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
Following are some of these groups, facilities, collections and initiatives:
Innisfail Historical Village
Innisfail Historical Village is the current
temporary home of much of the Forth
Junction Heritage Society's collection of artifacts from the
Calgary & Edmonton Railway Station Museum
been located in the Strathcona district of Edmonton.
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.
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
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
and 3 large display cases. A few items have yet to be transferred.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
A 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
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.
Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin
Alberta 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
CP 8015 MLW 1959 RS23
CP 9108 Budd 1956 Rail Diesel Car (Dayliner)
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.
Railway Excursions - Stettler to Big Valley
Five 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,
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.
equipment includes a 1919 Canadian Northern combine and Canadian Pacific
1923 day coaches.
AP No. 1118 1958 GMD1 diesel locomotive, ex CWR 1118, CN1118, CN1018
AP No. 7438 1957 GM GP9 diesel locomotive, ex CWR 7438 (1985), NYC
AP 1259 GM 1958 SW1200 diesel locomotive, ex CN 1259, currently
Nova No. 9115 SW1500, donated to East Central Alberta Heritage
CN 6060 4-8-2 MLW 1944 Mountain steam locomotive, retired 1959, owned by Rocky Mountain Rail Society,
No. 41 2-8-0 1920 Baldwin Consolidation steam locomotive, currently
1920s era equipment including
1919 Canadian Northern combine, 1923 CP day coaches
Train excursions suspended in 2020 and early 2021 but
currently operating on reduced schedule.
City of Red
(CPR bridge &
station, ACR pier, 'Arches' & fountain)
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.
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.
ACR 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.
Park Fountain and 'The Arches' - original railway park fountain now
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
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
Restored Grain Elevator - Alberta Pacific Grain Elevator.
Rolling Stock - Canadian National 1942 wood caboose, ex-GT-1910 box
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame and home to the Canadian
Heartland Training Railway.
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
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.
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".
Relocated Station - 1909 fourth class Canadian Northern Railway station
relocated from Vardura, Saskatchewan on abandoned Canadian
National/Central Western Stettler subdivision.
Rocky Mountain Rail Society - 6060
No. 6060, 'The Spirit of Alberta', a 1944 Canadian National Mountain
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.
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.
Henday Museum Delburne
Railway Station Museum - relocated and restored Grand Trunk
Pacific Type E railway station.
Water Tank - Grand Trunk Pacific (Canadian National) enclosed
Caboose - Canadian National 1967 steel caboose.
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.
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.
Beiseker 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
The 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.
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.
Proposed Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake ACR
Powerpoint Slide Show:
History of the ACR & Mintlaw Trestle and
(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