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  railway heritage park

Forth Junction Project
Concept for
Railway Station
Replications

 
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

 A concept proposal for station replications
 
A Study in Railway Station Architecture

in Central Alberta
 
The replication of several regional railway stations forms a unique part of the concept plan for a community heritage rail park in the Red Deer area.
 

         
 
Innisfail CPR station 1890sAlthough many railway stations have been preserved and a handful have been replicated across Western Canada, there is nowhere in North America that several railway stations have been replicated on one site to demonstrate the variations in architecture. The railway station was once the dominant structure in communities, large and small, as the community hub and gateway to the outside world. Other railway structures including grain elevators also dominated the skylines of hundreds of communities.
 
Red Deer old and new stations and garden 1912 Red Deer ArchivesThe proposed rail park will feature stations that serve as historic representations of the variety that once existed in Central Alberta (25 styles have been identified). These replications will be built to current standards but will maintain their visual architectural identity and will house a number of interpretive centres focusing on the railways that built the region.

 

The park will also feature a variety of gardens including a railway station park similar to one that was once located in downtown Red Deer and several stations across Western Canada.
 
Several representative stations will include educational exhibits and programs and may have some specialty uses such as meeting and activity rooms, work shops, a gift shop, refreshments, administration and community facilities.

 

 
Plan for Central Alberta Station Replications
(subject to change)
Phase 1: C&E 1891 Combination Station & Freight House (Red Deer/generic) for temporary C&E Railway Museum
                                                                                                                                       later for gift shop, refreshments
Phase 2: C&E 1891 Combination Station & Freight House (Innisfail late 1890s) for research, archives, meeting room
                                                                                                                         later for relocated C&E Railway Museum
               CPR 1904 Early Standard #2 Station (Penhold 1940s or 1968) for historical miniature railway exhibits
               Canadian Northern 1913 3rd Class Station (Sylvan Lake 1950s) temporary family activity centre
                                                                                        later for Canadian Northern Western Railway Interpretive Centre
Phase 3: CPR 1924 Standard #14A (Sylvan Lake) for historical miniature railway exhibits
               CPR Freight House (repurposed from original station) 1911 (Red Deer) for historical miniature railway exhibits
               Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 Type E Station (Elnora or Ardley) for Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Interpretive Centre
               CPR 1910 Standard #5 Station (Alix) for Canadian Pacific in Central Alberta Interpretive Centre             
               Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 modified E Station (Mirror) for family activity centre, refreshments
               Canadian National 1923 unique modified Class 3 Station (Red Deer 1954) for administration, archives, events
               CPR 1920 Standard A3 Station (Rocky Mountain House) for Fossil Fuels Transportation Interpretive Centre
               CPR 1912 Standard A2 Western Station (Nevis) for Grain/Agriculture Transportation Interpretive Centre
               CPR 1910 original Red Deer 'Chateau-style' Brick Station for Passenger Rail Interpretive Centre, visitor centre
              

Stations of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway
 
C & E combination station & freight house 1891 renderingA replication of the original 1891 Red Deer CPR wood combination station and freight house is expected to be the first to be built in order to house our collection of CPR artifacts gifted to the society by the Junior League of Edmonton. Ten of these virtually identical stations were built during the summer of 1891 at approximately 18 mile intervals between Calgary and Edmonton (Airdrie, Carstairs, Olds, Innisfail, Red Deer, Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Leduc, Strathcona). A handful of similar stations were also built south of Calgary.

See: Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum
 
Most of these stations were replaced by larger and newer structures but some remained in service until the 1960s. Several were modified as needs and functions evolved with relocated windows, doors, chimneys. Some had additions for freight, express and living quarters. None have been preserved.
 
It is anticipated that the Innisfail version that had been modified by the end of the 1890s will be replicated for use as a C&E Railway research and archive facility as well as a meeting room.
 
When the Red Deer station was replaced in 1910, it was relocated, expanded and used as a freight house. A replication of this structure could house a portion of a historical miniature world model rail exhibit as well as function as a workshop for additional miniature world exhibits.

Stations of the Canadian Pacific Railway along the C&E

 
The Calgary & Edmonton Railway was operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was eventually absorbed into the CPR system. It was one of the most profitable railways in Canada. The CPR replaced several of the C&E combination stations with larger structures, most notably at Red Deer, Strathcona, Lacombe and Wetaskiwin.
 
The CPR also added intermediate stations along the Calgary-Edmonton. Early standard #2 stations were built at Penhold, Bowden, Blackfalds and Crossfield in 1904. The Bowden station has been preserved at the Innisfail Historical Village and a later Std. #2 station was replicated at Penhold for commercial use. The Crossfield station was destroyed by fire in 1933 and replaced with a standard #4A station.

It is anticipated that the Penhold version will be replicated in the rail park for a historical miniature world model rail exhibit.
 
An unusual 'Pratt' station was built at Didsbury in 1904. It has been donated to the town, preserved and designated a historic resource. A standard #5 station was built at Millet in 1907.

Red Deer CPR station 1910The stations at Red Deer and Strathcona were replaced with grand 'chateau-style' stations in 1908 and 1910 respectively. Similar stations were also built at Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Saskatoon. All 5 have been preserved and are designated historic resources. It is anticipated that eventually, the original version of the Red Deer station will be replicated as a visitor centre.
 
The Wetaskiwin and Lacombe stations were replaced by unusual woodframe specialty stations in 1907 and 1911 respectively. The old C&E stations were relocated and used as freight houses. The 'new' Wetaskiwin station still stands empty and the 'new' Lacombe station was demolished but was replicated for commercial use. The Leduc combination station was replaced by a standard A2 Western station in 1914 and has since been demolished.

CPR Branchline Stations east of the C&E

Part of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway charter was the addition of branchlines east of Lacombe and Wetaskiwin, each of which extended into Saskatchewan.

Many stations were erected including standard #10 stations at Stettler in 1905 and Camrose in 1907 and the smaller version #5 station at Alix (similar to Millet) in 1910. It is anticipated that eventually the Alix version will be replicated in the railpark.
rendering of CPR std A2 Western station trackside
Standard A2 Western stations similar to the one built in Leduc were constructed at Clive, Nevis and Erskine between 1910 and 1912. This style of station was also built at Consort and Bittern Lake in 1911 and one was relocated to Castor in 1937. A Branchline Depot was built at Coronation. The Nevis station may be one of the stations erected in the rail park.


CPR Stations of the Alberta Central Railway
 
The Alberta Central Railway had great aspirations of being a semi-continental railway stretching from Vancouver to Churchill, Manitoba with its headquarters in Red Deer. The railway built two significant bridges, one southwest of Red Deer at Mintlaw and the other at Rocky Mountain House as well as a station and yard in the Mountview area of Red Deer. The station was never used for its intended purpose but has survived as a residence.
 
The railway went bankrupt and was taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR was only interested in the portion between Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House. The link between the two rail lines was at Forth Junction near the present-day intersection of Taylor Drive and 32 St.
rendering of CPR std 14A station trackside
 
A number of temporary portable stations were erected at several communities along the line. The CPR built standard #A3 station at Rocky Mountain House (Lochearn) in 1920 and standard #14A stations at Sylvan Lake in 1924 and Benalto in 1928. The society intends to replicate both the Rocky and Sylvan Lake stations. The Benalto station has been preserved close to its original location after having been relocated several times.

Stations of the Canadian Northern Western Railway and CNR
 
A subsidiary of the Canadian Northern Railway, the Canadian Northern Western Railway was a line built from Stettler to Nordegg between 1911 and 1912. The section from Stettler to Alix and the section from Rocky Mountain House to Nordegg have been abandoned. The remainder currently forms the Brazeau subdivision of the Canadian National Railway.


Canadian Northern third class plan 29 stations were built at Nevis, Alix, Haynes, Prentiss, Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Elspeth and Leslieville in 1912-13. A third class plan 75 station was built at Nordegg in 1914. Several other stations of this class were built throughout Central Alberta.

 

It is anticipated that the Sylvan Lake station will be replicated in the proposed rail park.

 

Small freight and passenger shelters were built at Joffre, Burbank and Briggs.
Red Deer CNR station 1923

A fairly unique CNR special station was built at Red Deer in 1923 where the present-day Co-op Shopping Centre downtown is located. It was originally connected to the Canadian Northern Western Railway (CNR) over a bridge across the Red Deer River but after several washouts was connected via the CPR line to North Junction. The station was closed and demolished in 1960 and a new station and yard built on the north side of the river.

It is anticipated that this station will be replicated in the rail park for administration and special events.

Stations of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
 
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built their Edmonton to Calgary line in 1911-12 through Camrose, Mirror and Three Hills. A special 'E' station was built at Mirror. Regular Type E stations were built at Bashaw, Alix, Ardley, Delburne, Elnora, Huxley, Trochu and Three Hills. The Delburne station has been moved and restored to become the Anthony Henday Museum. The Ardley station has been used as a farm building since 1967. The Three Hills station was replaced by a Type F station in 1919.
 
It is intended that this style will be represented in the rail park by the Elnora station.

Other Stations in Central Alberta
 
The Canadian Northern Railway built their Edmonton to Calgary line through Camrose, Stettler and Big Valley in 1911. Large 2nd class stations were built at Stettler and Big Valley and both have been preserved. Much of the line was purchased and operated by the Central Western Railway in 1986. Alberta Prairie Railway has operated a tourist train since 1998 between Stettler and Big Valley. 3rd class stations have been preserved at Camrose, Meeting Creek and Rowley.
 
The Lacombe and Blindman Valley Electric Railway, later renamed the Lacombe and Northwestern Railway, was eventually purchased by Canadian Pacific.  A small station was built at Gull Lake/Aspen Beach in 1917 and has survived. A standard #14 station similar to Sylvan Lake and Benalto was built at Bentley in 1929. A similar station was built at Torrington on the Acme subdivision in 1930.


A segment of the Forth Junction Project ultimate vision is a semi-commercial railway station resort with additional station replications for accommodation that would be operated by a private business.
See:
Heritage Resort

                                                                     Station graphic renderings by Paul Pettypiece, Photos courtesy of Red Deer Archives

 

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

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