Prairie Steam Tours engine granted provincial designation by Alberta heritage foundation

  • Aug. 5, 2009 11:00 a.m.
The largest in Canada – This steam engine is the largest operational locomotive in the country and it has been declared the property of the people of  Alberta.

The largest in Canada – This steam engine is the largest operational locomotive in the country and it has been declared the property of the people of Alberta.

Mustafa Eric

Independent editor

Government of Alberta has designated, for the first time in history, a train engine rather than a building or a site as “provincial historic resource”.

The engine, which received the designation on Monday, Aug. 3 is none other than “6060”, one of the engines that pull the trains of the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours.

At a ceremony at the Big Valley train station, Ophelia Lu, representative of Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, officially declared the 6060 as the property of people of the province and a historic resource.

The largest functioning steam engine in Canada, 6060 is maintained by the Rocky Mountain Rail Society, the custodian organization, and it is used, from time to time, by the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours.

The President of the Rock Mountain Rail Society, Bill Williams, thanked the Alberta Paririe Steam Tours for their assistance in maintaining the engine.

“Without using the workshop and the tools of the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours, it would have been very difficult to keep 6060 in operation,” said Williams.

The engine, which is known as the “Spirit of Alberta”, is a Mountain class steam locomotive, which was previously used by Canadian National Railways.

Weighing 316 tons, it was built in 1944 by the Montreal Locomotive Works.

An information note on the engine said;

“Teams of dedicated volunteers devote countless hours annually to ensure that she is always ready to run. With the cooperation of Alberta Prairie Steam Tours, the 6060 is able to display her power by working as the locomotive on a number of passenger excursions in the east central Alberta area each summer.”

During Monday’s ceremony, Bob Leinweber, a retired school teacher from Calgary, who volunteered more than 1000 hours to keep the 6060 working was also recognized with a plaque.