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Alberta Central Railway

 
The Alberta Central Railway


In May 1901, the Alberta Central Railway was incorporated by an Act of Parliament to run a line of railways east and west from Red Deer. The initial charter was for a line 25 miles east of Red Deer at the coal banks of the Red Deer River (near Nevis) to 50 miles west near the coal banks near Rocky Mountain House (toward Nordegg). Indications are that the original investors saw that as the beginning of a major route across western Canada extending perhaps as far east as Moose Jaw or even Winnipeg and as far west as Vancouver.

A federal grant wasn't approved until 1908 so surveying didn't start until that time. By 1910, construction crews were working west of Red Deer. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of Canada, arrived in August to drive the 'first spike' near the present Kin Kanyon, west of the future station located near where Mountview School now stands. To commemorate the event, the town had constructed a magnificent arch at the intersection of Ross St. and Gaetz Ave.
ACR bridge shortly after construction
In 1911, the steel trestle across the Red Deer River at Mintlaw, just northwest of present day Springbrook, was under construction, track was being laid and part of the grading east and southeast of the Red Deer station was underway although track was never laid east of the Mountview station. The line crossed Piper Creek at what is now Kin Kanyon by wooden trestle and crossed Waskasoo Creek and the Canadian Pacific just north of 32 St. Driving along present day Taylor Drive, one can still see one of the bridge supports.

At the same time, the Canadian Northern Railway was constructing a north-south line through Red Deer as well as an east-west line. The Canadian Northern station was later located near where the present day Co-op store on 47th St. is. It ran along past the present day museum and recreation center and joined up with the C.P.R. near 45 St. but never went any further south.

The race for the Brazeau coal fields west of Rocky Mountain House was on with construction crews of both railways often within eyesight of one another with the odd fight breaking out between the workers. A difference in philosophy ultimately defeated the Alberta Central. The Alberta Central constructed their line to a higher standard than the Canadian Northern and as a result took longer to reach Rocky Mountain House arriving in 1914.

The ACR went bankrupt due to high costs of construction, losing the race to Rocky Mountain House and the building boom coming to an abrupt end with the beginning of the First World War. The company ended up leasing the line to the Canadian Pacific Railway which had very little interest in building the line beyond Rocky Mountain House or eastward. Shortly after, the C.P.R. took out the tracks to the Mountview station and ran trains from their own station to Forth junction, west through present day Westpark. As Red Deer grew, the junction was moved a few miles south to Tuttle (along Hwy. 2A roughly half way between Hwy. 2 and McKenzie Road). In 1983, Canadian Pacific abandoned the line and tore up the tracks.

In 2009, Red Deer County purchased the Mintlaw bridge and the former ACR right of way.

For more on the ACR, visit www.ForthJunction.ca/alberta-central-railway.htm

 

  
bold vision

for
a visitor destination with
4 unique attractions
featuring a ground transportation theme

 

Forth Junction Heritage Society
within a proposed family trail, rail and transit activity and heritage park
 
Forth Junction Project

 
 







 
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Central Alberta
Regional Trails Society

 
 
Sustainable Future,
Respectful Past

 

Paul at Red Deer Tourism

Rails and Trails
Innovative Transportation
Heritage Celebration
Regional Rail History

Paul Pettypiece
Consulting, Research
 


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