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  CPR bridge downtown Red Deer 1987

Forth Junction Project
Alberta Central
Historical Miniature Rail
and Landmark Display

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

Heritage Rail Park Concept

Railway Station Architecture

Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits

Ultimate Vision

1985
End of an era - the last scheduled passenger train in Central Alberta

Dayliner through Innisfail- The CPR/VIA Calgary-Edmonton Budd RDC 'Dayliner' made its last run with a stop in Red Deer in 1985. CNR 'Railiners' on the Stettler and Mirror lines ended in 1981.
- 1985 was 5 years away from the relocation of the downtown Red Deer CPR rail yard to the west side of the city.
- The CPR Alberta Central sub ran its last train between Red Deer and Benalto in 1981. The line was abandoned and right of way between Benalto and Rocky Mountain House was sold. The Mintlaw steel trestle across the Red Deer River southwest of Red Deer remained but the track and ties were removed.
- The wooden grain elevators that once dominated the skyline of almost every western community were becoming extinct.
- 6-axle GMD SD40-2s were becoming the dominant CPR and CNR locomotive providing for much longer trains.
- Locomotive shortages saw colourful leased locomotives from all over North America run through the area.
- The re-introduction of intermodal freight and unit trains,
- CPR changed its image with the 'Pacman' multi-mark logo on all locomotives and varied coloured rolling stock in 1968 as well as rebranding as CP Rail.
- Both CPR and CNR introduced locomotives in 1984 promoting Expo 86 in Vancouver.
- CPR and CNR passenger service was transferred to VIA Rail in 1978. The early paint scheme was blue and yellow.
- CPR subsidiary Soo Line introduced the all red with slanted logo paint scheme in 1985.
- Government of Canada aluminum silver and yellow cylindrical covered hoppers were introduced in 1976 as light alternatives to box cars for grain on many lightly-used branch lines.
- CPR and CNR box cars still used for grain service on branch lines had wheat sheaf painted on sides in 1979.
- Government of Canada salmon and yellow cylindrical covered hoppers were introduced in 1977.
- Canada Wheat Board salmon cylindrical covered hoppers with centred wheat sheaf introduced in 1979.
- Alberta 'Heritage Fund' blue and Saskatchewan brown and orange cylindrical covered hoppers introduced in 1981.
- Government of Canada red 'Canada' cylindrical covered hoppers introduced in 1982.
- The realignment of Hwy. 2A south of Red Deer beside the CP line.
- Part of the old CN spur line east into downtown Red Deer was still used for rail car storage.
- In the Red Deer Riverside Heavy Industrial area served by CNR, CGTX/GATX rail car repair facility and Canada Packers meat packing plant opened in 1969 and are still operating. Fletchers meat packing plant opened in 1975.
- Johns-Manville opened an insulation plant in Innisfail in 1977. Served by CPR. Innisfail still had several grain elevators and a team track.
- Alberta Wheat Pool built a new elevator at Niobe south in 1982 (acquired by Agricore in 1998 and later bought by Canada Malting).
- Alberta Gas Ethylene (later Nova Chemicals) opened its first petrochemical plant at Joffre in 1979 with a large rail yard. The plant expanded several times. Served by CNR.
- Union Carbide (later Dow Chemical) opened a petrochemical plant at Prentiss in 1984. Served by CNR. The company built an ethylene loading facility at Blackfalds the same year served by CPR. Company committed to preserving Ellis Bird Farm indefinitely.
- Ipsco (later Evraz) built a steel pipe plant north of Red Deer in 1983. Served by CPR.
- Although the Carling Brewery closed in 1972, it remains standing and repurposed used as a mattress factory for a period of time. Macdonalds Consolidated closed its relocated warehouse in 1982.
- Federal Grain was sold to the provincial wheat pools including Alberta Wheat Pool which painted their elevators turquoise beginning in 1972.
- National Grain was sold to Cargill in 1975.
- After 94 years, regular passenger service came to an end in Central Alberta. Most railway stations had now been demolished, sold or saved for preservation. The only stations still operational in 1985 were the CPR 1910 Red Deer and 1908 Wetaskiwin stations. The Innisfail and Olds cinder block stations were used only for maintenance. Two stations were replicated in Lacombe and Penhold as well as a smaller version of the Wetaskiwin station at the Alberta Central Railway Museum. Those that were saved or preserved included:
       - Bowden CPR 1904 early #2 relocated to the Innisfail Historical Village,
       - Didsbury CPR 1904 Pratt turned around and used by Didsbury Chamber of Commerce,
       - Benalto CPR 1928 #14A sold and moved as private residence twice and relocated to Benalto,
       - Stettler CNor 1911 2nd class relocated to Stettler Museum,
       - Big Valley CNor 1912 2nd class on original site preserved by Canadian Northern Society,
       - Delburne GTP 1912 Type E relocated to Anthony Henday Museum in Delburne,
       - Ardley GTP 1911 Type E,
       - Gull Lake/Aspen Beach L&BV 1917 small
   A few others in the Central Alberta area include Camrose, Castor, Beiseker, Crossfield, Meeting Creek, Three Hills, Rowley
      


 

1892 - The beginning of a regional centre     1913 - The headiness of rapid expansion     1939 - The glory days of passenger service
1955 - Transition and change     1967 - Canada's centennial     1985 - Last passenger train in region      2005 - Alberta's centennial
Innisfail Historical Model Rail Exhibit         Historic Model Railway Concept         World-Class Model Rail Museums
 

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

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