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  railway heritage village

Forth Junction Project 
Concept for

Forth Junction Regional
Heritage Rail Park

 
Forth Junction Project Vision Sharing Historical Perspective Ground Transportation
Heritage Preservation
Forth Junction
Heritage Society

Forth Junction Park Concept

Railway Station Architecture

Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits

Ultimate Vision

proposed railpark site at InnisfailConcept Proposal for
 

Forth Junction Heritage Society
Transportation-Themed Educational 
Rail, Trail and Transit Interpretive

Regional Family Heritage Rail Park


designed to operate in partnership with paired complementary transportation-themed tourism, commercial and/or industrial facilities



The Forth Junction component of the park plan sets the stage for the ultimate build-out of the overall vision. It accommodates current opportunities and allows for additional uses of the site by the community and other similar organizations as well as separate but complementary semi-commercial features. It also provides for the plan to adapt as community, tourist, semi-commercial or commercial needs and trends evolve.

The Forth Junction educational and exploratory component includes:

 

former C&E Railway Museum
- Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum
in a
  replicated 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
  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.


-
Replication of historic railway stations as a study in architecture
  Replicated and/or restored railway stations of Central Alberta as interpretive centres
  highlighting the railways of the region including the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and
  branchlines (CPR), Alberta Central Railway (CPR), Canadian Northern Western Railway
  (CNR) and Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (CNR). These stations would be used for a
  variety of purposes including model rail and themed miniature world exhibits,
children's
  pavilion, games room, mini-theatre, gift shop, research centre, a transportation library
  and administration.

- Series of miniature historical
  model rail exhibits
  One or more of the replicated railway stations
  will house accurate representations of the
  evolution of the railway in the development of
  Red Deer and other communities in Central
  Alberta featuring a variety of scales and time
  periods. This could evolve to become Canada's
  largest series of historically-accurate miniature
  railway exhibits. This could eventually evolve
  into a model railway museum.




- Transportation history pavilion and transit storage
   building
highlighting the evolution of transit and regional bus
   service in Central Alberta as well as other modes of ground
   transportation that could include various auto, emergency or military
   vehicles. Regional historic and cultural tours could be offered from
   this facility.



- Train viewing observation platform and activity area
 
 Elevated viewing point 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 be 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.

- Themed interpretive nodes and stand-alone kiosks 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.


1912 CPR station, freight house, garden- Ornamental rail station gardens similar to the many
  railway station gardens (including the 1906 CPR Red Deer ornamental
  garden) that greeted visitors and settlers in the first half of the 20th
  century. Other gardens could be scattered throughout the rail park
  with fountains, water features, a gazebo and benches.

- Heritage railway collections interpretive exhibits
  Indoor 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 the
  public.

- Children's pavilion, themed playgrounds & family
  activity zones
  Transportation-themed playgrounds 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.

CPR Jubilee F2 semi-streamlined locomotive
- 1/8 scale m
iniature railway interpretive journey that may eventually
  be 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).

rail park landscaping
 - Natural areas, green space, trails, picnic areas including 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.

- Optional rail loop and rail connection
  Although it would be nice to have if there is sufficient space and funds, a rail loop and direct rail connection
  are not necessary for the park to function. A rail loop to run full size trains would require a more-or-less
  square 40 acre site. A direct rail connection would facilitate getting acquired or borrowed rolling stock on site,
  trucking in those artifacts would likely be less costly than building a rail connection.


Phase 1 of proposed rail park
These features would be developed in stages by the society over a period of time. As the park develop, 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 component evolves.


The first stage would focus on the replication of the 1891 C&E combination station, the train-viewing platform and activity area, storage and restoration garage, "opportunity" space, landscaping and the first of several historical miniature-world model railway exhibits centred around a specific era and location in Central Alberta such as 1955 or 1985 in the host community.


See Ultimate Vision


      proposed rail park based on Springbrook option
                                                                  Springbrook option


Replicated railway stations as interpretive centres
 
As a study in railway station architecture, special emphasis has been placed on the many railway lines that developed the region.
 
These featured railways include
- 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).
 

Replicating up to 22 different 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. In addition to housing exhibits, these replicated stations could have a variety of other functions including bed and breakfasts, single and multi-family lodging, a transportation library and research centre, specialty food, book and hobby shops, cultural centres, meeting rooms and activity centres featuring games and videos.

Innisfail CPR station 1890sThe first of these replicated stations is anticipated to be the Calgary & Edmonton Railway combination station and freight house, built between Alberta's two biggest cities in 1891, having served several communities for many decades. None of the ten identical original stations of this type are still standing.

former C&ER museum 3Recently, the Forth Junction Heritage Society was gifted the artifacts and other items of the now-closed Calgary and Edmonton Railway Station Museum in south Edmonton by the Junior League of Edmonton. It is currently being housed and displayed at the Innisfail Historical Village. This collection will form the base of the first of these interpretive centres.

See: Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum

Miniature world historical model railway exhibits

At least one of the replicated stations would house historical miniature-world-style model railway exhibits showing the evolution of communities in the region as a result of railway decisions, technological advances and infrastructure. These exhibits would be represented in various scales over several time periods including the early 1890s of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, the boom period around 1913, the late 1930s, the transition era 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 mandate of the Forth Junction Heritage Society is to preserve, promote and share the transportation heritage of our community and region; and to pass that heritage to future generations in a sustainable and interactive way through education, advocacy and nurturing a passion for the continuous evolution of trail, rail and transit.


 

 
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 well outside.
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 facilities.
 
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 parks.

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.
 

Photos and graphics:
 Header photo: Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Nova Scotia
 1. Site plan graphic rending by Paul Pettypiece;
 2.& 3. Photos of former C&E Railway Museum Edmonton & child at FreeMo by Paul Pettypiece;
 4. Photo of Sorensen bus courtesy of Steve Parkin; 5. Photo of Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum, Nova Scotia from website;
 6. Colourized 1912 photo of Red Deer stations and garden courtesy of Red Deer Archives P8737;
 7. Photo of gardens & railway at West Coast Railway Heritage Park, BC and graphic of Phase 1 rail park by Paul Pettypiece
 

Forth Junction Park Concept       Railway Station Architecture       Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits       Ultimate Vision

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