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  Former C&E Railway Museum Edmonton 2013 - Pettypiece

Forth Junction Project 
Concept for

Forth Junction Regional
Heritage Rail Park

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

Concept Proposal for                        

Forth Junction
Heritage Society
Rail, Trail and Transit Interpretive

Regional Family Heritage Rail Park
updated June 2022 (photo and illustration description and credits at bottom of page)
 Forth Junction Rail Park vision 3 zones - Pettypiece
designed to operate in partnership with paired complementary transportation-themed tourism, commercial and/or industrial facilities

The Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park plan sets the stage for the ultimate build-out of the overall vision. It accommodates current opportunities and allows for additional uses of the site by the community and other similar organizations as well as separate but complementary semi-commercial features.

It also provides for the plan to adapt as community, tourist, semi-commercial or commercial needs and trends evolve.

The mandate of the Forth Junction Heritage Society 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 Forth Junction educational and exploratory component includes:

Calgary & Edmonton Railway Museum
former C&E Railway Museum in Edmonton 2013 - PettypieceThe first stage of the proposed heritage rail park will include a replication of the original 1891 C&E combination railway station to house the artifact collection gifted by the Junior League of Edmonton from the now-closed station museum that was located in south Edmonton. These artifacts are currently stored and displayed at the Innisfail Historical Village.
former C&ER museum 3
The building may also become the home of a research centre for the Calgary & Edmonton Railway with archives and library.

The 1891 station design had been built in several locations prior to being replaced or demolished, including at Red Deer, Innisfail, Olds, Carstairs, Airdrie, Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Leduc and Strathcona as well as a handful of others south of Calgary. None of the original combination stations have survived in Alberta.

See: Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum

Train viewing observation platform and activity area
Park Forest Rail Fan Park in Illinois 
Also in the initial stage of the heritage rail park is an elevated viewing platform for rail enthusiasts and photographers who want to watch the busy CPR Calgary-Edmonton main rail line that hosts up to 15 trains per day. It would eventually become a covered all-season facility with games, video and reading areas as well as a refreshment bar.

It would include an adjoining themed playground, gardens and picnic area.
This element alone could ultimately attract a good number of visitors from many parts of North America.

Miniature world historical model railway exhibits
Child fascinated with model railway exhibit at Freemo Big Valley 2009 - Pettypiece
An additional replicated station, such as an 1891 C&E Railway station converted to freight house, would house historically accurate miniature-world-style model railway exhibits showing the evolution of communities in the region displaying the result of railway decisions, technological advances, infrastructure and colonization.

These exhibits would be represented in various scales over several time periods that could include the early 1890s of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, the boom period around 1913 featuring the CPR and the Canadian Northern Western Railway, the late 1930s featuring 'The Chinook' high speed train, the transition era from steam to diesel around 1955, Canada's centennial year of 1967 and infrastructure and commodity transportation changes around 1985 prior to the relocation of the Red Deer rail yards and the end of passenger rail service in Central Alberta. The exhibit could include a model of the historic 2,100' Mintlaw steel trestle across the Red Deer River.

The project could eventually evolve to include the evolution of model railway manufacturing.

Red Deer CPR ornamental garden park and station ca1912 - RD Archives P8737Ornamental railway station gardens

Many early railway stations had adjoining decorative gardens and parks to present an attractive first impression of the town to visitors and settlers getting off the train. These gardens often included fountains, water features, pathways, flower enhancements, a gazebo and/or benches.

Red Deer was one of the towns or cities that had a memorable ornamental garden located between the CPR station and the hotels from 1906 to 1960. Unfortunately, it was replaced by a parking lot.

The Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park would include a similar feature as an early attraction.

Replicated railway stations as a study in architecture
and representing regional railway evolution
sampling of Central Alberta railway stations - cPettypieceAs a study in railway station architecture, special emphasis has been placed on the many railway lines that developed the region.
These featured railways include
- the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and its branchlines

   (later absorbed by the Canadian Pacific Railway),

- the Alberta Central Railway (also absorbed by the CPR),
- the Canadian Northern Western Railway

    (absorbed into the Canadian National Railways) and
- the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
    (also absorbed into the CNR).

Replicating several representative styles of railway stations that once were the hubs of many communities, large and small throughout Central Alberta for over 125 years, these interpretive centres would be an attraction unique in North America.

The first of these replicated stations is anticipated to be the 1891 Calgary & Edmonton Railway combination station and freight house, likely based on the one in Innisfail, to house the C&E Railway Museum.

The freight house portion would house the beginning of the miniature world historical model railway display.

The second station to be replicated would likely be a CPR portable similar to the one at Mintlaw, representing the Alberta Central Railway, as the reception centre for the park. The third would likely be an original CPR #2 station based on either the Penhold or Blackfalds station, depending on the final location of the park, to be used primarily as a gift shop, refreshment bar, meeting room and storage.

The CPR interpretive zone, built in Phase 2, could include three replicated stations, possibly based on those that existed in Red Deer or those that existed elsewhere in the region. At least one would ultimately house the multi-era historical miniature world exhibits.
Red Deer CNR station 1955 - Red Deer Archives
The CNR interpretive zone, built in Phase 3, would include replicated stations that serve to examine the role of the Canadian Northern Western Railway, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the CNR in Red Deer.

In addition to housing exhibits, these replicated stations could have a variety of other functions including a children's pavilion, transportation library and research centre, revolving exhibits, cultural and event pavilions, meeting rooms, theatre room, activity centres and administration.

As part of the semi-commercial tourism zone, replicated stations could also serve as cabin-style accommodations and/or specialty food, book and hobby shops.

Transit & Surface Transportation Heritage Pavilion
Union Bus Depot Red Deer Cardinal Coaches 1949 - Glenbow Archives

Highlighting the evolution of transit and regional bus service in Central Alberta as well as other modes of surface transportation that could include various auto, emergency or military vehicles. Regional historic and cultural tours could be offered from this facility.

Children's pavilion, themed playgrounds & family activity zones

Transportation-themed playgrounds scattered throughout the park and family activity zones where families can enjoy the unique built and natural environment. May include gazebos, outdoor stage, covered picnic areas, event zone and an activity, educational and entertainment centre for children to learn the basics of transportation and mobility science and logistics.

Heritage railway collections interpretive exhibits

Covered and outdoor displays showcasing private and leased railway collections and the evolution of rail infrastructure, locomotives and rolling stock in Central Alberta. Sufficient space will be included for hidden un-restored railway equipment storage that is not visible to the public.

West Coast Railway Museum 2016 - PettypieceNatural areas, green space, trails, picnic areas

including trees, green spaces and possibly wetlands or other water features accessible through a network of internal trails and external trail connections with picnic areas and benches to relax and enjoy the environment.

Themed interpretive nodes and stand-alone kiosks

focusing on aspects of railway activity, infrastructure and other modes of transportation that could feature fossil fuel, petrochemical, industrial, livestock and agricultural product distribution. The impact of the railway on the economy, the environment, colonization, First Nations and community affairs could also be highlighted as well as the future of ground transportation.

Jubilee 3001 the Chinook trainset - CP Archives
1/8 scale miniature railway interpretive journey

that may eventually be built as an add-on to stage three possibly headed by a 1/8 scale replication of the CPR 'Chinook' Jubilee 4-4-4 No. 3001 high speed streamlined passenger steam locomotive that ran between Calgary and Edmonton in the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s (it was one of only 5 of this class built, none survived).

Optional rail loop and rail connection
Although it would be nice to have if there is sufficient space and funds, a rail loop and direct rail connection
are not necessary for the park to function. A rail loop to run full size trains would require a more-or-less square 40 acre site. A direct rail connection would facilitate getting acquired or borrowed rolling stock on site, trucking in those artifacts would likely be less costly than building a rail connection.


These features would be developed in stages by the society over a period of time. As the park develops, it would initially attract mostly local and regional residents and guests, visitors, and tourists travelling along the Calgary and Edmonton corridor but as the concept becomes fully developed, it would attract visitors from a much-wider area, ultimately becoming a world-class attractor, especially as the complementary semi-commercial component evolves.

Stage 1 of the proposed Forth Junction Heritage Rail ParkThe first stage would focus initially on the replication of the 1891 C&E Railway combination station (likely Innisfail), the train-viewing platform and activity area, storage and restoration garage, reception and decorative garden, parking, access, servicing and drainage.

Phase 1B would follow with landscaping, gift shop and meeting room (in replicated #2 station, either Penhold or Blackfalds station) and the first of several historical miniature-world model railway exhibits centred around a location in or near the host community and specific era such as 1955 or 1985. Trees would be planted, trails constructed and a playground built.

The second stage would focus on the CPR interpretive zone with the replication of two or more railway stations including the original C&E Railway station that had been expanded and repurposed as a freight house to become the home of the multiple historically accurate miniature world model railway exhibits. Stage 2 would also include the themed playgrounds, water features, enhanced landscaping and gardens, "opportunity" space for an unexpected donation of equipment, a few interpretive kiosks, enclosure of the viewing platform, additional trails and enhancements and the beginning of both the children's pavilion in one of the replicated stations and the transportation pavilion. Small sections of track could be laid if required for an acquired display.

The third and final stage would complete the project with the creation of the CNR interpretive zone and the replication of additional railway stations including the 2-storey Red Deer 1923 CNR downtown station that was demolished in 1960 and an additional 2-storey station, either the original 1910 CPR Red Deer station or the 1920 CPR/CNR Rocky/Lochearn station. It would also include the Transit and Surface Transportation Pavilion, completion of the miniature world and the completion of the children's pavilion. Track would be laid for static railway displays and an enclosed rail restoration structure would be built. Additional parking and final landscaping would be completed.

See Ultimate Vision                                                            


The Forth Junction Heritage Society has reviewed many rail parks and rail museums and has taken inspiration from several of them, some within Alberta and others well outside.
Our desire is to not duplicate these facilities but to learn from them to facilitate the creation of a unique attraction with a unique combination of facilities.
Some excellent attractions within Alberta that we have taken inspiration from include the Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin, Heritage Park in Calgary, Fort Edmonton Park, the Alberta Railway Museum north of Edmonton, Aspen Crossing at Mossleigh and Galt Historic Railway Park south of Lethbridge.
We see these attractions complementary to our own vision and we encourage you to visit these other great parks.

Outside of Alberta, inspiration has come from the West Coast Railway Heritage Park at Squamish, 3 Valley Gap near Revelstoke, the Revelstoke Railway Museum, Canadian Museum of Rail Travel at Cranbrook and Fort Steele in B.C. as well as Exporail in Montreal, Winnipeg Railway Museum, Toronto Railway Museum, B&O Railway Museum in Baltimore, MD, EnterTrainment Junction in Cincinnati, OH, Railraod Park Resort in Dunsmuir, CA, and San Diego CA Model Railroad Museum.

Photo descriptions and credits:
Header photo: Former C&E Railway Station Museum replication in south Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);

Concept plan for 2-3 zone rail heritage themed development (Paul Pettypiece);
Proposed 16-acre site plan for future Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park (Paul Pettypiece);
Former Calgary & Edmonton Railway Station Museum replication in south Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);
Display at former C&E Railway Station Museum in Edmonton (Paul Pettypiece 2013);
Railway viewing platform at Park Forest Rail Fan Park Illinois (Enjoy Illinios);
Child admiring model railway exhibit at Big Valley Freemo event (Paul Pettypiece 2009);
CPR Red Deer station, freighthouse, garden 1912 (Red Deer Archives P8737);
Graphic of several Central Alberta railway stations (Paul Pettypiece);
Innisfail 1891 Calgary & Edmonton Railway station 1890s (Glenbow Archives NA-1709-71);
Blackfalds 1904 CPR early standard #2 station (Blackfalds Historical Society);
Red Deer 1923 Canadian National Railways modified 3rd class station 1955 (Red Deer Archives P7009);
Union bus depot Red Deer Cardinal Coaches 1949 (Glenbow Archives PA-3127-1);
Rail park at West Coast Railway Museum (Paul Pettypiece 2016);
'The Chinook' train led by Jubilee 3001 and 4 cars (Canadian Pacific Archives);
Proposed 16-acre site plan for future Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park Stage 1 (Paul Pettypiece);
Proposed 16-acre site plan for future Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park Stage 2 (Paul Pettypiece);
Proposed 16-acre site plan for future Forth Junction Heritage Rail Park Stage 3 Final (Paul Pettypiece);


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

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