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Ride The Rails Around Alberta

Author: Heather Egger, Travel Alberta

Heather scribbles stories by moonlight in Edmonton. Every summer Sunday, you’ll find her out in the countryside chasing two muddy-puddled preschoolers. Cuddled up by a log cabin fireplace in Jasper is her happy place and good food is her passion.

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At Calgary’s Heritage Park this summer you can visit a 1910 prairie railway town, ride the great antique Ferris wheel and take a reservoir curise on Calgary's only paddlewheeler. Circle the park on a 1.6 km (1 mi) track behind one of their two steam engines – then explore the narrow-gauge line, working turntable, water tower and roundhouse. 

Admission to Fort Edmonton Park includes unlimited rides on their 1919 Baldwin Steam Train from the station to the reconstructed 1846 trading fort. You’ll also ride original Edmonton streetcars for free to the penny arcade and tea at the hotel. 

Take a historic ride on Edmonton’s High Level Streetcar – a shining 1913 car that chugs along the top of the High Level Bridge, one of the highest river crossings in the world. 

Ride Across the Prairie

Starting up again on the May long weekend,  Alberta Prairie Railway Excusions offers a day long adventure from Stettler. Listen to live music and watch the prairie from an open-air car – but keep one eye on the horizon for notorious horseback-riding robbers that regularly hold up this train (all for fun and charity, of course). When you arrive in Big Valley, dig into a first-rate country dinner, then explore the old west boardwalk, railway station museum and interpretive centre in a historic roundhouse. 

Get Onboard at a Museum

You can climb right into most of the 75 trains and cars at Edmonton’s Alberta Railway Museum Take a ride on their century-old engine, which chuffs up to the wooden platform with a grand whistle that kids love. Then ride back and forth past engines, cabooses, cars and cranes to decide which ones you’ll climb around first.  

Wait for your train in an old country station at the Alberta Central Railway Museum near Wetaskiwin. After riding the 1.6 km (1 mi) loop in a first-class car from 1926, you’ll learn how trains and grain elevators worked together, watch a 1930s rail yard scale model and explore their collection of heavy cars, freights and cabooses. 

Bunk Down in a Caboose

Take a railway-themed long weekend getaway at Aspen Crossing in Mossleigh an hour southeast of Calgary. Sleep in a caboose cabin, take a 3.25 hour rail tour and have dinner in their 1887 Pullman dining car. The site also offers camping, dinner theatre and a gift shop in a train station. 

Or head an hour southeast of Edmonton to the caboose cabins at Footloose Caboose. On your way to breakfast or dinner in the 1909 Mount Lefroy dining car, wander through their colourful little train yard garden and collections. 

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  • Train Travel
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