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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.



Rail Reconstruction Project



Work on ECAHS Stettler-Red Willow rail reconstruction project made great progress from August to December when work was suspended due to extreme low temperatures and heavy snow.



During that period the entire rights of way was re-profiled and leveled, sub ballast replaced, and packed thanks in most part to the County of Stettler. Materials supplied by Cando Contracting out of Brandon, Manitoba, started arriving in September and distribution of ties, rail, tie plates, joint bars and other track materials started as soon as conditions permitted. Those materials are currently in place to within approximately one mile of Red Willow and ties have been laid out on the rights of way almost to Highway 601 north of Stettler. Rail has been bolted together and spiked in place, excluding road crossings, for approximately two miles north from Stettler.



There are approximately 10,000 cubic yards of ballast gravel currently stockpiled at Warden south of Stettler ready for distribution.



Best estimates are that the spiking crew will complete close to one mile of rail a week once work resumes in late April or early May. Road crossings will need to be carefully coordinated with the County of Stettler and Alberta Transportation and this work and weather conditions will be the determining factor as to when the track will be completed to Red Willow.



Natural Linear Parks



Work on the five Natural Linear Parks at Edberg, Meeting Creek, Big Valley, Rumsey and Rowley is complete. More than twenty miles of replacement parallel fences are now complete and most of the resulting waste materials have been collected. Locking gates have been installed at the entrances and exits of all the parks and vegetation over-growth on all of East Central Alberta Heritage Society’s rights of way not scheduled for rail reconstruction has been removed.



Rest area picnic tables and waste receptacles are ready for distribution and work on fully self contained bathrooms will be complete in time for installation as soon as the snow is gone and frost is out of the ground.



Close to 100 bird houses have been installed at the Meeting Creek Park and similar numbers will be installed at the other parks early this spring. Work on signage is currently underway. These signs will welcome visitors to the parks and layout certain prohibitions such as open fires, motorized vehicles and overnight camping.



All of East Central Alberta Heritage Society’s Natural Linear Parks are expected to be complete, open and ready for visitors by late May or early June.

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