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Come Ride the Train!

Alberta Prairie Railway’s 2017 Father’s Day Special!



Father’s Day Special June 18, 2017
Treat Dad to a day out with the family on the Stettler train. This round trip to Big Valley includes live entertainment and a roast beef buffet. Free hats will be given to every Dad travelling with family. This is Alberta Prairie’s annual benefit in support of East Central Alberta Heritage Society and rail preservation. Call the number below to book your tickets or click here for more information.


Train Departs Stettler at                  11:00 a.m.

Train Returns to Stettler around      3:55 p.m.




Alberta Prairie Railway

 1-800-282-3994  or  403-742-2811

Or Stopping By the Station at

4611 – 47 Ave

Stettler, AB. T0C 2L0


10% OFF  ECAHS Members purchasing tickets on this train automatically receive this special member’s discount. If you do not have a membership or need to renew, click here for more information. Simply print out the membership application form and mail it in.


Rail & Tales Fund – Please Consider Donating

The East Central Alberta Heritage Society needs your help to raise matching dollars for our Rails & Tales Project as part of  Canada 150 celebrations which includes double-header excursions traveling from Stettler to Big Valley starting Wednesday, June 28 thru to Wednesday, July 5.


Feel free to use the Paypal Donate Button in the column on the right if you would like to give a donation.


Other forms of payment available


You can choose to send a cheque or money order to:


East Central Alberta Heritage Society Rail & Tales Fund
P.O. Box 13
Stettler, AB, T0C 2L0


(Please make out payment in full to East Central Alberta Heritage Society as banks will not accept wording ECAHS.)


Thank you.


To use a credit card by phone, call: (403) 742-3997



Now On RailServe!

We are now on RailServe! Check us out and look up other rail-related sites of interest.

RailServe.com: Rail Travel, Hobby & Industry


Linear Parks Ready for Public Use this Summer


East Central Alberta Heritage Society’s five natural linear parks are now complete and ready for public use.


These long narrow parks are located on abandoned rail bed, south of Rumsey, south of Rowley, south of Big Valley, south of Edberg, and north of Meeting Creek. These natural linear parks include close to 11 miles of the society’s rail rights of way – running one-half mile immediately south of Edberg, one and one-half miles north of Meeting Creek, two miles south of Big Valley parallel to Range Road 201A and 202A, two and one-half miles south of Rumsey, including the Rumsey swamp wetlands, and more than four miles immediately south from Rowley.



The natural linear parks welcome walking, jogging, and picnicking, and are accessible for all ages to the degree possible, regardless of physical ability, financial resources, or residence location. They are equipped with picnic tables, garbage cans, and washrooms. They are environmentally friendly, and protect and enhance environmentally sensitive areas. Public access is only by foot and no vehicular traffic is allowed.


These parks are fenced and gated for the public and adjacent landowner safety. Entrance gates, safety fencing, and cattle fencing will be maintained. There are no road crossings, industrial activity, or heavy equipment usage in the area, making the element of risk along the linear parks minimal to non-existent.



A total of slightly more than 200 birdhouses have been erected in the five parks and the Buffalo Lake Naturalists inventory of flora and fauna will be complete and included with maps showing park locations and access prior to the 2014 opening.



The Natural Linear Parks have been developed in a manner has not damaged or impacted the environment. The railway bed was constructed many years ago, well above any wetlands, and culverts and bridges already exist so that the least amount of disturbance has occurred.



The Natural Linear Parks project was completed for close to the planned financial expenditure of $732,000.00.


Click the highlighted link to see the Public Brochure.




A Word From the President…

ECAHS President Norma Leslie

ECHAS President Norma Leslie

…on the progress of the railway restoration project and what we can offer today’s youth.


As we look forward to spring, warmer weather, and longer days, the East Central Alberta Heritage Society is preparing to continue our project of re-laying the rail to Donalda. Some significant progress was made in 2013, however, the wet weather did hamper our efforts considerably.


As you know, our Mission is to restore the rail line in order to highlight the historic significance of the rail  in the settlement and development of the prairies of Western Canada. Trains were once the main mode of transportation for the movement of goods, the delivery of mail, and travel between destinations by settler residents of the area.


Cars were few and roads were not conducive to travel in less than perfect weather in the early days, so people came to rely on horses, and the train. The children of today find it hard to equate this with our current ‘fast pace’. Our goal is to encourage mature adults to reminisce, and to physically ‘show’ youngsters how it was, by providing the rail line so that the tourist train operator can give them the opportunity to experience a taste of the past.


It is our Volunteers who keep this dream alive and flourishing. Being part of ECAHS is not a terribly timeconsuming job, as  the Board of Directors meet once a month in order to keep things moving along. We have a website that we try to keep current, but we could really use some help with that from someone who is computer savvy and has a bit of time to donate to the cause. Many of our Directors have been at the helm for many years, and some are ready to retire, so we need volunteers who have an interest in Heritage to join us and would be willing  to take on a bit of a leadership role. To be honest, we need some new ‘blood’, people with new ideas and just a bit of time to help out from time to time.   We have been approved for a Casino license, and our Society will volunteer to work for 2 days at a Red Deer Casino as a fund raiser. We have not been assigned a date as yet, but it should be sometime in 2016, and we will need about 20 volunteers to work in 4-6 hour shift. The funds that we earn are significant and will be used to further our objectives.


Please consider taking out a membership in East Central Alberta Heritage Society. There is an application form available here, and we encourage your support.


Norma Leslie – President


Rail Construction Continues

An overview of the railway restoration project.


Last season, construction was seriously hampered by an extensive over-growth of sweet clover which had to be cleared prior to laying down the ties and rail. The good news is that this work is complete all the way to Highway 601 and rail was spiked and bolted in place to within a mile and one-half of this important crossing.


We just received word that any requirement to install electronic lights at the Highway 601 crossing has been waived by Alberta Transportation. East Central Alberta Heritage Society’s consulting engineer, Ralph Garrett of Calgary, had made a strong argument that railway warning lights should not be required at this lightly used highway/railway crossing. The resulting construction cost saving to the society will be between $100,000 and $150,000.


Another bit of good news is that two much-needed railway gravel ballast cars have been acquired from Northern Plains Railway in North Dakota, and both of these cars have finally arrived after close to a six-month wait. Over the last couple of years efforts to rent, lease, purchase, or borrow ballast cars had been blocked by a more pressing need elsewhere in North America. These cars are essential to moving more than 10,000 tonnes of specialized gravel currently stored at Fenn. Ballast has been in storage and ready for delivery for more than three years thanks to the expertise and generosity of Earl Marshall Trucking who made these materials available at less than cost.


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Rail Link Effort Chugging Along

working on rail

Members of the East Central Alberta Heritage Society are
working on a stretch of track linking Stettler and Donalda


By Paul Cowley – Red Deer Advocate
Published: May 07, 2013 8:29 AM


Efforts to build a rail link from Stettler to Donalda for historic rail tours keeps chugging along — albeit a little slower than anticipated.


“It’s taking longer and costing more,” summed up Norma Leslie, president of the East Central Alberta Heritage Society. It was once hoped that the last spikes would be driven in late 2011 for a 12-km stretch from Stettler to Red Willow. But unco-operative weather and the challenges of the job pushed back the schedule.


“If all goes well, the stretch to Red Willow will be done this fall”, said Leslie. “We have enough material and enough money to complete the project to Red Willow. The big ‘iffy’ part is the weather,” she said.


The equipment to lay rails and spread ballast is very heavy and when the ground is wet, track crews risk damaging the rail bed if they go ahead. The society is leading the $3.3-million project to restore an abandoned rail line on the east side of Hwy 56 north of Stettler that was ripped out for scrap in 1997. When complete, the society hopes to lay about 25 km of new rails all the way to Donalda. When complete, it’s expected Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, which runs popular trips from Stettler to Big Valley, will add a northern route.


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Your Help Is Needed – Volunteer Opportunities

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a part of an important community initiative? The East Central Alberta Heritage Society might be a right fit for you.


Projects of the size and scale undertaken by East Central need the help of a large number of people to get the job done. It can’t be done by a single part time administrator. People need not necessarily be directly involved in fund raising or doing the physical work. They can help by serving on a committee, writing letters, or introducing ideas to help open new doors. It can be as simple as passing this newsletter on to others and speaking out in support of what ECAHS is attempting to do.


Although you may have already done so, we urge you to renew or take out a membership with the East Central Alberta Heritage Society. By the same token, many of the people who receive this newsletter have made tax-deductible donations, either since the current campaign began, or as part of regular on-going basis. If you have not yet done so, the East Central Alberta Heritage Society asks that you consider making a donation.


If you are interested in volunteer opportunities with the Heritage Society and want to be directly involved, please give us a call at 403-742-3997.


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Rail Reconstruction Project Delayed

Canadian Badlands Ltd. and Western Economic Diversification Canada are continuing to work with the society to find ways around weather delays and environmental protection restrictions on construction. Work on East Central Alberta Heritage Society’s Cando Construction Way rail reconstruction project to Red Willow must take place prior to May 1 and after July 31 each year and when you add in weather delays it is not surprising that this project is not yet finished. Work on the society’s second major project, the development of five Natural Linear Parks along portion of the former Canadian Northern and Central Western Railway right of way, was completed in 2012.



The funding for these projects comes from the Government of Canada’s Community Adjustment Fund under the Canada Action Plan  ended on March 31, 2011, and East Alberta Heritage Society has been grant and continues to be granted extensions on project completion. ECAHS expenditures on these projects already exceeds the funds receivable from Canadian Badlands and that there are still reserve funds from other sources to compete the work remaining. This assumes of course that community donations and corporate funding from outside the community continue to come in as expected.


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Rail & Parks – Project Update

  • East Central Alberta Heritage Society approved through the Canadian Badlands Ltd., partnered with the Federal Government and Western Economic Diversification Canada to receive $2.6 million to re-lay rail between Stettler and Donalda and another $732,000 for the development of up to seven “Natural Linear Parks”.
  • As part of the funding conditions ECAHS must raise $400,000.00 in cash and/or acceptable gift-in-kind of materials or services to the Donalda – Stettler rail project and $60,000 in support of the “Natural Linear Park” project. Both projects must be completed by the spring of 2011. The deadline for accepting the fund and the attached conditions is April 15, 2010.
  • Alberta Prairie Railway agrees that it will operate excursion trains to Donalda when the line is rebuilt.
  • Met with Village of Donalda council to discuss arrangements that will allow ECAHS to reconstruct rail line and siding on station grounds owned by the Village. Arrangements are currently being made to grant a 99 year lease on rail rights of way through the property.

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Help us return trains to Donalda

Consider a donation to East Central Alberta Heritage Society.