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  abandoned ACR-CPR right-of-way

Forth Junction Project
Former Alberta Central Railway right of way as
Future Linear Park

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

Current Rail Heritage Preservation

Red Deer Ground Transportation Themes

Mintlaw Linear Park Proposal

Rails to Trails

Former ACR Linear Corridor - click to see larger image
Former Rail Line to Regional Trail and Recreation Corridor using the former
CPR Alberta Central subdivision

 
A Proposal
for the
Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake
Linear Park

 
Alberta Central Railway map Red Deer to Burnt Lake
- The former Alberta Central Railway (ACR), operated by Canadian Pacific as the Alberta Central subdivision from 1912 to 1981, was abandoned from Forth (in south Red Deer near the current Taylor Drive and 32 Street) to the Tuttle diversion in 1962 and from Tuttle (near Gasoline Alley at Lantern Street and Highway 2A) in 1983;

biking and walking trail on abandoned railbed- Red Deer County identified the former ACR corridor (including the original right of way to Red Deer east of the Mintlaw bridge) as a possible future linear park in the Open Spaces Master Plan adopted in 2009;

- The joint City/County Red Deer River Valley and Tributaries Concept Park Plan, adopted in 2010 by both municipalities for the future extension of Waskasoo Park, identified the former ACR corridor as part of a future urban and regional trail network;


Mintlaw trestle across the Red Deer River- In 2009, Red Deer County purchased the Mintlaw trestle and the former ACR right of way between the Calgary & Edmonton Trail roadway west to Benalto from Canadian Pacific for $1 as a future historical resource and possible linear park;

- Much of the right of way from Tuttle to the C & E Trail is also owned by the County;

former Alberta Central Railway right of way near Highway 2 and 32 Street Red Deer County- Most of the original ACR right of way that was abandoned in 1962 between Highway 2 near 32 Street (in close proximity of Red Deer County Centre) to the Tuttle diversion is currently privately owned but the right of way is intact;

-  On the west side of Mintlaw trestle, the right of way crosses the historic Burnt Lake Trail to the Cygnet Lake conservation area providing a natural educational opportunity;

- Sylvan Lake residents have consistently petitioned their town council to preserve the ACR corridor within Sylvan Lake for a linear park and walking trail (both the ACR and the Canadian Northern Western Railway reached Sylvan Lake in 1911-12);

- Since the early 1990s, several hikers and bicyclists have shown a desire for an active (human-powered) transportation link between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake that avoids the busy Highway 11 expressway.

The Forth Junction Heritage Society supports all efforts for the Mintlaw trestle and the former Alberta Central Railway right of way between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake being preserved and rehabilitated for use as a linear recreation park corridor that includes responsibly-managed pedestrian and bicycle trails, tourist amenities, and one or more interpretive facilities with a railway and transit theme.

Opportunities and Challenges:

aerial of Mintlaw steel trestle- Until now, the Mintlaw trestle has had no maintenance since 1981 and, as a result, needs considerable work. In late 2010, Red Deer County authorized emergency repair work on the west end of the bridge where wooden piers are deteriorating to the point of threatening the integrity of the entire structure. It will take an estimated $2 million of additional upgrades before pedestrian and bicycle traffic can be permitted on the bridge. Possible funding solutions include provincial heritage resource funding, other government funding, corporate sponsorship or public fundraising efforts;

- An opportunity exists to use the former ACR rail right of way as part of a regional trail network that links the historic Mintlaw bridge with both Gasoline Alley and the proposed route of the Trans Canada Trail south of Red Deer, offering opportunities for agri-tourism and a heritage interpretive centre or major transportation heritage tourist destination;

former ACR (CPR) right of way south of Red Deer- Since the right of way east of the Mintlaw trestle to Tuttle is effectively county controlled, it provides the best option for access to the bridge and as a regional trail. A portion of the corridor has the potential for Trans Canada Trail designation as a linkage between Red Deer and Springbrook. However, access between the corridor and Gasoline Alley and a future trail proposed under Highway 2 at Taylor Drive on the east side of Highway 2A, requires the crossing of the CPR main line and Highway 2A;

historic ACR pier in Red Deer near Forth Junction- A suggestion has been proposed by several people that a pedestrian/bicycle link between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake over the Mintlaw bridge would make a good inter-community 2013 centennial project as Red Deer celebrates its 100th year as a city and Sylvan Lake celebrates its 100th year as a town, both in part due to the construction of the Alberta Central Railway. An opportunity may exist where the two urban municipalities could contribute financially as part of their centennial projects.

completioin of the ACR Mintlaw trestle- The Mintlaw bridge will be one hundred years old in the fall of 2012 and regular passenger service between Red Deer, Sylvan Lake and Benalto along the ACR was commenced in 1913 opening up the western portions of Red Deer County to settlement and economic development, an anniversary that could create an opportunity for additional celebratory funding;

aerial view of ACR Mintlaw trestle- Another possibility for funding rehabilitation of the Mintlaw trestle is a rerouting of the Trans Canada Trail between Red Deer and Springbrook, itself with its share of challenges. One proposal would have the TCT run on the north side of the river from Bower Ponds in Red Deer, through Maskapatoon Park, under the Highway 2 river bridge to Sylvan Creek, along the creek to the ACR right of way northwest of the Mintlaw trestle, across the trestle and linking up with undeveloped road allowances to Springbrook;

- A number of adjoining landowners along the ACR right of way are wary of the perceived risks of trespassing, liability, vandalism, noise and trash. Possible solutions include adequate signing, policing, fencing, garbage receptacles and stewardship, and an educational campaign to show that similar developments all over North America, and indeed the world, have resulted in fewer challenges than anticipated as most users tend to be responsible and trail usage tends to discourage unwanted activity. Rural trails have provided opportunities for tourism income to adjoining landowners;

- West of the Mintlaw trestle toward Sylvan Lake, the right of way crosses the busy four-lane Highway 11 expressway both east and west of Sylvan Lake. Possible solutions include a trail being designed as part of a future interchange on Highway 11 (either at Highway 20 or a future city ring road) or the construction of a signature pedestrian/bicycle overpass or underpass;

- The original ACR right-of-way between Highway 2 near 32 Street and the Tuttle diversion east of the Calgary and Edmonton Trail is privately owned. Possible solutions include purchase of the right of way, dedication as municipal reserve in future developments or utility easement. Much of the right of way is scheduled to be annexed by the City within 10 years but a trail along the right of way is likely a long term development;

- There may be opportunities for funding as Canada celebrates 150 years as a nation in 2017.

modern rural tramLong term opportunities:

- the development of tourist facilities including the proposed Forth Junction Project railway station and transit heritage park and resort, as well as bed and breakfasts, bicycle rentals, farmers markets, refreshment facilities and interpretive centres;

- use as a modern or historic tram/streetcar or tourist railroad using a Dayliner or historic locomotive with passenger cars east of the river between Red Deer College and the Mintlaw trestle.

find us on facebook  Friends of the Mintlaw Trestle Facebook Group

Powerpoint Slide Show: History of the ACR & Mintlaw Trestle and Future Trails

                                                                                    (presented at FJHS AGM Oct. 2012)

more about the Mintlaw Bridge and Alberta Central Railway

 
Dawe: Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
News Article - Red Deer County seeks partners to afford bridge access

                                                                                               
(Mountain View Gazette Apr.2012)
News Article - County council looks at bridge as tourist attraction

                                                                                                  
(Red Deer Advocate April 2012)
News Article - Plans for Mintlaw Bridge waiting on public feedback

                                                                                               
(Mountain View Gazette Feb.2012)
News Article - Opposition comes forward to Mintlaw Bridge preservation

                                                                                                (Mountain View Gazette May 2011)

News Article - Reinforcing our history
(Red Deer Advocate Mar.2011)
News Article - Repairs planned for crumbling CPR bridge
(Red Deer Advocate Feb.2011)
News Article - RD County antes up for Mintlaw Bridge repairs

                                                                                                 (Mountain View Gazette Nov.2010)

News Article - Bridging gap between history and disrepair
(Red Deer Advocate Nov. 10, 2010)

Mintlaw Bridge Public Access & Preservation Strategy
Red Deer River Valley and Tributaries Park Concept Plan Part 1
Red Deer River Valley and Tributaries Park Concept Plan Part 2

Red Deer County Open Spaces Master Plan
 

Current Rail Heritage Preservation            Red Deer Ground Transportation Themes 
Forth/Tuttle-Mintlaw-Sylvan Lake Linear Park Proposal            Rails to Trails
Railway Icons of City of Red Deer         Railway Icons of Red Deer County          Railway Icons of Central Alberta
 

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