CPR 2816 crosses Waskasoo Creek
Springbrook Waskasoo Life header
Springbrook Alberta, Red Deer Regional Airport, Waskasoo Watershed, Gasoline Alley
Home Coming Events Directory Maps History Site Map
CFB Penhold
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
Calgary-Edmonton Corridor Trails
Red Deer Crossing &
the Historic Calgary-Edmonton Trail
The Railways of
Springbrook Waskasoo
Calgary & Edmonton Railway
Alberta Central Railway

Railways of  the Springbrook Waskasoo Area

When the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Calgary in 1883, the Calgary and Edmonton Trail gained major significance as the north-south route from Calgary to Edmonton and it wasn't long before the value of a railway joining Alberta's two major population centers became obvious.
In 1890, the first half of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway was built. It was leased and later sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The route followed the general C & E Trail corridor but the railway decided on its own route to reduce the grade of the railway or to accommodate preferred locations for communities.
CPR 2816 crosses Waskasoo Creek 2008Around Springbook, the railway was built a couple of miles east of the C & E Trail crossing Waskasoo Creek several times before reaching the new townsite of Red Deer, about 7 km east of the settlement at Red Deer Crossing (where Fort Normandeau now stands). Rev. Leonard Gaetz, who owned a considerable amount of land where central Red Deer now exists, had partnered with the new railway to build the railway on his land, much to the chagrin of the settlers at the Crossing. During that winter, a bridge was built crossing the Red Deer River and the line continued to Edmonton the following year. That bridge is now part of the Waskasoo Park trail system.
Regular passenger service started in 1891 between Calgary and Edmonton, continuing for the next 94 years. Red Deer became a booming community in the early part of the twentieth century, mostly as a result of several railways being built during the first 15 years of the 1900s.
In 1901, the Alberta Central Railway was chartered with Red Deer as its headquarters. It was to have run southeast to Pine Lake, then northeast to the Delburne area, and then to connect with the main CP line somewhere farther east, preferably at Moose Jaw. To the west, it was to go to the Brazeau coal fields near Nordegg and there were dreams of it extending through Howse or Yellowhead Pass to the west coast.
Alberta Central Railway steel trestle across Red Deer RiverIn 1910, Sir Wilfrid Laurier came to Red Deer to drive the 'first spike' but construction didn't start until 1911. The station was located near the present Mountview Fire Hall. The line went west from there across Kin Canyon on a wooden trestle and crossed the Canadian Pacific and Waskasoo Creek at a point where today a lonely bridge support stands along Taylor Drive near what was called Forth junction. It headed west through what is now Westpark, then southwest crossing the Red Deer River just north-east of Springbrook where a steel trestle, one of the longest in Alberta, was built at Mintlaw.
Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt and was leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway which built the line through Sylvan Lake in 1912 and as far as Rocky Mountain House by 1914, but no further. A competing line, the Canadian Northern Western Railway, had reached Rocky first. There were apparently fights that occurred between the construction crews along the way with the two rail lines parallel with each other in many places. The eastward right of way was levelled to north of Pine Lake but tracks were never laid.
Meanwhile, Red Deer had become a divisional point of the CPR in 1908 with several upgrades to the rail yards, thus securing the community as the transportation, distribution and service centre of Central Alberta.
A spur line was constructed in the 1940s into what became CFB Penhold (later Springbrook) from the main CPR Calgary-Edmonton line. There is little information about the spur or when it was removed, but it likely brought in coal for the steam plant at the base and possibly other supplies. The spur was likely removed in the 1950s but the old right of way can still be seen in aerial photographs. Personnel that arrived by train for military training used either the Penhold or Red Deer stations.
 Forth Junction 1955
As the City of Red Deer expanded westward and Highway 2 was being constructed in the early 1960s, the CPR junction with the ACR was moved from Forth to a few miles south at Tuttle siding, north of McKenzie Road. The ACR line was abandoned and the rails were torn up in 1983. Much of the right of way is still intact.
The busy Red Deer downtown CPR yards were relocated to the northwest of the city in 1989. Today, the Canadian Pacific line that runs past Springbrook is the primary north-south freight rail corridor in Alberta and the line sees between 12 and 15 trains per day.


For more on Central Alberta railways, visit www.ForthJunction.ca


bold vision
a visitor destination with
4 unique attractions
featuring a ground transportation theme


Forth Junction Heritage Society
within a proposed family trail, rail and transit activity and heritage park
Forth Junction Project



CARTS logo
Central Alberta
Regional Trails Society



Every business needs a
presence online . . .


 Central Alberta Websites logo

Central Alberta Websites
website publishing & development

Publisher of

Springbrook Waskasoo Life logo
and RedDeerRegion.com

9-pointed star

The Baha'i Communities of Red Deer and Central Alberta


Overview  |  Coming Events  |  Directory  |  Maps  |  History  |  Site Map
CFB Penhold  |  B.C.A.T.P.  |  Andrew Mynarski  |  Trails  |  C & E Trail  |  Rail History  |  C & E Railway  |  Alberta Central Railway  |  The Future