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  CPR station, freighthouse, park 1912 - RD Archives P8737

Forth Junction Project
A Vision for a World-Class Regional Heritage Rail Park by Thinking Big & Bold

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

Heritage Rail Park Concept

Railway Station Architecture

Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits

Ultimate Vision

A Bold Vision for an Educational Experiential Regional Transportation Heritage Destination 
                                                      updated September 2022 (photo and illustration description and credits at bottom of page)

"Without railways, there would be no Canada"
                                                                                       - George Stanley (historian, author, teacher, designer of the Canadian flag)


New and old CPR stations and park Red Deer 1912 - RD Archives P8737
The Forth Junction Heritage Society believes that there is an opportunity to create a series of unique, fun and bold facilities, both as a tourism strategy and as an educational strategy, to tell the story of how surface transportation, especially the coming of the railway, impacted the evolution of life in Central Alberta by developing . . .
. . . a bold adaptable Concept Plan
featuring a 15-acre transportation-themed multi-use

heritage rail park
blended with additional complementary tourist facilities
in partnership with a municipality or corporation

proposed overall vision - PettypieceThe heritage rail park will include a variety of experiential attractions, exhibits and features including:
- replication of several styles of railway
as a study in railway architecture,
   historical perspectives and multi-use space,
- train viewing platform with picnic and play
   spaces, resource library and snack bar,
- miniature world representation of various eras
   and regional locations,
- attractive environment including gardens,
   water features, pathways and playgrounds.

The ultimate vision includes semi-commercial tourist features, blended with or adjacent to the heritage rail park, such as a
- roundhouse-shaped conference centre,
- elevated restaurant and
- railway themed accommodation

'Go big or go home'

The vision of the Society is to promote and/or create a unique, attractive, educational and experiential tourist destination located adjacent to an active rail line, preferably the Calgary-Edmonton Canadian Pacific Railway, at a site in Central Alberta that will examine the rail and surface transportation heritage of the region blended with semi-commercial tourism features that would generate sufficient income to offset the cost of maintaining the heritage rail park.

Overall visionary concept for a destination heritage park
Forth Junction banner used at public events 
* Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum, Archive and Research
* Replication of several Central Alberta railway station designs as
    multi-use facilities within the park and cabin-type accommodation
    adjacent to the park;
* Display, interpretation and operation of historic railway and
    surface transportation equipment;
* Children's activity park, discovery learning centre, themed
    playgrounds and miniature railway;
* Miniature-world historic model railway interpretive exhibits
    representing several eras, locations and scales;
* Enclosed viewing platform adjacent to active rail line (preferably
    the CPR Calgary-Edmonton line) with snack bar, library and games
(could be blended with iconic elevated restaurant);
* Rail-related, transit and other surface transportation interactive
    interpretive pavilions;


* Multi-use railway roundhouse-inspired conference or community
    centre adjacent to the park
(size & shape determined by need and
   location; could be blended with transportation or children's pavilion);


* Iconic elevated restaurant adjacent to or within the park;

* Heritage bus tours of historical sites and facilities throughout
    Central Alberta using a common marketing strategy;

* Opportunity space to acquire closed or retired collections;

* Family activity zones, picnic areas, trails, natural areas and
    decorative gardens.

The blending of heritage tourism and education
The Forth Junction visionary strategy includes two components --
proposed 2-zone concept of regional heritage rail park- an educational and experiential component, operated by the Forth Junction Heritage Society in partnership with a municipality or corporation,
- semi-commercial or commercial tourism facilities developed adjacent to, blended with or in close proximity to, the Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park to support the educational and experiential component.
- Existing or new initiatives with a transportation heritage theme could complement the blended approach.

The following attributes have guided the development of this conceptual vision:

    * diversified
    * unique
    * world-class
    * family-friendly
    * aesthetically attractive
    * self-supporting once built
    * educational
    * fun for all ages
    * multi purpose
    * interactive
    * collaborative

Why another heritage rail attraction?
This concept plan
- provides historical and cultural perspectives by way of exhibits and artifacts within historically-based
    structures highlighted by stories and context that explain what made the overall region what it is today;
- has unique features that cannot be found elsewhere in Alberta,
- has the potential to significantly increase tourism and related economic benefits to the region;
- benefits the host community as a fun, multi-use, attractive, educational legacy recreational park.

What is unique or special about this concept?
- replication of railway stations in one location as interpretive centres and/or lodging
     - nothing like it in Canada;
- train viewing platform along active rail line - nothing like it in Alberta;
- transit heritage pavilion - nothing like it in Alberta;
- operational miniature representation of railways in local communities during different time periods and
     model scales - no multi-era, multi-location, multi-scale exhibits like it in Alberta;
- stylized roundhouse-inspired heritage conference and entertainment centre - nothing like it in Alberta;
- attractive family-friendly blend of heritage education and enjoyment for the whole family - rare in an
      outdoor museum setting

Stories and Perspectives that are not sufficiently highlighted elsewhere
- stories and perspectives of the Calgary-Edmonton Railway and Alberta Central Railway;
- the evolution of passenger transportation in the region;
- the evolution of rail transportation in the movement of natural resources;
- the impact of railways, settlement and economic development on the environment and the original
   inhabitants of the region.


The impact of the railway
in Central Alberta

It can be said that without the transcontinental railway linking eastern Canada with British Columbia, there would be no Canada. Western Canada and B.C. would likely have become part of the United States without it.

It is also suggested that without the Doctrine of Discovery, neither Canada or the U.S. would exist as it is today.

It can also be said that without the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and associated branch lines, Central Alberta would not be the economic powerhouse that it is today.

The city of Red Deer would not exist in its current location and may not have become the vibrant distribution and transportation hub that it is. Most towns along the Calgary-Edmonton corridor and many other communities throughout the region would not have developed as they did without the railway.

And yet, most people in the region under the age of 60 are unaware of this reality. As individuals often need to know their roots in order to have a sense of identity, so do communities and regions. Although town museums accomplish that important role, there is none that focuses on the impact to the entire region.

The coming of the railway brought both positive and negative impacts. Colonization and settlement brought with it hardship and  injustices on the indigenous people who were stewards of this ancient land for centuries before the railway was built and development occurred.

Passionate about Central Alberta railway and transit history?

Since the society has very limited resources, the realization of this concept will require one or more of the following three components:
Gifting of land adjacent to an active rail line (preferably the CPR Calgary-Edmonton rail line) of approximately 15 acres between Lacombe and Bowden, preferably adjacent to developable land for a future tourism zone;
Investment or development by a municipality, corporation or entrepreneur as part of an overall development;
Major donations or sponsorships by corporations and/or philanthropists for detailed planning, servicing and to get the first elements on the ground such as the viewing platform, C&E station museum and miniature world historic display

Further donations, sponsorships and benefactors will be required for many other projects such as artifact repairs, park amenities, gardens, trails and future station replications and pavilions

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Donate to the future
Forth Junction Regional Rail Park

If interested is discussing a role in this project or becoming a member, contact us at:


Bold, Flexible, Adaptable
The Forth Junction Heritage Society has developed a bold, flexible and adaptable concept plan that explores the various impacts of development with landmark multi-purpose heritage and tourism facilities in or near the heart of Central Alberta that creates a major tourist attraction with ties to existing railway, trail and transit features throughout the region.

See: Concept of Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park
See: Detailed Staging of Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park
See: Realization of the Destination Park: Models and Scenarios
See: Our Collection and Policies
See: The objectives of the Forth Junction Heritage Society
See: Ultimate vision of blended complementary heritage development

The intent of the Forth Junction Heritage Society in creating this vision is to advance the concept and
co-ordinate development of the various proposed facilities.

It is expected that other entities will build and operate many of the proposed commercial or semi-commercial features of the overall vision. This could be done by the creation of a not-for-profit corporation, partnering with municipalities or corporations, or development by businesses and entrepreneurs as stand-alone tourism operations. The Society itself plans to develop and operate the educational and community aspects of the regional heritage park including the various interpretive centres, exhibits, gardens and pathways.

The Society's primary mission 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 Society's primary objectives are to educate the public on the evolution of the railway, historic trails and transit in the settlement and development of Central Alberta specifically and Western Canada generally through workshops, displays, and interactive interpretation and to preserve the trail, rail and transit heritage of Central Alberta through the acquisition, preservation and restoration of railway and other ground transportation artifacts, equipment and infrastructure.

Photo descriptions and credits:
Header photo: CPR Red Deer station, freighthouse, garden 1912 (Red Deer Archives P8737);
CPR Red Deer station, freighthouse, garden 1912 (Red Deer Archives P8737);
Possible site plan for 16-acre Heritage Rail Park with blended added tourism zone (Paul Pettypiece);
Forth Junction Heritage Society display banner;
Possible site plan for 16-acre Heritage Rail Park with added separate tourism zone (Paul Pettypiece);
Possible site plan for expanded Heritage Rail Park blended with tourism facilities (Paul Pettypiece);
Former Calgary & Edmonton Railway Station Museum replication in south Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);
Garden at Big Valley Canadian Northern Railway station (Paul Pettypiece 2017)
Rail park at West Coast Railway Museum (Paul Pettypiece 2016)

Site plan graphic renderings and photos by Paul Pettypiece, except for the historic photos courtesy of Red Deer Archives

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

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