Thursday, 1 May 2014

A Treasure From A Rail Line Now History

Us railfans all have our ups and downs. An up could be a train with rare, foreign power or something. What about a down?
For me, its usually a train I couldn't take a picture or video of, while I know it had something cool on it. But the worst down for me is… tracks long gone. Abandoned. Ripped up. Roadbed left to let grass grow. You can't see the rocks, but you can still see the obvious differences in the landscape.

Those are what we see. An odd mound stretching far away, or even spots of dead grass. You follow the line to see where it goes. Then you see trees. The line goes in the thinnest of the bush, and then turns to follow alongside a highway. You soon know what your following. History.

In my lifetime, two tracks that I was very familiar with as a young child, are gone. One being the Cardston Sub, a line that stretched from Stirling, AB to Cardston. But it may have gone further beyond Cardston at a time, after researching with Google Earth.
The second, the Macleod Sub, that stretched from Fort Macleod, AB to Calgary. Abandoned in the late 90s due to weakened bridges and unkept areas of track. The track stayed until about 2007, when they finally ripped it up, all the way to south of High River. That section now shortened to around Sheep River after the 2013 Alberta floods, which afterwards forced officials to demolish the bridge at High River.
I have good memories traveling beside the Macleod Sub on Highway 2. I don't remember seeing any trains, but possibly one in early 2000 or sometime then. That train was around Nanton if so.

Even though the track is long gone, I still can't help but look out the car window and watch for the roadbed. It still hurts to know that trains possibly won't run that way forever.

It was until April 25, 2014 that things changed for me.
Coming home from Canmore after Easter break, we stopped in Claresholm for gas. The gas station, a Shell, has a portion sitting directly overtop of what was, not too long ago, track and ballast. All the elevators in Claresholm have been torn down, the last one was done this year. The rubble was cleaned up the same day we came back from our trip. Right across the road from the south entrance to the Shell, is the old roadbed. I went over to it while the car was getting fueled up. The first time I ever stood on the roadbed. It's quite something really.
Then something caught my eye. It was an old spike! Rusty, but in very good shape. I would not let go of it. I couldn't, until I got back in the car.

Pictures of the spike in its rusty, but proudly straight, state.

During my little visit on the track bed, I shot a pic in both directions of what's left of the line. 
South Facing

North Facing

RIP The Macleod Sub

I obviously have strong feelings about this line. Any info that you may have, including pictures or video from when this line was operational, please speak up! Thanks

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