The building of the ACR & CNWR;
the headiness of rail and municipal expansion
Red Deer is growing and excited with 'railway fever' and economic
prosperity as officials and speculators are optimistic that their
vision of the community becoming a major metropolis will soon become
a reality as the major railway hub of the province with plans to
build railway lines in 9 directions.
1908, Canadian Pacific had named Red Deer the subdivision
headquarters establishing Red Deer as the distribution and
transportation centre of Central Alberta.
The wooden bridge had been
replaced by steel; a new grand railway station had been built at the
head of Ross Street by 1910 and added to in 1912; a 10-stall roundhouse,
turntable, water tower, stock yards and coal chutes had been
constructed; a beautiful station park greeted visitors; and branch
lines had been constructed east of Lacombe to Stettler and east of
Wetaskiwin to Camrose.
1911, the Red Deer-based Alberta Central Railway, with a vision of
becoming part of a transcontinental system, had built a wooden
trestle across Piper Creek, a station and yards in what is now
Mountview, a bridge across the CPR and Waskasoo Creek, and started
construction of a large steel trestle across the Red Deer River at
Mintlaw. Plans had been established for the Alberta Central Railway
to run east to Delburne and on to Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Hudson
The following year, the ACR went bankrupt. Construction west to
Rocky Mountain House was taken over by the Canadian Pacific opening
new communities while the eastern section was abandoned as was a
planned branch line to Drumheller.
the Canadian Northern Western Railway (now part of Canadian
National) is competing with the Alberta Central Railway westward
originating in Stettler and running north of Red Deer at the
Blindman River. In 1912, the line reached Rocky Mountain House ahead
of the ACR although the ACR had already built a bridge across the
North Saskatchewan River. It started moving coal from the Brazeau
coal fields in 1914. In addition, the railway was considering a
north-south corridor through Red Deer with a branch line already
constructed to North Red Deer. The Canadian Northern had also built
a north-south line in 1911 from Edmonton to Calgary through Camrose,
Stettler, Big Valley and Drumheller. Another north-south line was
constructed in 1911 and 1912 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
through Mirror, Alix, Delburne and Three Hills.
With so much railway construction and economic activity in the
region, Red Deer became a city in 1913 with a population close to
3,000. However, later in the year, a recession developed and a year
later, war broke out in Europe. The new city maintained a population
of over 2,000 for the next 10 years but it was 30 years before the
city again reached a population of 3,000.