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Railroad - Spring Coulee Alberta

"Pinepound Reflections"
a History of Spring Coulee - pages 62 - 63

In 1900, as irrigation was developing in the area south of Lethbridge, a line called the St. Mary River Railway was started from Stirling in the direction of Cardston. The narrow gauge track reached Spring Coulee that year. When the St. Mary River Railway was opened, the company ran a special train to Spring Coulee and back, carrying representatives of the Lethbridge Board of Trade on a goodwill tour. Between Raymond and Magrath, it crossed the Pothole Creek on a low level bridge located somewhat south of a high wooden trestle which is visible from #5 highway, west of Welling ( 2 years ago this bridge was done away with and replaced with huge culverts). It took another couple of years to reach Cardston due to extra work of building a high wooden trestle over Pinepound Creek, just west of Spring Coulee. Tri-weekly service commenced on Nov. 28 1909.

FLASHBACK: 1903: Bridge at Spring Coulee almost complete and rails extend entire distance across.

The line reached Cardston on June 25, 1903.

In 1904 the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company was incorporated and was an amalgamation of the Alberta Railway Coal Company, the St. Mary River Railway Company and the Canada Northwest Irrigation Company. The gauge was widened to standard about 1906 and the Canadian Pacific Railway acquired the line when it took over the A. R. and I. on January 1, 1912.

N.B. This narrow gauge track was sold to the White Pass and Yukon railway for a line which runs from Whitehorse to Skagway and is still in use today.

The last passenger trains were taken off in September, 1949 although mixed trains continued to operate until September, 1955. The agency was closed April 23, 1959. Since that date carload service by rail has been provided and for a time highway vehicles continued to provide package service to the community. The last steam engine to operate through Spring Coulee was in 1957.

Following is a list of station agents for some thirty years:

C.S. Barter1928-1934
D McNabb 1935-1936
E.H.Brown 1937
E.L.lnman 1938- 1945
G.A. Gillies1946-1948
J.J. Rushton1948- 1954
W. Bakka 1955- 1956
K. Clark 1957
W.E. Metcalfe1948-1959

N.B. This information came from the Galt Museum, R. F. P. Bowman and L.A. Hill. superintendents for the C. P. R. in Lethbridge.

From other sources: Mr. Wurtz was station agent in 1903 and Jack Kershaw in the early 1920's.

Maintenance crews were hired to look after the tracks at each agency. The first section foreman at Spring Coulee was George Gygi, followed by Paul Dick and then William Baraniuk who remained here for thirty three years. Tony Kubic and Jake Tschetter also worked with them.

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Mary Tollestrup