The glory of passenger service;
the region prepares for war
By the time the Second World War had begun several
changes had occurred since 1911 including the incorporation of the
city of Red Deer in 1913 and the completion of the Alberta Central
Railway to Rocky Mountain House, the Canadian Northern Western
Railway to Nordegg and the Grand Trunk Pacific from Camrose to
1919, the Canadian Northern Western had been absorbed into the
newly-formed Canadian National Railways and in the following year,
CNR had built a bridge across the Red Deer River near the mouth of
Waskasoo Creek. A station was built near the southwest corner of
Ross Street and 47 Avenue (where the Co-op Shopping Centre currently
stands) as well as a freight shed and turntable. The bridge had
washed out a couple of times over the years during the spring ice
break-up and replaced.
1923, the former Grand Trunk Pacific line through Mirror, Alix,
Delburne and Three Hills had become the main CNR main north-south
corridor between Edmonton and Calgary effectively downgrading the
busy former Canadian Northern north-south line through Stettler, Big
Valley and Drumheller to branch line status.
CNR had been running passenger trains from the Red Deer station to
North Junction and then either west to Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Rocky
Mountain House and Nordegg or east to Mirror where it connected with
the CNR north-south line between Calgary and Edmonton.
Canadian Pacific had been running three passenger trains a day in
each direction between Calgary and Edmonton including an overnight
In 1936, the semi-streamlined Jubilee 3001 'the Chinook' was
introduced in addition to the Stampeder/Eskimo service, cutting the former
time from 6.5 hours to 5 hours between the two cities with stops in
each town along the line.
also ran trains from Red Deer to Lacombe and east to Alix, Stettler
and Coronation, northwest to Rimbey and Bentley, and a mixed train
west to Sylvan Lake, Benalto and Rocky Mountain House from Forth
The main CPR infrastructure changes since 1911 included the
demolition of the coal chutes in 1923 and the removal of the ACR
yards and Piper Creek trestle by 1917.
With the war starting, the railway plays an important role in the
movement of troops from Red Deer and Central Alberta to training
centres across the country and to ocean ports. The Jubilee 3001 is
replaced with heavier locomotives to head longer troop trains than
the 3001 was designed to haul.
The creation of an army training base in Red Deer and an air
training base near Penhold are assured due to proximity to major