Posted on 20-10-2011
Filed Under (Alberta 1970s, CPR) by Broken Rail

Once again the alarm clock rang at 06:00, after a good night’s sleep it was time to start another day, a good one as we were homeward bound. It was a good time to get a daylight view of the beautiful surroundings of a winter’s day in East Coulee a little history of this mining town in 1928 the first major mine opens in the area, 1930 population booms to over 3000 people, 1952 to 1959 natural gas replaces coal for heating homes and industries, most of the big mines close, and the community begins to dwindle. By 1970 it is virtually a ghost town, businesses have closed many of the houses are moved away the only mine operating in the Drumheller Valley is the Atlas mine accessible by the CPR East Coulee Railway/Highway wooden trestle across Red Deer River it was built in 1948. The CPR and CNR have an agreement for switching the Atlas mine, for six months of the year from the end October until 1 April CNR switches the mine, the CPR brings in our empties for loading and leaves them in the East Coulee yard, and we pick up our loads that have been set out for us by the CNR so this morning we have the loads, and have set out our empties, so we change ends on our locomotives, pick up our caboose and we are ready to go southbound on the Langdon subdivision caboose hop (a railway term meaning traveling with locomotives and caboose only) Fred phones the operator from the hotel at East Coulee to arrange for the operator at Drumheller to meet us at Rosedale Junction with train orders so we can enter the CNR joint section of track and travel back to Kneehill Junction to get back onto the Langdon subdivision. This is where the work for the day began with lifted loaded grain at Kirkpatrick, Hesketh, Sharples, and Carbon by this time we had 32 loads of grain to struggle up the grade at Kneehill Creek, next stop was at Acme where we had some lunch, then picked up all the loaded grain and the grain and sulfur traffic from the Acme Subdivision, then it was on to pick up at Beiseker, Irricana, Keoma, and Langdon by then we had a respectable train of about 80 loads.


1.) Waiting at Rosedale Junction to meet Drumheller operator and receiving our train orders to proceed to Kneehill.

2.) Stopping to register at Drumheller Station caboose hop, geographically pointed west but going east by timetable direction.

3.) Alberta Wheat Pool Elevator at Kirkpatrick our first stop to lift loaded grain.

4.) Alberta Pacific Grain elevator at Hesketh Alberta from the Unifarm Collection note the sectionmen’s tool house with the station name board, also loaded CPR boxcars ready to lift.

5.) Old postcard view of P&H elevator at Sharples, Alberta boxcars on spot and ready to be loaded, as you can see by the spout.
6.) Parrish and Heimbecker elevator at Sharples after it was abandoned.
7.) View of Sharples elevator looking back on our way to Carbon

8.)Going southward on the Langdon subdivision at Carbon, siding visible behind shadow of caboose, elevator track with Alberta Wheat Pool, Pioneer, and United Grain Growers elevators with a couple of loads of wheat ready to lift.

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