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Forth Junction Project
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Forth Junction Heritage Society

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

Railway dream shifts to county
Forth Junction targets county

Heritage society envisions rural locale to showcase past and future glories of railway and ground transportation

2-page feature article reprinted from Mountain View Gazette (Johnnie Bachusky) December 27, 2011

Forth Junction founder Paul Pettypiece - Bachusky photo Mountain View Gazette
Pettypiece says a letter has been delivered to Red Deer County asking for its support to obtain funding from the provincial government to conduct a feasibility study.

Photo by Johnnie Bachusky,
Mountain View Gazette

Forth Junction potential site map

Forth Junction potential sites


Impatient with the City of Red Deer's timelines to redevelop its Riverlands District, the Forth Junction Heritage Society is now targeting up to nine sites in Red Deer County for the main location of its ambitious dream to transform the region into a world-class heritage tourism destination point.

The plan now is to secure a site of at least 40 acres within 20 kilometres of the City of Red Deer and the CPR main line, the latter being essential to the railway and ground transportation themes of its proposed tourism park.

The park concept includes two components - the first being a Western Canada Transpo Centre with a "grand" central gathering place, a multi-level retail centre, a tower and restaurant up to 10 storeys high, amusement park, heritage plaza and a historical model rail museum.

The second part of the concept is a Railway Station and Transit Heritage Resort, which could include a Railway Station Village, a replica of the Jubilee 3001 "Chinook" steam locomotive, Retro Bus Depot, nature park and observation tower. The goal behind the Railway Station Village is to have full-scale replicas of pioneer stations representing 25 Central Alberta communities.

The initial plan was for the Transpo Centre to be located in Red Deer's downtown area Riverlands District while the resort would be in the county.

"Now that the Riverlands is not available we're thinking of combining the two," said society founder Paul Pettypiece.

"We have semi-abandoned the (Riverlands) idea," added Pettypiece, noting the city's immediate priorities with the Riverlands District are infrastructure redevelopment and planning. "The city was not willing to commit themselves to anything for seven years."

Having the entire project close to the railway in the county would enable the society and its project to establish marketing links with rural communities along Central Alberta's railway corridor, especially those with ongoing railway heritage tourism amenities, including Innisfail with its historical village and Didsbury with its preserved pioneer train station and model railway club.

"We haven't contacted all the people (landowners) yet," said Pettypiece of the new nine proposed sites in the county. He said the preferred sites are near Penhold and Springbrook. "None are specific. We are still in the preliminary stages. I don't want to get specific until I get more of a relationship with the county."

Pettypiece admits his group's dream of seeing the project at full build-out is at least 20 to 25 years away. However, he said it is possible that within three years a site can finally be secured featuring at least a few attractions.

But first the society, now composed of about 30 members, is focusing on getting letters of support from both the city and the county to secure a $40,000 provincial grant to conduct a feasibility study. The society has already received a letter of support from Tourism Red Deer.

Pettypiece said he has talked to some county officials but they were waiting for a letter, which was delivered Dec. 19.

"Everybody I talk to really likes the idea and concept and hope we proceed, but nobody is willing to commit funds," said Pettypiece, adding his group has had preliminary discussions with some corporations and Canadian Pacific. "They liked the idea but they are not committing until it is certain it is going ahead."

Meanwhile, Tyler Harke, the county's economic development coordinator, said he has had preliminary discussions with Pettypiece but it would be premature to comment on the project without having received something in writing from the society.

"It is nice to see some people come forward with new ideas," said Harke. "The process would be for the group to come up with something in writing and it would be presented to council."

In the meantime, the society has been granted charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency. This permits the society to issue tax-deductible receipts. However, the society is limited to activities that educate and preserve the evolution of trails, trains and transit in Central Alberta. As well, Forth Junction has plans to establish itself as a not-for-profit corporation.

For more information on Forth Junction visit its website at

News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society (more below):
       News article: World-class destination centre still in the works (Innisfail Province Nov.2013)
       Editorial: Praise today's big dream
(Innisfail Province Jan.2012)
       Editorial: Railway concept captures region's uniqueness (Olds Albertan Jan.2012)
       News article: Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2011)

News articles related to ACR/CPR Mintlaw bridge mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       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: 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 related to regional model and miniature railways mentioning the Forth Junction Project:

       News article: Trains still roll for some
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2012)

News articles related to historic downtown Red Deer redevelopment mentioning the Forth Junction Project
(the original vision of the Forth Junction Heritage Society included an attraction in the new downtown
Riverlands but this vision was modified to have one destination close to the city and active rail line):

       News article: Railyards: Open house on a 20-year plan for downtown
(Red Deer Advocate June 2011)
       News article: Riverlands: Strong turnout for open house
(Red Deer Advocate March 2011)
       Commentary: Red Deer could use more bold visionary landmark designers
(Red Deer Express Sep.2010)

Michael Dawe articles related to regional railway heritage mentioning the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
       Region celebrating century of railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)
       Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad heritage (Red Deer Express March 2010)


 News articles about the Forth Junction Heritage Society:
World-class destination centre still in the works 11/13       Praise today's big dream 01/12       Forth Junction targets county 12/11 
Forth Junction pulling toward a new station
12/11        A volunteer on the right track 12/10        Tourism board supports rail project 10/10
Forth Junction rail project seeking charitable status
10/10        Rail tourist attraction idea gets rolling 07/10        Railway heritage 06/10
New idea for Riverlands worth an Olympic cheer 02/10       Happy to hear more talk on large-scale attractions 02/10
One-time opportunity 02/10       Tourism proposal facing obstacles 02/10       World-class attraction proposed for Riverlands 02/10

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