Small Resource Railways and Other Lines
Introduction to the Short Railway Lines
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Introduction to the Short Railway Lines

Small Resource Railways
Small Resource Railways
n addition to the main railway systems in Alberta, there were a few shortline railways that mostly served coal mines and logging operations and one interurban railway. The most quixotic was T.B.H. Cochrane’s in southern Alberta. Many of these lines were ephemeral, built and used for only a short time thus fitting the description that C.P. Hill (Hillcrest Mines) gave to his own railway: “My railway is quite as wide as the CPR although not quite as long.”1 Length did not determine importance. Each line had its own unique history. Their construction enabled a resource to be developed in Alberta which in turn gave rise to settlements. The natural environment was affected greatly by human occupancy.

Now gone, the railways have become a focus for industrial archaeology, the only evidence of their existence being overgrown, but visible, roadbeds, slag heaps and in some cases crumbling foundations. Bankhead can now be appreciated by a self-guided walking tour of the site. Lille is in the process of development. At Medicine Hat the abandoned Ansley/Ajax mine is now within the boundaries of Echo Dale Park, where a part of the old railway right-of-way is a hiking trail.

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Notes | Bibliography | Abbreviations
1. Crowsnest Historical Society, Crowsnest and its People (Coleman: 1979), p. 213.