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  Mintlaw trestle deck 1985 - Pettypiece

Forth Junction Project
Ranking of Significant Alberta bridges
relative to ACR Mintlaw steel trestle

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

Railways of Central Alberta

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Rail Bridges & Structures

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ACR/CPR Mintlaw Trestle

Regional Railway Bridges

Alberta Rail Bridges

Canada West Rail Bridges

Structures

Alberta's 10 largest railway bridges
existing today including the ACR Mintlaw steel trestle located near Red Deer updated April 2022

Photo descriptions and credits at bottom of page.

Lethbridge Viaduct Aug. 2015 - Pettypiece photo1. Lethbridge Viaduct

- CPR, active, 1,624 m (5,331')
- Built 1908-09 over Oldman River by CPR

- longest and highest railway bridge in North America (known locally as the High Level Bridge - not to be confused with the High Level Bridge in Edmonton (see below)); longest and highest steel rail trestle in the world; CPR steel trestle 5,331 ft. (1,624 m) long; 314' (95.7 m) high; built 1908-09 over Oldman River on Crowsnest Pass line at cost of $1.3 million using travelling crane built on site; relocated route replaced several wooden trestles including one that was 2,933 ft. (894 m) long, reduced grade and was over 5 miles shorter than original route (built 1898); 33-tower bridge consists of 44-67' spans, 22-99' spans and 1-107' truss span; still in use - approx. 12 trains per day
Wapiti River Bridge near Grande Prairie - Vavrek photo


2. Wapiti River near Grande Prairie

- CNR, active, 853 m (2,800')
- Built 1968-69 over Wapiti River by ARR

- 2nd longest steel trestle in Canada; approx. 853 (2,800 ft.) long steel bridge; 58 m (190 ft.) high; built 1968 by Alberta Resources Railway; opened 1969; taken over by CNR 1994, 1-2 trains per day



CNR Fabyan Viaduct near Wainwright Aug. 2015 - Pettypiece photo
3. Fabyan Viaduct near Wainwright

- CNR, active, 846 m (2,775')
- Built 1907-08 over Battle River by GTP

- 3rd longest steel trestle in Canada. 846 m (2,775 ft.) long; 59 m (195') tall; built 1907-08 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; originally about 130' longer but earth filled on one end to reduce length; 26 steel towers; first train 1909; rest area nearby; scene of derailment in January 2012; still in use by CN as part of east-west main line linking Winnipeg with Edmonton


4
. High Level Bridge Edmonton
High Level Bridge Edmonton 1st train - Alberta Archives- CPR, abandoned as rail bridge 1989, now vehicles and trolleys only, last train 1989, 777 m (2,550'), steel truss & steel trestle
- Built 1913 over North Saskatchewan River by CPR as combination road and rail bridge

- CPR steel truss (with trestle component) bridge 777 m (2,550 ft.) long; 48 m (157 ft.) tall; built 1911-1913 over North Saskatchewan River linking downtown Edmonton with south bank (old Strathcona); total of 28 spans - 3-288' Pratt trusses, 7-96' Pratt trusses, 6-47' long spans with steel trestle towers on south side for 282' of total bridge (about 11% of length), 2-130' Warren trusses, 4 central concrete piers set in river bed; upper level used for trains between 1913 and 1989 as well as trams (streetcars) between 1913 and 1951; lower level used for vehicle and pedestrian traffic that continues today; tram runs periodically during summer on upper level since 1997 by Edmonton Radial Railway Society; Great Divide Waterfall 1980; bridge now owned by Province of Alberta; Municipal Historic Resource

Rochfort Bridge near Mayerthorpe 2012 - Trevor Sokolan


5. Rochfort Trestle near Mayerthorpe

- CNR, active, 736 m (2,414'), timber trestle
- Built 1914 over Paddle River and Hwy.43 by CNoR

- Longest wood trestle in North America; 736 m (2,414 ft.) long, 33.5 m (110 ft.) tall; built by Canadian Northern Railway; periodic upgrades; two short portions replaced by steel, one over Highway 43 (the Alaska Highway); still in use periodically by CN


 Mintlaw Viaduct near Red Deer - Pettypiece photo6. Mintlaw Viaduct south of Red Deer

- CPR, abandoned 1983, last train 1981,
   644 m (2,112')
- Built 1911-12 over Red Deer River by ACR

- Longest bridge in Central Alberta; 2nd longest CPR steel trestle of its type in Alberta at 644 m (2,112 ft.) long; 33.5 m (110 ft.) tall;
4th longest steel trestle of any railway in Alberta; 3rd longest CPR bridge in Alberta still standing although only the one in Lethbridge is still active as a rail bridge. Length includes 2 truss spans over river with wood trestle abutments on each end; bridge includes 15-75' spans, 15-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911-12 over Red Deer River by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; last train 1981, abandoned 1983; purchased by Red Deer County 2009 for $1 as a heritage site, important landmark and part of possible future recreational trail; former Alberta Central subdivision
more about the Mintlaw Bridge and Alberta Central Railway
 
Meikle River bridge 2013 - Malcolm Millar photo
7. Meikle River Bridge

- CNR, active, 610 m (2,000'), steel trestle
- Built 1969 over Peace River by GSLR

- Steel trestle built by the Great Slave Lake Railway, operated and now owned by Canadian National Railways, built 1969 about 90 miles north of Peace River. Line sold to RailLink in 1998 and bought back by CN in 2006.


Monarch Trestle 2013 - Chris Doering photo

8. Monarch Trestle

- CPR, active, 576 m (1,890'), steel trestle
- Built 1908-09 over Oldman River by CPR

- over Oldman River, 576 m (1,890 ft.) long; 45.7 m (150 ft.) high; west of Monarch on Crow's Nest line built 1908-09 (same line as Lethbridge Viaduct)


Peace River Bridge CNR - Tim Swaren photo9. Peace River Rail Bridge

- CNR, active, 529 m (1,736'), steel truss
- Built 1918 over Peace River by CCR

- over Peace River at town of Peace River, 529 m (1,736 ft.); built 1918 by Central Canada Railway (later part of Northern Alberta Railways); 11 spans - 2-70' deck plate girders, 2-80' deck plate girders; 6-200' deck trusses, 1-200' through truss; still in use by CNR

Clover Bar Bridge over North Saskatchewan River - Trevor Solokan
10. Clover Bar/Beverly Rail Bridge
- CNR, active, 504 m (1,655'), truss, trestle and concrete
- Built 1907-08 over North Saskatchewan River by GTP

- Sometimes referred to as the Beverly Bridge before Beverly traffic bridge opened in 1953 over North Saskatchewan River at east Edmonton, 504 m (1,655 ft.) long, 42 m (138 ft.) high; built 1907-08 iron truss with concrete piers and trestle towers by Grand Trunk Pacific




Other Alberta railway bridges of note:
Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre

1. Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre & Cold Lake

- CNR, abandoned 1999, rail trail, 450 m (1,485'), timber trestle
- Built 1931, re-built 1950 over Beaver River by CNR
- combination timber trestle, truss and girder 450 m (1,485 ft.) long; 59 m (195 ft.) tall, built around 1950 by Canadian National Railways, abandoned 1999. Now part of the Iron Horse Trail section of the Trans Canada Trail




2. Ardley Bridge north of Delburne
- CNR, active, 366 m (1,200')
- Built 1911 over Red Deer River by GTP, re-built 1955 by CNR

CNR Ardley Bridge 2011 - Pettypiece- CNR wood and steel trestle built 1911 by Grand Trunk Pacific over Red Deer River; originally 457 m (1,500 ft.) long; 48 m (158 ft.) tall. With fill at each end, current length closer to 366 m (1,200 ft.). Bridge washed out in mid-1910s and centre portion was replaced with 2 steel towers and 3 steel spans. It washed out again in 1952; rebuilt and reopened in 1955; bridge replaced with 6 steel towers and 3 steel truss spans with wood trestle on each end. Located near Delburne on Three Hills subdivision of the Edmonton-Calgary line, now the only Canadian National Railway link between the two major Alberta cities. 2-4 trains daily.

3. Medicine Hat Bridge
- CPR, active, 298 m (977')
- Built over South Saskatchewan River by CPR

- Originally a single track truss bridge built in 1883-84 over South Saskatchewan River; rebuilt using portions of the original stone pylons and twinned in early 1900s; CPR 2-150' Warren through truss spans and 6 approach through girder spans; 977' total length;


4. Entwistle Bridge west of Edmonton

- CNR, active, 280 m (910'), steel trestle
- Built 1908-10 over Pembina River by GTP

- 5th highest railway bridge in Western Canada; CNR steel trestle 280 m (910 ft.) long; 65 m (214') tall; built 1910 over Pembina River by Grand Trunk Pacific. Bridge was pre-fabricated in Scotland. Located approx. 95 km west of Edmonton on CN main line between Edmonton and Vancouver; ave. 20 trains per day.

5. Prairie Creek (Maskuta) Bridge near Hinton
- CNR, active, 245 m (802'), steel trestle
- Built 1911 by GTP over Prairie Creek, abandoned 1916, rehabilitated 1927 by CNR

- Originally built by Grand Trunk Pacific in 1911, the bridge was closed in 1916 during World War I in order to use the steel rail for the war effort, the 245 m (802') long and 30 m (98') high steel trestle was rehabilitated in 1927 after being taken over by Canadian National Railways to become part of the main line to the west coast. During that time, rail traffic was diverted to the parallel Canadian Northern Railway. The steel trestle bridge consists of six 50' long girder sections and 7-70' girder sections; used by Via Rail.


6. North Saskatchewan River Bridge Rocky Mountain House
North Saskatchewan River Bridge at Rocky Mountain House 1940 - RD Archives
- CNR, active, 220 m (720')
- Built 1911-14 over North Saskatchewan River by ACR

- 220 m (720') long, approx 16 m (52') high; combination trestle, truss and girder with concrete piers including 3-75' spans, 3-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911 by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; leased to Canadian Northern Western Railway/CNR; opened 1914; still in use by CNR; Brazeau subdivision


7. Low Level Bridge Edmonton
- CNR, now vehicles only, last train 1948, 213 m (699')
- Built 1900-02 over North Saskatchewan River by CNoR

- 699' long Canadian Northern 3-span truss bridge built 1900; rails added in 1902 and removed 1948; twinned and continues to be used for vehicle traffic
CNR wood trestle at Briggs ravine 2011 - Pettypiece


8
. Briggs Bridge near Red Deer
- CNR, active, 200 m (656')
- Built 1910 over ravine by CNWR

- wood trestle northwest of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway 1910; originally about 820 ft. but after earth infill is currently around 200m, still in use by CNR, Brazeau subdivision



9. Burbank Bridge near Blackfalds
CNR Blindman River bridge at Burbank 2021 - Pettypiece- CNR, active, 190 m (620')
- Built 1910 over Blindman River by CNWR
- originally a wood trestle north of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway over Blindman River 1910; replaced by steel truss bridge with wooden trestle ends; two center spans supported by concrete towers; original length unknown; with considerable fill, current length around 190 m (620 ft.), est. height 36 m (118'); still in use by CNR, Brazeau subdivision

10. Athabasca Bridge at Solomon Creek near Hinton
- CNR, active, 183 m (600'), deck girder
- Built 1927 over Athabasca River by CNR

- CNR bridge over Athabasca River at Solomon Creek built 1927 to connect former Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific lines near Jasper Park close to small community of Entrance.


11. Heart River Bridge at Peace River

- CNR, active, 180 m (590')
- Built 1916 over Peace River by CCR

- active 590' CNR (formerly Northern Alberta Railways) steel trestle, 146' high. 11 short (45') plate girder spans and 115' deck truss, built 1916 by Central Canada Railway.

12. East Coulee Coal Bridge
- CPR, abandoned, 165 m (540')
- Built 1936 over Red Deer River by CPR

- CPR timber Howe truss combination rail and road bridge over Red Deer River; used by both CPR and CNR to serve Atlas and Monarch coal mines; 540'; 4 spans; originally built in 1936; damaged by ice, flood and intentional blast in 1948 and rebuilt to same design; last of its kind still standing (barely) similar to original Calgary & Edmonton Railway bridge at Red Deer; abandoned in the mid 1970s and is currently in poor condition waiting for possible restoration


former CPR bridge at Red Deer 2009 - Paul Pettypiece photo13. CPR Bridge at Red Deer
- CPR, abandoned 1991, rail trail, 137 m (450')
- Built 1908 to replace 1891 C&ER bridge over Red Deer
   River by CPR

- two 150' steel truss spans and 150' wooden trestle across Red Deer River built in 1908 to replace the 3-span wooden truss bridge that had been built in 1891; Leduc subdivision; abandoned with rail relocation in 1991; preserved as part of walking and bicycle trail and designated as both a municipal and provincial historic resource; currently in use as part of Trans Canada Trail


Significant Central Alberta railway bridges no longer in existence:
Duhamel GTP wood trestle circa 1912 - Provincial Archives Alberta
1. Duhamel Trestle south of Camrose
- GTP, dismantled 1924 due to CNR consolidation,
   1210 m (3,972')
- Built 1910 over Battle River by GTP

- wooden trestle 3,972 ft. (1,210 metres) long; 120 ft. (32 metres) tall; one of the longest and highest wooden trestles ever built in the world; 20 km SW of Camrose; built 1910 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; dismantled 1924; river crossing shifted to Canadian Northern (Canadian National) line further east with new connection built on south side of Battle River


2. Horse Guard River Bridge near Eckville

Horseguard ACR wood trestle 1911 - Glenbow Archives
- CPR, earth-filled, abandoned 1983, last train 1980, 390 m (1,280')
- Built 1911 over Medicine River valley by ACR

- wooden trestle 1,280 ft. long; 80 timber spans ave. 15' plus 80' steel girder; west of Medicine River crossing; built by Alberta Central Railway around 1911, timber trestle later earth-filled; last train 1980, abandoned 1983; little evidence left of bridge (an oddity about the bridge name is that there is no Horse Guard River and Horse Guard Creek is several miles to the west.)

3. Trochu Trestle
- CNR, earth-filled 1932, 150 m (500')
- Built 1911 over coulee by GTP

- wooden trestle about 500 ft. long and 60 ft. high over coulee south of Trochu; built 1911; filled in with dirt 1932; on active CN (former GTP) Edmonton-Calgary line


Photo descriptions and credits:
Header: ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge deck before track removal (Paul Pettypiece 1985)
Longest

1. CPR Lethbridge Steel Viaduct (Paul Pettypiece 2015);
2. CNR Fabyan Steel Viaduct near Wainwright (Paul Pettypiece 2015);
3. CNR Wapiti River Bridge near Grande Prairie (William Vavrek);
4. CPR High Level Bridge Edmonton 1st train 1913 (now vehicles and trolley only) (Provincial Archives Alberta);
5. CNR Rochfort Timber Trestle near Mayerthorpe (Trevor Sokolan 2012);
6. ACR/CPR Mintlaw steel trestle near Red Deer (Paul Pettypiece 2012);
7. CNR Meikle River bridge near Peace River (Malcolm Millar 2013);
8. CPR Monarch Steel Viaduct over Oldman River (Chris Doering 2013);
9. CNR Peace River Bridge at town of Peace River (Tim Swaren);
10. CNR Clover Bar Bridge over North Saskatchewan River near Edmonton (Trevor Solokan)
Others of note
1. Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre (railtrail) (source unknown);
2. CNR Ardley bridge over Red Deer River north of Delburne (Paul Pettypiece 2011);
8. CNR timber bridge at Briggs ravine near Red Deer (Paul Pettypiece 2011);
6. CPR/CNR bridge over North Saskatchewan River at Rocky Mountain House 1940 (Red Deer Archives);
9. CNR Blindman River bridge at Burbank near Red Deer and Blackfalds (Paul Pettypiece 2011);
12. CPR East Coulee timber bridge (Massey Jones 1984);
13. CPR Red Deer River Bridge at Red Deer now part of Trans Canada Trail (Paul Pettypiece 2009)
No longer in existence
1. Duhamel Grand Trunk Pacific timber trestle near Camrose c1912 (Provincial Archives of Alberta - Bamber);
2. ACR Horseguard timber bridge 1911 near Eckville (Glenbow Archives)
 

Bridges, Structures, Heritage
Rail Structures of Region
Central Alberta Rail Bridges

Mintlaw Trestle
Alberta's Railway Bridges
Western Canada Rail Bridges



 

 
The Railways of Central Alberta
Calgary & Edmonton Railway
C & E Railway at Red Deer
Alberta Central Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
Canadian Northern Western RR
Canadian National Railway in RD
Grand Trunk Pacific Central Alberta
Lacombe & Blindman Valley RR
Timetable Excerpts
 
 
Railway Stations of the Region
C & ER Combination Stations
Portable Stations
Red Deer CPR 1910 Station
Role of Railway Stations
Red Deer's 4 Stations
CPR Stations in Central Alberta
CNR Stations in Central Alberta
Multiple Station Communities
Station Plans

 
 
Trails, Transit, Trains
Trails and Trains Overview
Trains and Transit Overview

Milestones 1910-13
Calgary Edmonton Trail
Transit in Central Alberta
Red Deer Transit

Jubilee 3001 Chinook
Locomotives Central Alberta
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail

 

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