A concept proposal for station replications
A Study in Railway
in Central Alberta
The replication of several regional railway
stations forms a unique part of the concept plan for a community
heritage rail park in the Red Deer area.
Although many railway stations have been
preserved and a handful have been replicated across Western Canada,
there is nowhere in North America that several railway stations have
been replicated on one site to demonstrate the variations in
architecture. The railway station was once the dominant structure in
communities, large and small, as the community hub and gateway to
the outside world. Other railway structures including grain
elevators also dominated the skylines of hundreds of communities.
The proposed rail park will feature stations that serve as historic representations of the variety that once
existed in Central Alberta (25 styles have been identified). These
replications will be built to current standards but will maintain their
visual architectural identity and will house a number of interpretive centres focusing on the railways that built the region.
will also feature a variety of gardens including a railway
station park similar to one that was once located in downtown Red Deer and
several stations across Western Canada.
Several representative stations will include educational exhibits
and programs and may have some specialty uses such as meeting and
activity rooms, work shops, a gift shop, refreshments,
administration and community facilities.
Plan for Central Alberta Station Replications
(subject to change)
Phase 1: C&E 1891
Combination Station & Freight House (Red Deer/generic)
for temporary C&E Railway Museum
later for gift shop, refreshments
Phase 2: C&E 1891 Combination Station & Freight House (Innisfail
late 1890s) for research, archives, meeting room
later for relocated C&E Railway Museum
CPR 1904 Early Standard #2 Station (Penhold 1940s or
1968) for historical miniature railway exhibits
Canadian Northern 1913 3rd Class Station (Sylvan Lake
1950s) temporary family activity centre
later for Canadian Northern Western Railway Interpretive
Phase 3: CPR 1924 Standard #14A (Sylvan Lake) for
historical miniature railway exhibits
CPR Freight House (repurposed from original station)
1911 (Red Deer) for historical miniature railway
Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 Type E Station (Elnora or
Ardley) for Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Interpretive
CPR 1910 Standard #5 Station (Alix) for Canadian Pacific
in Central Alberta Interpretive Centre
Grand Trunk Pacific 1911 modified E Station (Mirror) for
family activity centre, refreshments
Canadian National 1923 unique modified Class 3 Station
(Red Deer 1954) for administration, archives, events
CPR 1920 Standard A3 Station (Rocky Mountain House) for
Fossil Fuels Transportation Interpretive Centre
CPR 1912 Standard A2 Western Station (Nevis) for
Grain/Agriculture Transportation Interpretive Centre
CPR 1910 original Red Deer 'Chateau-style' Brick Station
for Passenger Rail Interpretive Centre, visitor centre
Stations of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway
A replication of the
original 1891 Red Deer CPR wood combination station and freight house
is expected to be the first to be built in order to house our
collection of CPR artifacts gifted to the society by the Junior
League of Edmonton. Ten of these virtually identical stations were
built during the summer of 1891 at approximately 18 mile intervals
between Calgary and Edmonton (Airdrie, Carstairs, Olds, Innisfail,
Red Deer, Lacombe, Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Leduc, Strathcona). A handful
of similar stations were also built south of Calgary.
Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum
Most of these stations were replaced by larger and newer structures
but some remained in service until the 1960s. Several were modified
as needs and functions evolved with relocated windows, doors,
chimneys. Some had additions for freight, express and living
quarters. None have been preserved.
It is anticipated that the Innisfail version that had been modified
by the end of the 1890s will be replicated for use as a C&E Railway
research and archive facility as well as a meeting room.
When the Red Deer station was replaced in 1910, it was relocated,
expanded and used as a freight house. A replication of this
structure could house a portion of a historical miniature world
model rail exhibit as well as function as a workshop for additional
miniature world exhibits.
Stations of the Canadian Pacific Railway
along the C&E
The Calgary & Edmonton Railway was operated by the
Canadian Pacific Railway and was eventually absorbed into the CPR
system. It was one of the most profitable railways in Canada. The
CPR replaced several of the C&E combination stations with larger
structures, most notably at Red Deer, Strathcona, Lacombe and
The CPR also added intermediate stations along the
Calgary-Edmonton. Early standard #2 stations were built at Penhold,
Bowden, Blackfalds and Crossfield in 1904. The Bowden station has been
preserved at the Innisfail Historical Village and a later Std. #2
station was replicated at Penhold for commercial use. The Crossfield
station was destroyed by fire in 1933 and replaced with a standard
It is anticipated that the Penhold version will be replicated in the
rail park for a historical miniature world model rail exhibit.
An unusual 'Pratt' station was built at Didsbury in 1904. It has been
donated to the town, preserved and designated a historic resource. A
standard #5 station was built at Millet in 1907.
The stations at Red Deer and Strathcona were replaced with grand
'chateau-style' stations in 1908 and 1910 respectively. Similar
stations were also built at Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Saskatoon.
All 5 have been preserved and are designated historic resources. It
is anticipated that eventually, the original version of the Red Deer
station will be replicated as a visitor centre.
The Wetaskiwin and Lacombe stations were replaced by unusual
woodframe specialty stations in 1907 and 1911 respectively. The old
C&E stations were relocated and used as freight houses. The 'new'
Wetaskiwin station still stands empty and the 'new' Lacombe station was
demolished but was replicated for commercial use. The Leduc
combination station was replaced by a standard A2 Western station in
1914 and has since been demolished.
CPR Branchline Stations east of the C&E
Part of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway charter was the addition of
branchlines east of Lacombe and Wetaskiwin, each of which extended
Many stations were erected including standard #10 stations at Stettler
in 1905 and Camrose in 1907 and the smaller version #5 station at
Alix (similar to Millet) in 1910. It is anticipated that eventually
the Alix version will be replicated in the railpark.
Standard A2 Western stations similar to the
one built in Leduc were constructed at Clive, Nevis and Erskine
between 1910 and 1912. This style of station was also built at
Consort and Bittern Lake in 1911 and one was relocated to Castor in
1937. A Branchline Depot was built at Coronation. The Nevis station may be one of the stations
erected in the rail park.
CPR Stations of the Alberta Central
The Alberta Central Railway had great aspirations of being a
semi-continental railway stretching from Vancouver to Churchill,
Manitoba with its headquarters in Red Deer. The railway built two
significant bridges, one southwest of Red Deer at Mintlaw and the
other at Rocky Mountain House as well as a station and yard in the
Mountview area of Red Deer. The station was never used for its
intended purpose but has survived as a residence.
The railway went bankrupt and was taken over by the Canadian Pacific
Railway. The CPR was only interested in the portion between Red Deer
and Rocky Mountain House. The link between the two rail lines was at
Forth Junction near the present-day intersection of Taylor Drive and
A number of temporary portable stations were erected at several
communities along the line. The CPR built standard #A3 station at
Rocky Mountain House (Lochearn) in 1920 and standard #14A stations at
Sylvan Lake in 1924 and Benalto in 1928. The society intends to replicate both
the Rocky and Sylvan Lake stations. The Benalto station has been preserved close to its
original location after having been relocated several times.
Stations of the Canadian Northern Western Railway and CNR
A subsidiary of the Canadian Northern Railway, the Canadian Northern
Western Railway was a line built from Stettler to Nordegg between
1911 and 1912. The section from Stettler to Alix and the section
from Rocky Mountain House to Nordegg have been abandoned. The
remainder currently forms the Brazeau subdivision of the Canadian
Canadian Northern third class plan 29 stations were built at Nevis, Alix, Haynes,
Prentiss, Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Elspeth and Leslieville in 1912-13.
A third class plan 75 station was built at Nordegg in 1914. Several
other stations of this class were built throughout Central Alberta.
anticipated that the Sylvan Lake station will be replicated in the
proposed rail park.
Small freight and passenger shelters were built at Joffre, Burbank
CNR special station was built at Red Deer in 1923 where the
present-day Co-op Shopping Centre downtown is located. It was
originally connected to the Canadian Northern Western Railway (CNR) over a bridge across
the Red Deer River but after several washouts was connected via the
CPR line to North Junction. The station was closed and demolished in
1960 and a new station and yard built on the north side of the
It is anticipated that this station will be replicated in the rail
park for administration and special events.
Stations of the
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built their Edmonton to Calgary line in
1911-12 through Camrose, Mirror and Three Hills. A special 'E'
station was built at Mirror. Regular Type E stations were built at
Bashaw, Alix, Ardley, Delburne, Elnora, Huxley, Trochu and Three
Hills. The Delburne station has been moved and restored to become
the Anthony Henday Museum. The Ardley station has been used as a
farm building since 1967. The Three Hills station was replaced by a
Type F station in 1919.
It is intended that this style will be represented in the rail park
by the Elnora station.
in Central Alberta
The Canadian Northern Railway built their Edmonton to Calgary line
through Camrose, Stettler and Big Valley in 1911. Large 2nd class
stations were built at Stettler and Big Valley and both have been
preserved. Much of the line was purchased and operated by the
Central Western Railway in 1986. Alberta Prairie Railway has
operated a tourist train since 1998 between Stettler and Big Valley.
3rd class stations have been preserved at Camrose, Meeting Creek and
The Lacombe and Blindman Valley Electric Railway, later renamed the
Lacombe and Northwestern Railway, was eventually purchased by
Canadian Pacific. A small station was built at Gull Lake/Aspen
Beach in 1917 and has survived. A standard #14 station similar to
Sylvan Lake and Benalto was built at Bentley in 1929. A similar
station was built at Torrington on the Acme subdivision in 1930.
A segment of the Forth Junction Project ultimate vision is a
semi-commercial railway station resort with additional station
replications for accommodation that would be operated by a private
Station graphic renderings by Paul Pettypiece, Photos courtesy of
Red Deer Archives