County buys historic railway bridge
reprinted from Red Deer Express (Erin Fawcett) December 30, 2009
Red Deer County has agreed
to purchase the Mintlaw Bridge from the Canadian Pacific Railway for
The bridge, which spans 2,112 feet across the Red Deer River valley
with the trestles rising 110 feet above the main pier, is located
about 7 kms southwest of the City of Red Deer.
The bridge is the second longest railway bridge in Alberta.*
The only other bridge that is larger is located in Lethbridge.*
"If we didn't buy this bridge then it would have probably gone to
the private sector and could have been torn down," said Mayor Earl
"We would have never been able to get this bridge back if we
wouldn't have bought it. It's an asset to use and will be used
somehow in the future."
As part of the County's purchase, they must supply a tax receipt to
CPR for the fair market value of the bridge which has been
calculated at $8.8 million.
The Mintlaw Bridge, which was named after the nearby former rail
station grounds, has been identified as a heritage site within Red
Deer County and meets the prescribed criteria for significance and
The bridge is significant for its association with the Alberta
Central Railway (ACR), for its engineering and construction, and for
its status as an important landmark in Red Deer County.
The bridge site was picked in 1910.
The following winter, gravel for the piers was hauled in by local
farmers and construction on the structure began.
Two men died while working on the Mintlaw Bridge.
Hewson Anderson, a local
20-year-old man, fell off the structure around the centre pier and
was swept under the ice.
In 1912, Edward Garrett was killed on his second day of work.
One of the temporary trusses gave way and he received a fatal
In the same accident, Austin Aunn was critically injured, but
In 1911, no work commenced on the bridge as ACR was short of
The following year, CPR took over the CPR.
By July the bridge construction had reached the middle of the river
and it was completed that fall.
Meanwhile, Kinsella said there are no immediate plans as to what
County council will decide to use the bridge for.
"The bridge will go into our inventory and it's up to a future
council what they want to do with it," said Kinsella.
"It could be a trail someday, who knows. It could possibly be very
useful in the future. There are a lot of possibilities."
In addition to purchasing the Mintlaw Bridge, Red Deer County also
purchased the abandoned rail line out to the County boundary.
"It's not every day that you have the chance to purchase a
right-of-way," said Kinsella.
"This opportunity came up and we took it."
by Johnnie Bachusky, Red Deer Express
* Webmaster Note: The Mintlaw
Bridge is actually the fifth longest railway bridge in Alberta but
the second longest CPR steel trestle railway bridge and the longest
railway bridge in Central Alberta.
Railway Bridges of Alberta
more about the
Alberta Central Railway and
ACR Linear Park
Mintlaw Bridge essential to region's railroad
(Red Deer Express March 2010)