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  Jubilee 4-4-4 locomotive

Forth Junction Project
Preservation of Regional Railway and Ground Transportation Heritage

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

Current Rail Heritage Preservation

Why Forth Junction?

Mintlaw Linear Park Proposal

Collection

The Forth Junction Heritage Society applauds all preservation and restorative efforts by various organizations to educate, explore and experience regional transportation heritage
 
"History is who we are and why we are the way we are." - David McCullough


"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." - Aristotle


Central Alberta has a rich railway heritage and much of it is being lost. However, much is also being preserved. There are a handful of railway preservation organizations, volunteers and facilities, including a working heritage train excursion operation, that keep the past alive.


Following are some of these groups, facilities, collections and initiatives:

Innisfail Historical Village
 
benches in the relocated Bowden station. Pettypiece photoInnisfail Historical Village is the current temporary home of much of the Forth Junction Heritage Society's collection of artifacts from the former Calgary & Edmonton Railway Station Museum
that had been located in the Strathcona district of Edmonton.

clock, cabinet and artifacts in the relocated Bowden station. Pettypiece photoThe artifacts and materials in the Calgary & Edmonton (1891) Station Museum Collection were originally acquired by the Junior League of Edmonton to display and preserve in its 1981 replication of the original C & E combination station.

The C&ER combination station stood in several communities between the two cities including Strathcona, Red Deer, Innisfail, Olds, Carstairs, Airdrie, Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin and Leduc. None of those stations have survived.
photos and artifacts in the relocated Bowden station. Pettypiece photo
The Collection is illustrative of significant events, techniques, personalities and surroundings in the history of the Calgary & Edmonton station, the railway and the telegraph, concentrating on the period of 1891 to 1907. The Forth Junction Heritage Society intends to expand the research and interpretation of the C & E Railway as well as to replicate at least one version of the original station.
special chair in the relocated Bowden station. Pettypiece photo
The Collection includes 23 items of station furniture and equipment (including 4 8-foot benches, wall clock, wood-burning stove, station-mounted semaphore signal, baggage cart, chairs and trunks), 41 items of other railway equipment (including various types of lanterns, tools and containers), 22 items of office supplies, forms and reference materials, 16 pieces of telegraph equipment, 18 pieces of passenger train, dining and personnel supplies, 55 historic photographs, an art print, 27 articles of clothing and personal items, and 3 large display cases. A few items have yet to be transferred.
large wall clock in the meeting room. Pettypiece photo
In addition, a few pieces not included in the collection but had been loaned to the C&ER Station Museum have now been gifted to Forth Junction Heritage Society including a large wall clock by the Legate Family of Edmonton as well as a candlestick phone and station lamps from the now closed Edmonton Historical Telephone Centre.
Bowden station at Innisfail Historical Village. Pettypiece photo
The Innisfail Historical Village is also home of the relocated 1904 Bowden Calgary & Edmonton Railway (CPR) Standard #2 station that had been deactivated in 1968 and moved to Innisfail in 1973.
 

Within the station is an N scale historical model railway display representing the Innisfail station yard in two historical time frames and several items from the above-mentioned C&ER station museum collection.


The original Innisfail station was an 1891 C&ER combination station that had been expanded, relocated to opposite side of tracks in the 1900s, closed in 1961 and, unfortunately, demolished soon after.
 

The Innisfail Historical Village is also home to "The Spruces", the only original stopping house along the Calgary Edmonton Trail as well as an original building from the original townsite of Poplar Grove.

 
Innisfail is the current preferred location for the planned Forth Junction Heritage Society's future multi-use heritage rail park.
 

The Innisfail Historical Village is normally open daily from mid-May to Labour Day. Admission $3 per person. The facility was closed during the 2020 season due to Covid19 but has been open for much of the 2021 season.
http://www.innisfailhistory.ca/index.htm
 
Forth Junction Heritage Society
 
In addition to the artifacts on display or in storage at the Innisfail Historical Village, the Forth Junction Heritage Society has some other artifacts that are stored at members' homes until the society is in a position to have its own facility.

original C&ER rail 1890A section of rail from the original Calgary & Edmonton Railway acquired through the co-operation of the Enderby BC Museum and Canadian Pacific Railway is part of the Forth Junction Heritage Society collection. The side of the rail is inscripted 'BV&Co 1890 C&ER'

The Society has also been gifted a switch lock from the former Red Deer CNR yard by Skip Fuller of Red Deer,
telegraph equipment from Olive Iddiols of Calgary, a sculpture by Red Deer College student Melinda Setters from Rod Trentham of Red Deer, station lamps from the former Edmonton Historical Telephone Centre and a variety of plans, maps, photos and documents from various sources.
 
Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
 
Alberta Central Railway Museum near WetaskiwinAlberta Central Railway Museum - located in Wetaskiwin County southeast of the city, the site includes several pieces of Canadian Pacific railway rolling stock, equipment, structures, a scaled down replica of the Wetaskiwin 1907 Calgary-Edmonton railway station, a mile of operational track, speeders, HO scale Wetaskiwin yard, and a 1906 Alberta Grain Elevator from Hobbema.
 

Locomotives:
CP 8015 MLW 1959 RS23
CP 9108 Budd 1956 Rail Diesel Car (Dayliner)

 

Passenger Equipment:
1926 coach-observation-buffet Mount Avalanche,
1921 sleeper Glen Norman renamed Val David,
express-baggage car used for displays
Normally open daily from mid-May to Labour Day. Admission $5 per person. Special events and prices.
Closed 2020 and 2021 seasons due to Covid19.
https://abcentralrailway.com/
 
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions - Stettler to Big Valley
 
passenger boarding railway excursion at StettlerFive to six hour trip on the former Canadian Northern Railway line between Stettler and Big Valley sometimes using authentic restored steam locomotives. Variety of trip options and packages mostly during the summer months and also during other seasons. Options include dinner trains, dinner theatres, family specials, train robberies, murder mysteries and meals at Big Valley, the home of a restored Canadian Northern railway station, grain elevator, and a 14-stall roundhouse 'ruins' interpretive centre.
 

Steam locomotives have included No. 41, a 1920 Baldwin Consolidation 2-8-0, and No. 6060, a 1944 Canadian National Mountain 4-8-2 'Bullet-nosed Betty' owned by the Rocky Mountain Rail Society. Both steam locomotives are currently under repair so excursions use heritage diesel locomotives.
Vintage passenger equipment includes a 1919 Canadian Northern combine and Canadian Pacific 1923 day coaches.

 
Stettler train excursion with 6060 July 2007. Pettypiece photoLocomotives:
AP No. 1118 1958 GMD1 diesel locomotive, ex CWR 1118, CN1118, CN1018 (1958-1997);
AP No. 7438 1957 GM GP9 diesel locomotive, ex CWR 7438 (1985), NYC 6038;
AP 1259 GM 1958 SW1200 diesel locomotive, ex CN 1259, currently unavailable.
Nova No. 9115 SW1500, donated to East Central Alberta Heritage Society\
CN 6060 4-8-2 MLW 1944 Mountain steam locomotive, retired 1959, owned by Rocky Mountain Rail Society, currently unavailable;
No. 41 2-8-0 1920 Baldwin Consolidation steam locomotive, currently unavailable.

 

Passenger Equipment:
1920s era equipment including 1919 Canadian Northern combine, 1923 CP day coaches
https://absteamtrain.com 
Train excursions suspended in 2020 and early 2021 but currently operating on reduced schedule.
 
City of Red Deer (CPR bridge & station, ACR pier, 'Arches' & fountain)
 
historic Canadian Pacific station in Red DeerCPR 1910 Station - grand Calgary and Edmonton Railway (Canadian Pacific) station was built in 1910 at the head of Ross Street and has been designated as a historic site. It was restored in 1996 and is now used as an office building. The rail yards were removed in 1991.

 

old CPR bridge in Red DeerRed Deer River Bridge - Calgary and Edmonton Railway (Canadian Pacific) truss bridge built across Red Deer River on north side of downtown in 1908 to replace a timber bridge, designated a historical resource and transformed into a pedestrian/bicycle trail and part of the TransCanada Trail system.
 

Alberta Central Railway pier in Red DeerACR Pier - one of two Alberta Central Railway piers originally used to support a rail bridge built in 1910 and removed in 1913 over the Calgary and Edmonton Railway (Canadian Pacific) and Waskasoo Creek, still standing along Taylor Drive south of downtown. In August 1910, Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier drove the first spike for the Alberta Central at a point east of the pier.
 
The Arches downtown Red DeerPark Fountain and 'The Arches' - original railway park fountain now relocated to a downtown park close to its original location at the former CPR station park that was replaced by a parking lot in 1950. The Arches, developed by the Central Alberta Historical Society, is a stylized interpretive feature that outlines the history of Red Deer's railways.


Canadian Northern Society
 
6060 at Big Valley
Big Valley:
Railway Station Museum
- restored 1912 second class Canadian Northern Railway station is a museum and terminus for the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours train excursions. Station restored 1990 on original site by Canadian Northern Society to 1940s appearance.
Roundhouse 'ruins' Interpretive Centre - original 14-stall Canadian Northern (later Canadian National).
Restored Grain Elevator - Alberta Pacific Grain Elevator.
Rolling Stock - Canadian National 1942 wood caboose, ex-GT-1910 box car
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame and home to the Canadian Heartland Training Railway.

 

Camrose:
Railway Station & Museum - restored 1911 third class Canadian Northern Railway station, deactivated in 1988, relocated 500 metres and restored in 1993, includes the Canadian Northern Society archives and library.
Railway Park, Morgan Railway Garden and Tea Room

 

Meeting Creek:
Restored Station - 1913 third class (plan 29) Canadian Northern Railway station deactivated in 1981 along the now abandoned Canadian National/Central Western Stettler subdivision, restored in 1987 by Canadian Northern Society.

 
Rowley:
Restored Station - 1922 third class (plan 72) Canadian Northern Railway station along abandoned Canadian National/Central Western line in "ghost town" with old West buildings seen in 1989 film "Bye Bye Blues". Other movies shot in the area include "Legends of the Fall" and "In Cold Blood".

 

Donalda:
Relocated Station - 1909 fourth class Canadian Northern Railway station relocated from Vardura, Saskatchewan on abandoned Canadian National/Central Western Stettler subdivision.
http://canadiannorthern.ca/
 
6060 at Stettler July 2007 - Pettypiece photo
Rocky Mountain Rail Society - 6060
 
No. 6060, 'The Spirit of Alberta', a 1944 Canadian National Mountain 4-8-2 'Bullet-nosed Betty', retired in 1959, had been on static display in Jasper in 1962, donated to the province of Alberta in 1980, restored in 1972, restored again in 1986 to participate in Steam Expo in Vancouver, began operation on Alberta Prairie in 1998, dedicated provincial historic resource in 2009, removed from operation in 2011 is owned by the Rocky Mountain Rail Society. It has operated on the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions. Currently under repair.
https://6060.org/
 
East Central Alberta Heritage Society - CNR ROW
 
A series of linear parks is actively being pursued in communities along the 99-mile former Canadian National Railways Stettler subdivision, now owned by the East Central Alberta Heritage Society between Edberg and Morrin through Meeting Creek, Donalda, Red Willow, Stettler, Big Valley and Rowley. The section between Stettler and Big Valley is currently operating as the Alberta Prairie Railway with an extension being added north to Red Willow and eventually to Donalda.
http://www.albertarailheritage.com/
 
Anthony Henday Museum at Delburne
Anthony Henday Museum Delburne
 
Railway Station Museum - relocated and restored Grand Trunk Pacific Type E railway station.
Water Tank - Grand Trunk Pacific (Canadian National) enclosed water tank.
Caboose - Canadian National 1967 steel caboose.
https://www.delburne.ca/explore/anthony-henday-museum
 
Kneehill Historical Museum Three Hills

 
Railway Station Museum - relocated and restored Three Hills Grand Trunk Pacific Type F station,
Caboose - Canadian National 1972 steel,
Rolling Stock - tank car and box car.
CNR caboose and boxcar at Mirror
Mirror & District Museum
 
includes history of the town as the divisional point on the former Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and later the Canadian National Railway
Caboose - Canadian National 1952 wood, ex-1918 boxcar
Rolling Stock - CN boxcar
 
Other Restored Railway Stations

 
Didsbury CPR station: 1904 'Pratt' Calgary and Edmonton Railway (Canadian Pacific) station restored in 1991,
  turned around to become the Chamber of Commerce and visitor information building.
Benalto CPR station: 1928 CPR #14 station (Alberta Central sub) sold in 1970 and relocated twice for private
  residence, relocated back to Benalto in 2013 and restored as a community centre.
Stettler Canadian Northern railway stationBeiseker CPR station: 1910 Canadian Pacific Standard 2A Western station
  was sold in 1970 to the town, restored and turned around to become town
  office and museum, includes caboose and reefer.
Stettler CNR station: 1911 Canadian Northern second class railway station
  relocated to the Town & Country Museum.
Rimbey: Canadian Pacific station relocated from Tees, probably built around 1905.
Castor: 1918 Standard A2 Western Canadian Pacific station that had been
  relocated from Loyalist in 1937 after fire destroyed the original CPR
  Standard #5 station built in 1910; restored and relocated as museum.
 
Red Deer County - Mintlaw ACR/CPR Steel Trestle & ROW
 
The abandoned Alberta Central Railway (CPR) Mintlaw steel trestle bridge across the Red Deer River and the right of way from Gasoline Alley south of Red Deer to Sylvan Lake was purchased by Red Deer County. The bridge, 2,112 ft. long and 110 ft. high, was completed in the fall of 1912 and abandoned in 1983. At the time it was built, it was the second longest CPR steel trestle in Alberta. It is the longest abandoned steel trestle still standing in Western Canada.

ACR CPR Mintlaw trestle across Red Deer RiverThe Forth Junction Heritage Society supports historic designation, restoration and repurposing of the bridge with controlled public access to the bridge and a complimentary interpretive centre. The society also supports use of the former rail right of way between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake as part of a regional or national trail and linear park system with connections to Springbrook, Penhold and Benalto in collaboration with the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society, Red Deer County and neighbouring municipalities.

ACR steel trestleOwned by Red Deer County except the portion within the Town of Sylvan Lake. There are some serious challenges to be addressed, including the rehabilitation of the historic Mintlaw trestle and the crossing of the 4-lane Highway 11 expressway.

See Proposed Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake ACR Linear Park

Powerpoint Slide Show: History of the ACR & Mintlaw Trestle and Future Trails
(presented at FJHS AGM Oct. 2012)
 
Currently, our focus is on research, collection of artifacts and education. Eventually, as the objective of creating a multi-use rail park is realized, one of our goals is to collaborate with these organizations to create a regional tourism and heritage marketing group.
      
 

Current Rail Heritage Preservation                Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake Linear Park Proposal 

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