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Riders welcome train station home to Benalto
reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Randy Fiedler) April 25, 2013

The return of the new beginning is how Dave More described the train station reappearing in Benalto Wednesday.

"I'm elated. It's an amazing moment, a warm crowd and a beautiful day," the Red Deer County village's centennial committee co-chair said as the station rolled down Benalto's main street led by Shadow Riders 4-H Club mounted members.

"Benalto began as a railway town and the station was the reason the town is here."

Garett and Brenda Cupples donated the building used until recently as a residence. It was sold by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1971 for $200 to FasGas founders Jack and Joan Donald who used it as a summer home southwest of Red Deer before selling it in 1985. It was moved once more before coming to rest at the Cupples'.

It was moved from the Belich Business Park on the Burnt Lake Trail starting around noon. The slow trip west on Hwy 11 saw more than three km of traffic congest behind it. RCMP and Red Deer County patrol officers accompanied it as did crews to lift power lines enroute.

Driver Kevin Whips of Wade's House Moving and Heavy Hauling said the trip went well.

"All the corners went good thanks to the police officers. I feel way happier. My stress is all gone."

A groundswell of community spirit means donations have already covered the $300,000 bill to move the building.

"We're paying today thanks to the generosity of people in the community and outside," an excited Yvette Brideau of the Benalto Booster Club, adding fundraising will continue for the work yet to come.

Many of the village's nearly 200 citizens were joined by the curious from across Central Alberta for the homecoming.

"I'm so thrilled," said resident Alma Walker who, with husband Ray, ran a town gas station from 1966 to 2002.

So, too, was Evelyn Hambly, who watched the station moved out of town back in '71.

"It went right by our place south of town. There are no railroad stations around this country and now we're getting ours back."

Former resident Debora Thomas returned from her B.C. home to watch.

"I knew it was on and I was very interested in seeing it. It's awesome," she said at the community barbecue before the arrival.

When the station rolled into town, the crowd applauded as it made its way to its temporary home on a heart of town baseball diamond.

A foundation needs construction on land between Main Street and the agricultural society grounds donated by Bill and Dale Speight of Rocky Mountain House. If by summer's end pending funding, interior work will begin this winter to restore the station's original layout.

The space around it will be called Centennial Station Park and feature a gazebo, benches and landscaping to make it a village hub.

"We think it will take about $200,000," said More. "We're hoping the generosity of the business community follows that of the locals."

Donations can be made to the Benalto Booster Club Centennial Project, Box 135, Benalto, Alberta T0M 0H0.

News articles related to Alberta Central Railway heritage:
       News article: Benalto Train Station returned to hamlet after lengthy journey
(Sylvan Lake News May 2013)
       News article: Benalto station move delayed (Red Deer Advocate Mar.2013)
       News article: Benalto train station to return home after 42-year absence
(Sylvan Lake News Feb.2013)
       News article: Former Benalto train station donated back to community (Red Deer Advocate Feb.2013)
       News article: Historic significance of concrete obelisk preserved in mural
(Red Deer Advocate Oct.2008)

News articles related to ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge:
Commentary: Preservation Opportunity Not to be Lost
(Innisfail Province & Red Deer Advocate June 2015)
       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.2010)
       News article: County buys bridge for a buck
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2009)
       News article: County buys historic railway bridge
(Red Deer Express Dec.2009)

News articles related to regional historic railway stations:
       News article: Alberta railway stations get a new lease on life
(AgCanada Nov.2013)
       News article: Big Valley station banks on restored roof (Stettler Independent Apr.2013)
       Blog: Big Valley Canadian Northern Station Celebrates 100 Years
(RETROactive Sept.2012)
       News article: Historic train station relocated to Beiseker
(Rockyview Weekly July 2012)
       News article: A new face for the old station (Red Deer Life July 1996)

Alberta Central Railway (CPR) - Red Deer to Rocky Mountain House
Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in Central Alberta
Red Deer once had four railway stations

ACR/CPR Mintlaw Steel Trestle

Michael Dawe articles related to Alberta Central Railway / CPR ACR branch heritage
A look back at the Alberta Central Railway (Red Deer Express Sept.2014)
       Laurier's 1910 visit huge event for city (Red Deer Express August 2010)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Sir Wilfrid Laurier visited Red Deer (Red Deer Advocate May 2010)
       The origins of Alberta Central Rail pillar (Red Deer Express April 2008)
       Alberta Central Railway helped open region (Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)
       John T. Moore (Red Deer Express Feb.2003)


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