All photos: Mark Forseille unless otherwise credited.
CWR 7438 (ex PC/NYC7438 GP9 GMD A1083 4/1957) and 4301 acq. 1986 (ex MK 4301, Wabash Valley 4101 nee P&LE 1529 GP7u EMD 14577 1951) Rowley, AB May 11, 1993 Bill Hooper
Alberta Prairie 7438
Central Western Railway Corp. headed by Thomas Payne began the modern era of shortline railways in Canada when after a lengthy effort a former Canadian Northern line built in 1910 was taken over from Canadian National Railways. This was the former CN Stettler Subdivision 106 miles between Ferlow Jct. (south of Camrose) to Stettler, Big Valley and Morrin (north of Drumheller), Alberta finally became effective November 21, 1986. Purchased for $2.7 million ($700,000 down) and aided by a federal government grant of $1.75 million the line was saved from abandonment. Ancient 60 lb. rail limited loading with grain of covered hopper cars to just 75% of capacity and a 15 mph track speed slowed trains. Normal grain hauling rate was $15.80 per tonne. CWR received $12.30. An Alberta "charter" provided authority for the railway to exist and operate. Four unions challenged their status and it went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where four years later an 8-1 decision in December 1990 upheld their provincial status. The 12 employees remained "union-free", the only way small shortlines work.
Operations were expanded when the former CP Lacombe Sub. 59.5 miles between Stettler and Coronation and the Coronation Sub. from Coronation to Compeer 73 miles were taken over effective 2:00 P.M. March 4, 1992.
Loss of many of the elevators on the original line along with the ending of the Crow rate for grain resulted in abandonment August 5, 1997 of most of the original line except for the Stettler to Big Valley segment which was sold in 1998 to Alberta Prairie Railway for their excursion service. Additionally, in 1996 Consort to Compeer was abandoned.
Central Western Railway Holding Corporation based in Edmonton was formed as operations expanded, later becoming RaiLink Investments Ltd. as further expansion took place in other parts of Canada including the Ottawa Valley.
RaiLink was acquired July 1999 by Rail America.
7438 in Conrail blue. Stettler 1991
7438 in Railink paint scheme. Wolf Kirchmeir
CWR 4302 in Morrison-Knudson paint. Ex MK 4302 ex Wabash
Valley 4102 ex P&LE 1530 nee 5679
RLK 1753 assigned to Central Western (nee MILW 978) GP9
EMD 19602 6/54.
Lakeland & Waterways
Operated 446 miles of former CN (formerly, NAR) Lac la Biche
Sub. between Kerensky and Lac La Biche 84 miles, and Waterways Subdivision
Lac la Biche and Lynton 161 miles. Coronado Sub. 140 miles between St.Paul
Jct. (CN) and Elk Point. Bonnyville Sub. 61 miles between Abilene Jct.
and Grand Centre beginning September 4,1997. Coronado, Bonnyville and
remainder of Lac la Biche Subs. added in August 1998.
RLK 1701 (ex Georgia Central 6052, nee DT&I 982) GP9 EMD 20835 12/1955 Port Coquitlam, December 04/1999.
RLK 1758 (nee GTW 4134) GP9 EMD 24965 11/1958 Port Coquitlam, December 7, 1999.
Note: 1701, 1753 and 1758 enroute to Cascade & Columbia River.
CSCD_1758 Okanogan, WA 8/7/2003
GEXR 4001 transferred 2002 to Goderich-Exeter. GP9-4 EMD
25631 8/1959 Ex CWRL/SP 3708 nee SP 5872
RLK 4201 acq. 1996 GP9E EMD 22978 4/1957 Red Deer August
30, 2001 Fred Clark
Began operations of 638 miles of former CN (NAR and Great
Slave Lake Railway) lines on May 3, 1998 with running rights between Edmonton
and Smith. Smith - Winagami - Roma Jct. - High Level, AB - Hay River,
NT (569.4 miles) Winagami - Girouxville, AB (16.2 miles) Roma Jct. - Hines
Creek (52.8 miles).
RLK 1700 (ex GTW 4139) GP9 EMD 25433 4/1959 New Westminister January 15, 2007
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