19760234089 | Men next to Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company engine No. 1, AB, about 1908
Men next to Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company engine No. 1, AB, about 1908
About 1908, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
8.5 x 13.8 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives
Keys to History
In late 1883 Sir Alexander Galt travelled to London for a meeting of the North West Coal & Navigation Company (NWC&NCo.) directors. He wanted the directors to form a new company, the Alberta Railway & Coal Company (AR&CCo.), to build a 177 km narrow-gauge line from Lethbridge to Dunmore Junction. The AR&CCo. would absorb the land assets of the NWC&NCo. and use them as security for the bonds and stocks needed to pay for the railway. In October 1883 the federal government granted the NWC&NCo. the usual land grant of 3,840 acres per mile of railway built, at the discount price of $1.00 per acre plus survey dues. On April 19, 1884 the AR&CCo. was incorporated with capital of $1,500,000. The same day, Parliament passed the charter bill for the new railway. The second pillar of southern Alberta's development was put into place when the line was opened by Lord Landsdowne, Governor General of Canada, on September 24,1885.
As the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) began to lease and then buy the narrow-gauge lines from the Galts, a third rail was often laid down to accommodate the standard-gauge rolling stock of the CPR.
Running a narrow-gauge railway in southern Alberta had its challenges, not the least of which was the wind. Empty or lightly loaded cars were blown over by the wind on more than one occasion.
The second railway station, built in Lethbridge in 1907, was one of the few union stations in western Canada. It served the Alberta Railway & Irrigation Company, Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
This picture shows, left to right: Harold Pitton, Cuthbertson Devine, R. O'Neil, Hugh Mckay and Fred Delay next to Alberta Railway & Irrigation Company Engine No. 1, about 1908.