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CP's heritage train rolls through region:
ticket sales go to Children's Wish Foundation
reprinted from Mountain View Gazette (Johnnie Bachusky) August 2, 2011

Railway enthusiasts should be feeling a boost this week as Canadian Pacific's Heritage Train was scheduled to roll through the region as part of the second annual drive to support the Children's Wish Foundation (CWF).

The original plan for CP Train Ride 2011 was to have the historic 2816 Empress steam engine stop in Didsbury on July 29 but due to "unforeseen circumstances" that plan was abandoned. However, CP was slated to send its valued pioneer fleet of vintage coach cars and a heritage diesel engine through Didsbury on Friday morning. After the local stop the heritage train's next scheduled stop was Red Deer.

CP Train Ride 2011 is swinging through Alberta from July 29 to Aug. 5. Along with the July 29 stop in Didsbury it will also stop in the town on Aug. 5.

In both 2010 and 2011 CP sold the public train tickets as a way to give people a unique rail experience, and more importantly, to raise money for CWF. All proceeds from ticket sales went to CWF. The funds further allow the organization to help children with life-threatening illnesses to have the opportunity to receive their ultimate wish. Last year, $50,000 was raised through ticket sales.

Meanwhile, railway historians were not only excited at having the opportunity to see a heritage train roll through the region but noted the event also gave a boost to local and regional efforts to raise public awareness of the importance of the railroad to the area.

Dean Jorden, curator of the Innisfail & District Historical Village, said part of his organization's mandate is to educate the public about the crucial role the railroad played in developing the region. He noted that in 1974 the village acquired the Bowden CP train station after it had been decommissioned in 1968. The Innisfail CP station, once located near Discovery Wildlife Park, was decommissioned in 1961 and demolished shortly after.

As well the village has acquired over the years an impressive collection of CP artifacts. It also showcases the glorious history of the railroad in Innisfail and the region through expertly crafted miniature train models that are on display in the renovated Bowden station. As well, the village has created several storyboards detailing the history and economic evolution of the railway in the town and surrounding region.

"Innisfail wasn't a railway town at first," said Jorden, noting the railway first came through town in 1892. "When people were using the Calgary-Edmonton Stage Coach Trail they were recognizing the importance of agriculture. When the railway came it mushroomed. The railway then brought machinery and more people."

In every small town in the region grain became king and the railway played a key role in its transportation and economic importance, stopping at the pioneer wooden elevators in Innisfail, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and several other points.

The visit by Canadian Pacific's Heritage Train further boosts the village's desire to jump on board Paul Pettypiece's Forth Junction Project ( for Red Deer and Central Alberta. The project's goal is to establish the region as a world-class heritage destination celebrating the past, present and future of rails, trains and transit.

"We want to plug into that vision," said Jorden. "What we are doing (railway history) is important to Innisfail and to the growth it has had."

For more information on CP Train Ride 2011 visit

News articles related to Calgary & Edmonton Railway / Canadian Pacific in Central Alberta:
       News article: Reflections of Ponoka: A road and a rail station is where it all began
(Ponoka News Feb.2014)
       News article: Penhold man remembers day of the train
(Innisfail Province Dec.2013)
       News article: Arches mark influence of railroad on city
(Red Deer Advocate Oct.2013)
       News article: Help add a little history to Arches project
(Red Deer Advocate Sep.2009)
       News article: A new face for the old station
(Red Deer Life July 1996)

Calgary and Edmonton Railway (CPR)
Calgary and Edmonton Railway at Red Deer (CPR)
Mackenzie and Mann influenced Central Alberta's first railway stations - C&ER Combination Stations
Red Deer once had four railway stations
Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in Central Alberta
Red Deer 1910 CPR station 'jewel' still dominates Ross Street

Michael Dawe articles related to Calgary & Edmonton Railway / CPR heritage:
       CPR Station Park once shining jewel of Red Deer (Red Deer Express June 2009)
Canadian Pacific Railway Bridge now 100 years old (Red Deer Advocate June 2009) 
       The history of Red Deer's CPR station
(Red Deer Express April 2007)
       Red Deer becomes a divisional point for CPR
(Red Deer Advocate Special March 2007)


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