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Benalto train station to return
home after 42-year absence
 
reprinted from Sylvan Lake News (Stuart Fullarton) February 21, 2013

Benalto station park conceptAfter more than four decades of absence, the historic Benalto Train Station is set to make a return to the hamlet this spring.

The train station was transformed into a private residence after being removed from Benalto in 1971, and is currently situated in Red Deer County. Its owners, Garett and Brenda Cupples, are now donating it back to Benalto, just in time for the hamlet's centennial celebrations next year.

"We couldn't destroy or demolish it," said the Cupples in a press release. "As an historic building, we are very pleased that it is going back to its roots."

Benalto Centennial Committee chair Dave More admitted to being astounded when he heard that the Cupples were offering the train station back to Benalto, and immediately got to work to find a place to put it.

When he approached landowners Bill and Dale Speight to discuss the possibility of purchasing a green space in the heart of Benalto, the Speights rejected the offer of money for the land, and instead offered the land as a donation.

"Really, it's quite astonishing," said More. "How often do you ever hear of a piece of your history coming back? The generosity is just incredible."

The land on which the train station will sit will be renamed Centennial Station Park, and will act as a gathering area for the community.

More and his wife Yvette Brideau, along with several other volunteers from the Centennial Committee and the Benalto Booster Club, are now working to raise money to fund the transportation of the train station from its current location back to Benalto.

Doing so will cost approximately $40,000, and the Centennial Committee is actively seeking donations from people and businesses in Benalto and beyond to help cover that cost.

"(The train station) is a sentinel of history and memories and communication and education for everybody, but we have to get it here," said Brideau. "It was offered to us as an incredibly gracious and generous gesture, and we're trying to do something about it.

"There's nothing to lose by asking for donations and help to make this a reality. There's everything to lose if we don't."

Donations have so far been received from several businesses as well and current and former residents of Benalto. The full amount required must be raised within the next several weeks in order for the move to take place.

"It's such a feel-good project, and I think a lot of people would like to be associated with it," said More. "We couldn't have dreamed of this in a million years."

The train station's move has been scheduled for March 25 to 29.

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

More information can be obtained by contacting fundraising chair Lynne Lawrence at 403-746-5746.


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: Riders welcome train station home to Benalto
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2013)
       News article: Benalto station move delayed (Red Deer Advocate Mar.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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