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Hanna Roundhouse celebrates new beginnings
reprinted from East Central Alberta Review (Katie Davis) October 2, 2013

Hanna Roundhouse Society event

Helping hand Clint Hutton and Hanna Roundhouse Society founder and president Sandra Beaudoin. Hutton was one of a collection of people who helped acquire the building and make the weekend a success.

Photo by ECA Review


Everyone was doing the proverbial locomotion at the Hanna Roundhouse on Saturday, September 28 as the historical venue played host to an Open House to showcase it's new look.

The 100 year old structure was recently acquired by the Hanna Roundhouse Society and has since been given a sprucing up in effort to promote and preserve this piece of history as one of the last roundhouses left in Canada.

"The roundhouse is a 1913 Canadian Northern Railway building that housed at one point up to 15 locomotives," says Sandra Beaudoin, founder and president of the Hanna Roundhouse Society.

The purpose of the building during it's peak use was to drive locomotives onto a central 'turntable', which rotated to align the rail vehicle to a stall to be entered for service work.

"Hanna was a designated divisional point for CNR in 1913," says Beaudoin, "and that was basically the way settlers came out and settled this area, is because CN built a rail from Eastern Canada out to the West."

The rail line in Hanna was on what was known as the Goose Lake line which spanned from Calgary to Saskatoon. Some of the smaller towns built along this line were established to support the railway as service stations, and thus when the railway pulled out of some areas, certain towns had enough infrastructure to survive and some did not.

"A huge portion of our Canadian heritage is to acknowledge that the people that worked on our rail line, built the tracks and the rail stations did so before automation," Beaudoin says, "so it was all done by hand and horse drawn, there were no engines or anything else."

Beaudoin notes that the building also functions as a tourist attraction, as railroad history enthusiasts from the US and surrounding areas trek northward to visit sites of historical prevalence.

An anonymous donation in the name of the Hanna Roundhouse Society -- that they will pay back in time -- has enabled the Society to purchase the property, begin applying for grants and focus more seriously toward future developments of the premises.

"We've cleaned it up and we're going to start right away," she says, of planning the future of the Roundhouse.

"We've got 8.97 acres along the dam, and it's just beautiful out there... we're hoping to maybe develop walking paths, and there's potential for camping as well." Beaudoin says an additional wish is to have a portion of the building designated for museum purposes.

Beaudoin hopes residents of Hanna will soon generate input on how to proceed with developments.

"Smaller communities are having a hard time just getting people to come to their area, so I'm hoping this will be a really positive move to help the community, and surrounding communities," Beaudoin says.

News articles related to Canadian Northern / GTP /Canadian National Railway heritage:
       News article: Hanna society buys historic roundhouse
(Drumheller Mail Dec.2013)
       News article: Big plans for the Hanna roundhouse
(Drumheller Online Oct.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)
       Feature article: 6060 turns 66
(Red Deer Express Sept.2010)

News articles related to regional railway heritage preservation:
       News article: Alberta railway stations get a new lease on life
(AgCanada Nov.2013)
       News article: Heritage projects share grant funding
(Red Deer Advocate July 2013)
       News article: Rail link effort chugging along
(Red Deer Advocate May 2013)
       News article: Historic train station relocated to Beiseker (Rockyview Weekly July 2012)
       News article: Track for historic railway tours likely to be done by late summer
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Rail being laid for heritage line
(Red Deer Advocate Sept.2010)
       News article: Stettler group wants to convert grain elevator into museum
(Red Deer Advocate May 2010)
       News article: Train track wanted
(Red Deer Advocate May 2010)
       News article: Major funding will restore rail line to Donalda
(Stettler Independent Oct.2009)

Canadian Northern Railway in Central Alberta (CNR) - Camrose to Drumheller
Canadian Northern Western Railway Brazeau sub (CNR) - Mirror to Red Deer and Nordegg
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Central Alberta (CNR) - Mirror to Three Hills
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail in the C&E Corridor

Canadian National Railway Stations in Central Alberta

News article: Hanna society buys historic roundhouse (Drumheller Mail Dec.2013)
News article: Big plans for the Hanna roundhouse
(Drumheller Online Oct.2013)

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