Lacombe and Blindman Valley Electric
Lacombe and Northwestern Railway
(Hoadley subdivision of Canadian
Pacific Railway 1928-present)
and credits at bottom of page.
Businessmen and farmers from Lacombe, Rimbey and
Bentley incorporated the Lacombe & Blindman Valley Electric Railway
in February of 1909 to serve those areas with a connection to the
Calgary & Edmonton Railway (Canadian Pacific) at Lacombe. It was one
of several railways chartered in the Lacombe area at the time but
the only one to actually build a line. Although, the line was
originally intended to be electrified, the charter allowed any means
It wasn't until 1913 that funding for the project was guaranteed by
the provincial government for $7,000 per mile. Although grading was
done west of Lacombe, World War I made the availability of steel
rail almost impossible. In 1917, the railway was able to buy unused
track from two other short lines in the province and was able to
complete the line to Bentley. A station was also located at Gull
The first rail vehicle used by the railway was a British-built
'petrol-hydraulic' Baguley self-propelled passenger car but proved
to be very unreliable and had a tendency to derail on curves.
railway was able to lease some older engines and rolling stock from
the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway including a small
saddle tank engine which hauled a flatcar modified to act as a
tender and one combine (a freight/passenger car). The 'tender'
included a wood sided coal bunker, a wooden water tank and space for
freight. The tiny engine was nicknamed "the Peanut" and the line
came to be known as the Peanut Line or the Peanut Special.
The provincial government assumed control of the line in 1918 and it
was reorganized as the Lacombe and Northwestern Railway.
The line reached Rimbey in 1919 and the first train
arrived on October 25 of that year. It was later extended to
Bluffton in 1920, and later to Hoadley, Winfield and Breton creating
a loop from Lacombe to Leduc which was completed in 1931.
The government sold the line in 1928 to Canadian
Pacific Railway which renamed it the Hoadley Subdivision although
the Lacombe and Northwestern Railway remained a separate corporate
entity until 1957. The central section between Rimbey and Breton was
later abandoned. Mixed trains ran three times a week until the
1950s. Currently, local freights run on an as-needed irregular basis
out of Red Deer.
Photo descriptions and credits:
Header: Tracks across the Mintlaw bridge near Red Deer (Paul
Aspen Beach Gull Lake 1917 L&BVER/CPR station (source & date unknown);
L&BVER Baguley self-propelled car 1917 (Red Deer Archives P12785);
L&NWR 'The Peanut' saddle tank engine & flatcar tender ca 1928
(Floyd Yeats Collection);