique in North America.
The first of these replicated stations is anticipated to be the
1891 Calgary & Edmonton Railway combination station and freight house,
likely based on the one in Innisfail, to house the C&E Railway
The freight house portion would house the beginning of the miniature
world historical model railway display.
The second station to be replicated would likely be a CPR portable
similar to the one at Mintlaw, representing the Alberta Central
Railway, as the reception centre for the park. The third would
likely be an original CPR #2 station based on either the Penhold or
Blackfalds station, depending on the final location of the park, to
be used primarily as a gift shop, refreshment bar, meeting room and
The CPR (and temporary Alberta Central Railway) Pavilion would be
built in Phase 2 along with a replicated freight house that would
ultimately house the multi-era historical miniature world exhibits.
A third station in the same area could replicate the original 1910
brick CPR station that would house the Passenger Rail Pavilion in
The CNR interpretive zone, built in Phases 3 and 4, would include
replicated stations that serve to examine the role of the Canadian
Northern Western Railway, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the CNR in
Central Alberta. A replicated 1923 CNR Red Deer station could become
the Children's Pavilion in Phase 4.
A replication of the 1920 Rocky Mountain House station could house
the Rail Infrastructure Pavilion in Phase 4. The replicated CPR/ACR
Sylvan Lake station built in Phase 2 would become the permanent
Alberta Central Railway Pavilion in Stage 4.
In addition to housing
exhibits, these replicated stations would have a variety
of other temporary or permanent functions including the children's pavilion, transportation library and
revolving exhibits, cultural and event pavilions, meeting rooms,
theatre room, activity centres and administration.
Surface Transportation Heritage Pavilion
Highlighting the evolution of transit
and regional bus service in Central Alberta as well as other modes
of surface transportation that could include various auto, emergency or
military vehicles. Regional historic and cultural tours could be offered
from this facility.
Children's discovery pavilion
A fun and interactive facility that focuses on
the technological and scientific advancements that have evolved over
the past century.
collections interpretive exhibits
Covered and outdoor displays showcasing private and leased railway collections and the evolution of rail infrastructure, locomotives
and rolling stock in Central Alberta. Sufficient space will be included for hidden un-restored railway equipment storage that is not visible to
Phase 4 - Full Build-out
creation of CNR (CNor, GTP,
CN) interpretive zone,
- replication of railway stations to
house the Passenger Rail, Rail
Architecture and Children's
- completion of Transit and
Miniature World, and
permanent ACR Pavilions,
- enclosed rail restoration
- interpretive nodes & kiosks,
- possible miniature
Themed Pavilions and Interpretive Zones
Featuring the following Central Alberta railways and aspects of
regional rail travel:
- the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and its branchlines
(later absorbed by the Canadian Pacific Railway),
- the Alberta Central Railway
(also absorbed by the CPR),
- the Canadian Northern Western Railway (absorbed into the Canadian National Railways) and
- the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
(also absorbed into the CNR).
Station Architecture Pavilion
As a study in railway station architecture, special emphasis has been placed on the many railway lines that
developed the region. May also include bridge and other railway
infrastructure. Likely located in a replication of the CPR Rocky
Mountain House station.
The rise and fall of rail passenger service in Central Alberta from
1891 to its demise in 1985 likely located in a replication of the
1910 CPR brick station. This station may also include an
interpretive centre focusing on the impact of railway building on
colonization, indigenous culture, environment and Canadian
The Alberta Central Railway was envisioned to be a major rail line
linking Vancouver and Hudson's Bay with the rest of Western Canada.
Only the section from Red Deer to Rocky Mountain House was built but
it included the Mintlaw steel trestle over the Red Deer River.
Having gone bankrupt, Canadian Pacific operated the line until 1982.
This pavilion examines the significance and impact of the line to
the growth of communities west of Red Deer.
The Canadian Pacific Railway's main Calgary-Edmonton line (formerly
the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and the backbone of its Alberta
operations), its branchlines to the east and the former Lacombe and
Blindman Valley Electric Railway will all be explored and
In 1911 and 1912, the Canadian Northern Railway, the Canadian
Northern Western Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway were
busy building rail lines and connecting communities throughout
Central Alberta. A decade later, they were bankrupt and were
absorbed into the new Canadian National Railways system. Canadian
National continued to operate these lines for many decades, some to
the present day. CN also built a branch line into downtown Red Deer.
Two stations will examine the evolution and impact of these rail
lines within the region.
Themed interpretive nodes and
focusing on aspects of
railway activity, infrastructure and other modes of transportation that could feature fossil fuel,
petrochemical, industrial, livestock and
agricultural product distribution. The impact of the railway on the
economy, the environment, colonization, First Nations and community affairs could also be
highlighted as well as the future of ground transportation.
Proposed interpretive nodes with corresponding preserved rolling
stock may include:
- Impact of Railway Building on Colonization, Indigenous Culture,
Environment and Canadian
Nationhood Interpretive Centre,
- Fossil Fuels (Oil, Gas, Coal) and Petrochemical Transport
- Agriculture/Grain/Livestock/Processed Food Transport Interpretive
1/8 scale miniature railway
that may eventually be built as
an add-on to stage three possibly headed by a 1/8 scale replication of the CPR 'Chinook' Jubilee 4-4-4
No. 3001 high speed streamlined passenger steam locomotive that ran between Calgary
and Edmonton in the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s (it was one of only 5
of this class built, none survived).
Railway Station Replications within the proposed
Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park
study in railway heritage architecture
(subject to change)
Phase 1: C&E 1891 Combination Station & Freight House (Innisfail
Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum, workshop for
miniature railway exhibits and meeting rooms as
well as temporary research, archives,
gift shop, refreshments
Mintlaw portable station
for park reception
Phase 2: CPR 1904 Early Standard #2 Station (Penhold
or Blackfalds 1940s or
for permanent gift shop, refreshments, meeting room
CPR Freight House (repurposed from original station)
1911 (Red Deer)
variety of time frames of historical miniature railway
Phase 3: C&E 1891
Combination Station (Red Deer/generic)
for CPR and temporary ACR Pavilion, permanent research centre, administration, library,
Canadian Northern 1913 3rd Class Station (Sylvan Lake
for multi-use and temporary family activity centre to be
repurposed in Phase 4 as part of CNR Interpretive
Zone featuring the Canadian Northern Western Railway
CPR 1924 Standard #14A (Sylvan Lake)
for multi-use and temporary children's pavilion to be
repurposed in Phase 4 as the Alberta Central Railway
Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 modified E Station (Mirror)
as part of CNR Interpretive Zone featuring the Grand
Trunk Pacific Railway
Canadian National 1923 modified Class 3 Station
(Red Deer 1954)
for permanent Children's
Pavilion and Family Activity Centre
CPR 1910 original Red Deer 'Chateau-style' Brick Station
for Passenger Rail Pavilion,
Impact of Railway Building on Colonization, Indigenous
Culture, Environment and Canadian Nationhood
Interpretive Centre and
permanent research centre, library, archives and
CPR 1920 Standard A3 Station (Rocky Mountain House)
for Study in Railway Station (and other infrastructure)
Fossils Fuels (Oil, Gas, Coal) and Petrochemical
Transport Interpretive Node, and
Agriculture/Grain/Livestock/Processed Food Transport
Other possible station replications as additional
stations or substitutes:
Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 Type E Station (Elnora or Ardley)
CPR 1910 Standard #5 Station (Alix)
CPR 1912 Standard A2 Western Station (Nevis)
The Forth Junction Heritage Society has reviewed many
rail parks and rail museums and has taken inspiration
from several of them, some within Alberta and others
Our desire is to not duplicate these facilities but
to learn from them to facilitate the creation of a
unique attraction with a unique combination of
Some excellent attractions within Alberta that we have
taken inspiration from include the Alberta Central
Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin, Heritage Park in
Calgary, Fort Edmonton Park, the Alberta Railway Museum
north of Edmonton, Aspen Crossing at Mossleigh and Galt
Historic Railway Park south of Lethbridge.
We see these attractions complementary to our own
vision and we encourage you to visit these other great
Outside of Alberta, inspiration has come from the West
Coast Railway Heritage Park at Squamish, 3 Valley Gap
near Revelstoke, the Revelstoke Railway Museum, Canadian
Museum of Rail Travel at Cranbrook and Fort Steele in
B.C. as well as Exporail in Montreal, Winnipeg Railway
Museum, Toronto Railway Museum, B&O Railway Museum in
Baltimore, MD, EnterTrainment Junction in Cincinnati,
OH, Railraod Park Resort in Dunsmuir, CA, and San Diego
CA Model Railroad Museum.
Photo descriptions and credits:
Header photo: Former C&E Railway Station Museum
south Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);
Phase 1 of site plan option for proposed Forth
Junction Heritage Rail Park (Paul Pettypiece);
Former Calgary & Edmonton Railway Station Museum
south Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);
Display at former C&E Railway Station Museum in Edmonton (Paul
Railway viewing platform at Park Forest Rail Fan Park Illinois
CPR Red Deer station, freighthouse,
garden 1912 (Red Deer Archives P8737);
Phase 2 of site plan option for proposed Forth
Junction Heritage Rail Park (Paul Pettypiece);
Child admiring model railway exhibit at Big Valley
Freemo event (Paul Pettypiece 2009);
Rail park at West Coast Railway Museum (Paul
Phase 3 of site plan option for proposed Forth Junction Heritage
Rail Park (Paul Pettypiece);
Innisfail 1891 Calgary & Edmonton Railway station 1890s (Glenbow
Blackfalds 1904 CPR early standard #2 station (Blackfalds Historical
Red Deer 1923 Canadian National Railways modified 3rd class station 1955 (Red Deer Archives P7009);
Union bus depot Red Deer Cardinal Coaches 1949 (Glenbow Archives
Phase 4 of site plan option for proposed Forth Junction Heritage
Rail Park (Paul Pettypiece);
Graphic of several Central Alberta railway stations (Paul Pettypiece);
'The Chinook' train led by Jubilee 3001 and 4 cars (Canadian Pacific