Train project on track

With a vision to preserve railway history in the area, East Central Alberta Heritage Society aims to restore a former line linking ...

With a vision to preserve railway history in the area, East Central Alberta Heritage Society aims to restore a former line linking Stettler with Red Willow and Donalda.

“We are about two-thirds of the way finished on Phase 1 from Stettler to Red Willow,” said Bob Willis, the volunteer administrator for the society.

The group was established in 1997 to restore the old line between Stettler and Donalda that was removed that year.

Each phase encompasses about 10 miles of rail, with the first phase fully paid in 2010 with federal funding of $2.8 million and $150,000 from the provincial government.

“Phase 1 of the project is fully funded,” Willis said.

Now, the society hopes a $2,500 donation from ATCO Electric last week will get the second phase on track and gain momentum with other financial support.

“We’re looking to use what money we have to get the best value we can,” said society president Norma Leslie.

All signs show some materials available to begin to extend north in the Red Willow-Donalda stage.

“We will likely not see massive federal funding again and from the provincial government,” Willis said.

While the project remains on track, the society was happy to see another component along the extended railway was finished.

“Part of that funding was designated to create linear parks,” Leslie said.

Complete with washrooms and picnic tables, linear parks are located in Edberg, Meeting Creek, Big Valley, Rumsey and Rowley.

“We consulted all owners of adjacent properties and we did not locate a park where there was objection,” Willis said.

As a result, Donalda doesn’t have a linear park.

“Now, we have to get the word out about these wonderful parks for people to visit,” Leslie said.

“In partnership with Buffalo Lake Naturalists Club, we also installed 500 bird houses in these parks.”

When the full link is completed, the rail will be ready to provide railway tours by Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions or another company, Willis said.

“It became a project as a way to add a heritage tourism component to the village of Donalda.”

That was just like it was years ago when the local tourism train operated in the area.

“Alberta Prairie did travel to Donalda and it was a big attraction,” Leslie said.

Then, the line was removed by Rail America, which owned the property and considered it uneconomical, she said.

Work on the current line has been methodical, as the society is required to ensure that wildlife habitat and vegetation are protected, which Willis and the society fully support as part of the federal funding.

 

Just Posted

Stettler woman facing 67 fraud-related charges appears with co-accused

Crown likely proceeding with more serious charge of indictable offence

Stettler court beat

Prisoners appear via CCTV from Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat and Red Deer Remand Centres

Stettler upgrading sound system at a community hall

Will improve the clarity and boom factor, says Coun. Wayne Smith

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Ponoka Traffic Unit investigate scooter incident

A motorcyclist appears to have lost control of her Suzuki scooter on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Stettler woman facing 67 fraud-related charges appears with co-accused

Crown likely proceeding with more serious charge of indictable offence

Wetaskiwin Co-op robbed of laser tool, propane torch

Wetaskiwin RCMP attempting to identify two individuals involved in numerous thefts

Judge OKs Weinstein suit, cites casting couch’s history

Actress Kadian Noble can sue disgraced Hollywood mogul for violating sex trafficking laws

Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.