Rail Roots

Train Lines Have Always Shaped the Core

You likely didn’t know this but Edmonton grew into a big city thanks in part to the railway. The core was the epicentre of rail, before we ripped up the tracks beginning in the 1950s. As the Valley Line LRT arrives over the next few years, our rail roots are showing again. Here’s a look at those routes on one map.

Beyond spur lines that ran south from the yards along 104 Avenue, to deliver wares into warehouses in downtown (check the backs of buildings on 104 Street for train-height loading bays), street cars once plied Jasper Avenue and headed north along 124, 101 and 97 streets. Meanwhile, the Canadian Pacific Railway came in from the south, along the Mill Creek ravine, before heading west through Rossdale and north, just west of Oliver, and the Calgary and Edmonton Railway came directly along the High Level Bridge and into Oliver (with a station where there’s now a Marble Slab). The biggest concentration of rail was Canadian Northern Railway yard, located where MacEwan University now stands. Fun fact: We named our magazine after this spot.