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  Mintlaw trestle deck 1985

Forth Junction Project
Ranking of Significant Alberta bridges
relative to ACR Mintlaw steel trestle

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

Alberta's largest railway bridges
existing today relative to the ACR Mintlaw steel trestle located near Red Deer updated November 2014

Lethbridge CPR steel trestle viaduct1. Lethbridge Viaduct

- longest and highest railway bridge in North America (known locally as the High Level Bridge - not to be confused with the High Level Bridge in Edmonton (see below)); longest and highest steel rail trestle in the world; CPR steel trestle 5,331 ft. (1,624 m) long; 314' (95.7 m) high; built 1908-09 over Oldman River on Crowsnest Pass line at cost of $1.3 million using travelling crane built on site; relocated route replaced several wooden trestles including one that was 2,933 ft. (894 m) long, reduced grade and was over 5 miles shorter than original route (built 1898); 33-tower bridge consists of 44-67' spans, 22-99' spans and 1-107' truss span; still in use - approx. 12 trains per day

Fabyan CNR steel trestle2. Fabyan Viaduct near Wainwright

- 2nd longest steel trestle in Canada CNR 2,775 ft. (846 m) long; 195' (59 m) tall; built 1907-08 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; originally about 130' longer but earth filled on one end to reduce length; 26 steel towers; first train 1909; rest area nearby; scene of derailment in January 2012; still in use by CN as part of east-west main line

3. Wapiti River near Grande Prairie
- approx. 2,800 ft. long steel bridge; 190 ft. high; built 1968 by Alberta Resources Railway; opened 1969; taken over by CNR 1994

High Level Bridge Edmonton4. High Level Bridge Edmonton
- CPR steel truss (with trestle component) bridge 2,550 ft. (777 m) long; 157 ft. (48 m) tall; built 1911-1913 over North Saskatchewan River; 28 spans - 3-288' Pratt trusses, 7-96' Pratt trusses, 6-47' long steel trestle towers, 2-130' Warren trusses, 4 central concrete piers set in river bed; upper level used for trains between 1913 and 1989 as well as trams (streetcars) between 1913 and 1951; lower level used for vehicle and pedestrian traffic that continues today; tram runs periodically during summer on upper level since 1997 by Edmonton Radial Railway Society; Great Divide Waterfall 1980; bridge now owned by Province of Alberta; Municipal Historic Resource
Rochfort Bridge near Mayerthorpe
5. Rochfort Trestle near Mayerthorpe

- longest wood trestle in North America CNR 2,414 ft. (736 m) long, 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall; built 1914 over Paddle River; two short portions replaced by steel; still in use periodically by CN
Mintlaw ACR/CPR steel trestle 1912 

6. Mintlaw Viaduct south of Red Deer

- longest bridge in Central Alberta; 2nd longest CPR steel trestle in Alberta 2,112 ft. (644 m) long; 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall; length includes 2 truss spans over river with wood trestle abutments on each end; bridge includes 15-75' spans, 15-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911-12 over Red Deer River by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; last train 1981, abandoned 1983; purchased by Red Deer County 2009 for $1
as a heritage site, important landmark and part of possible future recreational trail; 3rd longest steel railway trestle in Alberta; 3rd longest CPR bridge in Alberta

Powerpoint Slide Show: History of the ACR & Mintlaw Trestle and Future Trails
(presented at FJHS AGM Oct. 2012)
more about the Mintlaw Bridge and Alberta Central Railway
find us on facebook  Friends of the Mintlaw Trestle Facebook Group

7. Meikle River Bridge
- 2,000 ft. long steel trestle by the Great Slave Lake Railway, operated and now owned by Canadian National Railways, built 1963 90 miles north of Peace River. Line sold to RailLink in 1998 and bought back in 2006.

8. Monarch Trestle

- over Oldman River, 1,890 ft. (576 m) long; 150 ft. (45.7 m) high; west of Monarch on Crow's Nest line built 1908-09 (same line as Lethbridge Viaduct)

9. Peace River Rail Bridge
- over Peace River at town of Peace River, 1,736 ft. (529 m); built 1918 by Central Canada Railway (later part of Northern Alberta Railways); 11 spans - 2-70' deck plate girders, 2-80' deck plate girders; 6-200' deck trusses, 1-200' through truss; still in use by CNR

10. Clover Bar/Beverly Rail Bridge
- (depending on side of river, referred to as the Beverly Bridge before Beverly traffic bridge opened in 1953) over North Saskatchewan River at east Edmonton, 1,655 ft. (504 m) long, 138 ft. (42 m) high; built 1907-08 iron and concrete truss by Grand Trunk Pacific; still in use by CNR as part of east-west main line.

Other Alberta railway bridges of note:

Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre
1. Beaver River Bridge near Grand Centre

- combination timber trestle, truss and girder 1,485 ft. long; 195 ft. tall, built around 1950 by Canadian National Railways, abandoned 1999. Now part of the Iron Horse Trail section of the Trans Canada Trail

2. Entwistle Bridge west of Edmonton

- sometimes referred to as the Pembina River Viaduct, it is the 2nd highest railway bridge on the prairies, CNR steel trestle 910 ft. (280 m) long; 214' (65 m) tall; built 1908-10 over Pembina River by Grand Trunk Pacific; still in use - approx. 20 trains per day

3. Ardley Bridge north of Delburne
- CNR wood and steel trestle originally 1,500 ft. long; 158' tall; built as wood trestle 1911 by Grand Trunk Pacific over Red Deer River; washed out a couple of years later and centre portion replaced with 2 steel towers and 3 steel spans; washed out again in 1952; replaced with 6 steel towers and 3 steel truss spans with wood trestle on each end and reopened 1955; with fill at each end, current length closer to 1,200 ft.; still in use daily by CNR

North Saskatchewan River Bridge at Rocky Mountain House
4. North Saskatchewan River
     Bridge Rocky Mountain House
- 720' long; combination trestle, truss and girder with concrete piers including 3-75' spans, 3-45' spans and 2-150' truss spans; built 1911 by Alberta Central Railway/CPR; leased to Canadian Northern Western Railway/CNR; opened 1914; still in use by CNR
CNR Blindman River bridge at Burbank
5. Burbank Bridge near Blackfalds
- originally a wood trestle north of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway over Blindman River 1910; replaced by steel truss bridge with wooden trestle ends; original length unknown; with considerable fill, current length around 620 ft.; still in use by CNR

old CPR river bridge at Red Deer
6. CPR Bridge at Red Deer
- two 150' steel truss spans and 150' wooden trestle across Red Deer River built in 1908 to replace the 3-span wooden truss bridge that had been built in 1891; abandoned with rail relocation in 1991; preserved as part of walking and bicycle trail and designated as both a municipal and provincial historic resource; currently in use as part of Trans Canada Trail
CNR wood trestle at Briggs ravine
7. Briggs Bridge near Red Deer
- wood trestle northwest of Red Deer built by Canadian Northern Western Railway 1910; about 820 ft., still in use by CNR

8. East Coulee Coal Bridge
- CPR timber Howe truss combination rail and road bridge over Red Deer River; originally built in 1936; damaged by ice, flood and intentional blast in 1948 and rebuilt; abandoned and in poor condition

9. Prairie Creek (Maskuta) Bridge near Hinton
- 802' long and 98' high steel trestle built by Grand Trunk Pacific 1911, 6 towers of 50' long girder sections connected by 7-70' girder sections, abandoned 1916 with rail used for war effort and traffic using parallel Canadian Northern, rehabilitated 1927 after taken over by CNR; still in use by Canadian National main line to west coast and Via Rail.

10. Low Level Bridge Edmonton
- 699' long Canadian Northern 3-span truss bridge built 1900; rails added in 1902 and removed 1948; twinned and continues to be used for vehicle traffic

11. Heart River Bridge Peace River
- active 590' CNR (formerly Northern Alberta Railways) steel trestle, 146' high. 11 short (45') plate girder spans and 115' deck truss, built 1916 by Central Canada Raiilway.

Significant Central Alberta railway bridges no longer in existence:

1. Duhamel Trestle south of Camrose

Duhamel GTP wood trestle circa 1912- wooden trestle 3,972 ft. (1,210 metres) long; 120 ft. (32 metres) tall; one of the longest and highest wooden trestles ever built in the world; 20 km SW of Camrose; built 1910 over Battle River by Grand Trunk Pacific; dismantled 1924; river crossing shifted to Canadian Northern (Canadian National) line further east with new connection built on south side of Battle River

2. Horse Guard River Bridge near Eckville

Horseguard ACR wood trestle 1911
- wooden trestle 1,280 ft. long; 80 timber spans ave. 15' plus 80' steel girder; west of Medicine River crossing; built by Alberta Central Railway around 1911, timber trestle later earth-filled; last train 1980, abandoned 1983; little evidence left of bridge (an oddity about the bridge name is that there is no Horse Guard River and Horse Guard Creek is several miles to the west.)

3. Trochu Trestle
- wooden trestle about 500 ft. long and 60 ft. high over coulee south of Trochu; built 1911; filled in with dirt 1932; on active CN (former GTP) Edmonton-Calgary line


Bridges, Structures, Heritage
Rail Structures of Region
Central Alberta Rail Bridges

Mintlaw Trestle
Alberta's Railway Bridges
Western Canada Rail Bridges


The Railways of Central Alberta
Calgary & Edmonton Railway
C & E Railway at Red Deer
Alberta Central Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
Canadian Northern Western RR
Canadian National Railway in RD
Grand Trunk Pacific Central Alberta
Lacombe & Blindman Valley RR
Timetable Excerpts
Railway Stations of the Region
C & ER Combination Stations
Portable Stations
Red Deer CPR 1910 Station
Role of Railway Stations
Red Deer's 4 Stations
CPR Stations in Central Alberta
CNR Stations in Central Alberta
Multiple Station Communities
Station Plans

Trails, Transit, Trains
Trails and Trains Overview
Trains and Transit Overview

Milestones 1910-13
Calgary Edmonton Trail
Transit in Central Alberta
Red Deer Transit

Jubilee 3001 Chinook
Locomotives Central Alberta
Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail


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