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Forth Junction Project
A Vision for a World-Class Destination by
Thinking Big and Bold

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

Heritage Rail Park Concept

Railway Station Architecture

Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits

Ultimate Vision

A Bold Vision for an Educational Experiential Community Heritage Destination
the blend of a non-profit educational community heritage railpark operated by the Forth Junction Heritage Society and complementary commercial tourism facilities

Although a site has not yet been finalized, the Forth Junction Heritage Society has been developing a visionary concept plan over the past few years to enlighten the public and celebrate the impact of the evolution of ground transportation in the settlement, changes to the environment and economic development of Central Alberta in a fun, family-friendly, experiential and interactive way.

Special emphasis will be placed on the many railway lines that developed the region as well as transit and historic trails.

The mandate of the Forth Junction Heritage Society is to preserve, promote and share the transportation heritage of our community and region; and to pass that heritage to future generations in a sustainable and interactive way through education, advocacy and nurturing a passion for the continuous evolution of trail, rail and transit.

The first element of the plan is a non-profit family and community heritage park with a variety of experiential attractions, exhibits and features so that residents of the region will want to visit the park on multiple occasions and the park would evolve into a visitor destination developed by the society.

The second element (the ultimate vision) encourages commercial entities or a not-for-profit corporation to develop stand-alone complimentary commercial tourist facilities in the central portion of the parcel that would enhance and create a synergy with the rail park to eventually become a major tourist magnet.

The following proposed site plan has been designed for a 60-acre
parcel in Springbrook, a few kilometres south of Red Deer,
one of a handful of potential sites for the project.
A similar approach will be used at another potential site at Innisfail.

Non-profit educational community heritage rail park

Intermediate park expansion prior to commercial development

Ultimate vision with complementary commercial development

C & E combination station & freight house 1891 renderingOne of the features envisioned for the rail park (the first element to be developed by the society) is a series of interpretive centres that explore the evolution of the railways that played a critical role in the colonization and development of the region.

The featured railways include the Calgary & Edmonton Railway and its branchlines (later absorbed by the Canadian Pacific Railway), the Alberta Central Railway (also absorbed by the CPR), the Canadian Northern Western Railway (absorbed into the Canadian National Railways) and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (also absorbed into the CNR).

rail park landscapingThese interpretive centres would be housed in replicated railway stations that once existed in the area, an attraction unique in North America. In addition to housing exhibits and having a variety of other functions, the stations will provide a study in railway station architecture, structures that were once the focal point in communities large and small over the past 125 years or so.

The first of these replicated stations is anticipated to be the Calgary & Edmonton Railway combination station and freight house. None of the ten identical original stations of this type that were built between Alberta's two biggest cities in 1891 are still standing.

former C&E Railway Museum in south EdmontonRecently, the Forth Junction Heritage Society was gifted the artifacts and other items of the now-closed Calgary and Edmonton Railway Station Museum in south Edmonton by the Junior League of Edmonton. This collection will form the base of the first of these interpretive centres.

See: Plan for the Re-Creation of the C&ER Museum
Proposed interactive historical model rail museum
Other replicated stations would house historical miniature-world-style model railway exhibits showing the evolution of communities in the region as a result of railway decisions, technological advances and infrastructure. These exhibits would be represented in various scales over several time periods including the early 1890s of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway, the boom period around 1913, the late 1930s, the transition era around 1955, Canada's centennial year of 1967 and infrastructure and commodity transportation changes around 1985 prior to the relocation of the Red Deer rail yards and the end of passenger rail service in Central Alberta.

Other educational and experiential features may include a transportation centre that showcases various forms of heritage ground transportation including bus and transit service in the region, a children's pavilion and activity area, community and family activity area, a train viewing platform, rail collectors' exhibition area, miniature railway, ornamental gardens and natural areas, themed playgrounds, themed interpretive centres (such as agriculture and fossil fuel transportation), trailhead for existing trails connected to the park, benches, kiosks, snack bar, transportation library and research centre, cultural and event zone, several walking paths and eventually a loop of track for the operation of full-size railway equipment. More info at RailPark Concept.

Our approach to creating the overall vision of the park would be for the society to operate the educational aspects of the park around the outskirts of the parcel and encourage tourism developers and entrepreneurs to create complementary stand-alone features such as a railway station resort, a roundhouse-shaped conference centre, elevated restaurant, a more extensive miniature world pavilion, a transit centre and tour depot, cafe, boutiques, market and campground in the more central area of the parcel. More info at Ultimate Vision.

The intent of the Forth Junction Heritage Society in creating this vision is to advance the concept and co-ordinate development of the various proposed facilities.

It is expected that other entities will build and operate many of the proposed commercial or semi-commercial features of the overall vision. This could be done by the creation of a not-for-profit corporation, partnering with municipalities or corporations, or development by businesses and entrepreneurs as stand-alone tourism operations. The Society itself plans to develop and operate the educational and community aspects of the community heritage park including the various interpretive centres, exhibits, gardens and pathways.

The Society's primary mission is to preserve, promote and share the transportation heritage of our community and region; and to pass that heritage to future generations in a sustainable and interactive way through education, advocacy and nurturing a passion for the continuous evolution of trail, rail and transit.

The Society's primary objectives are to educate the public on the evolution of the railway, historic trails and transit in the settlement and development of Central Alberta specifically and Western Canada generally through workshops, displays, and interactive interpretation and to preserve the trail, rail and transit heritage of Central Alberta through the acquisition, preservation and restoration of railway and other ground transportation artifacts.

Site plan graphic renderings and photos by Paul Pettypiece

    Forth Junction Park Concept       Railway Station Architecture       Future Historical Miniature Rail Exhibits       Ultimate Vision

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