The Mintlaw Viaduct

In this episode, we take our canoes out onto the waters of the Red Deer River and float down to check out an abandoned railway bridge which has not seen a train in almost forty years — the Mintlaw Trestle.

Construction on the trestle began in 1911 by the Alberta Central Railway (ACR) and was completed in 1912 by the Canadian Pacific. It is the second longest CPR bridge of its type in Alberta and the longest and highest bridge in central Alberta.

For several years there have been rumblings about the Mintlaw viaduct becoming a key piece of a “rails to trails” project linking Red Deer and Sylvan Lake, but it seems those plans have stalled. While I have no direct knowledge of the road blocks, I would imagine the two biggest issues are the same as all of these projects seem to face — a lack of funding and the approval of adjacent landowners.

I would love to have access to one of the ends of the bridge to see it from up high, but for now that remains a pipe dream.

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