Frustrated by these responses, some Edmonton businessmen obtained a charter for the Edmonton District Railway in 1896.4 Unable to build the railway, the charter was acquired by a group of railway promoters from eastern Canada headed by William Pugsley, a former attorney general of New Brunswick.5 These promoters, excited by the discovery of gold in the Yukon, had the charter amended to allow an extension of the railway to the Territory.6 And that was the extent of their activity.
By August, 1898, the charter had been acquired by William Mackenzie and Donald Mann of the Canadian Northern Railway Company, who had the name changed to the Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railway (EY&PR). The charter permitted them to build “...either to the Yellowhead Pass or the Peace River Pass...to a port in...British Columbia.”7 By then, the Federal Government finally decided to provide funds for a bridge across the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton, which was completed in mid 1900.8
Having obtained permission to use the bridge for their railway, Mackenzie and Mann started construction of the line. A connection with the Edmonton and Calgary Railway was effected in early October, 1902 and the first train arrived at the Edmonton station below McDougall Hill on October 20th.9 The extension from the flats to the Canadian Northern main line was completed on November 30, 1905.10 The extension to Stony Plains was opened in June, 1907.11
This latter extension was the first leg of a proposed line to the coal fields at or near the Brazeau River at the headwaters of the McLeod River.12 In order to receive Federal Government bond guarantees the EY&PR had to amalgamate with the Canadian Northern.13 However, MacKenzie and Mann believed their interests would be better served if this line was chartered independently, and in 1910 the Canadian Northern Alberta Railway was incorporated, acquiring all the lines, assets and guarantees of its predecessors.14
The new main line from Edmonton, which eventually reached Vancouver, was routed through St. Albert and the Stony Plain extension remained a spur.15