Historic Steam Train
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The steam train at Fort Edmonton Park is here today because of Bill Graham’s dream and determination. He brought the 1919 Baldwin Locomotive and its tender to Fort Edmonton Park in the 1970s. In 1976, he heard of an old steam locomotive that was partially immersed in mud in a Louisiana swamp. He set out in semi-truck and drove to Lousiana to pick it up and bring it back to Edmonton. The process took two months and many back roads.
Locomotive 107 is a prairie type (2-6-2) locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Built in 1919 for the Industrial Lumber Company in Oakdale, Louisiana, it worked there for fifty years until it was abandoned.
In 1977, Bill Graham met with then Edmonton Mayor, Terry Cavanagh, to get approval on bringing the train to Fort Edmonton Park and the Fort Edmonton Foundation endorsed his proposal to build and operate the railway in the Park. The locomotive was completely rebuilt by Bill and his team, and the track was built around the Park. The train started operating in May of 1978, and a few months later, Bill sold it to the Fort Edmonton Foundation. It has been owned by the Foundation ever since, and to this day is a favourite attraction at Fort Edmonton Park.
Today, the steam engine transports visitors around the park on the four-kilometre track of the Edmonton Yukon & Pacific (EY&P) Railway, a line that pays homage to Edmonton’s first railway. It pulls two passenger cars, an open-air car and a caboose, and is able to reach a speed of 60km/hour on level ground.
Each train car has its own history and purpose:
Passenger car one: 1914 Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Day Coach 304 was acquired from Northern Alberta Railway (NAR)
Passenger car two: Coach 300 was acquired from Canadian National Railway (CNR)
Open-air car: Caboose 210 is a remodelled CNR yard caboose outfitted so passengers can stand at the window
Standard caboose: CNR Caboose 308 was retrofitted in 1996 to accomodate passengers with reduced mobility
Do you want to learn more about Bill Graham’s fascinating story of bringing the train to Fort Edmonton Park? Read about it in the keepsake book, ‘Our Living History, the first 50 Years at the Fort Edmonton Foundation.’ Click here to purchase your copy today!
Bill Graham has always been a train buff from a very young age. Watch how he brought Locomotive 107 to Edmonton and built a track on city land at Fort Edmonton Park. Over the years, he has built and maintained the steam train along with staff and volunteers of all ages. His story is an inspiration for train lovers around the world!