The Rails and Tails Organizing Committee was created to bring together the expertise and passion of leading members of rail, history and business communities for the express purpose of celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. It is made up of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, who have been successful in their careers, are well connected in the business and rail communities, and have demonstrated an understanding of the commitment required by volunteer groups to carry out a major national initiative. Expertise assembled includes organizational, fundraising, grant writing, and media/promotions.
East Central Alberta Heritage Society, owner of the proposed rail line, its land and buildings, is the central partner behind the festival. Alberta Prairie Railways, a company with more than twenty-five years of successful tourist steam train operation, is the primary business partner for this project, handling ticketing and reservations, scheduling, passenger handling, and train maintenance.
The East Central Alberta Heritage Society is dedicated to the preservation, protection and showcasing of railway and community heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the general public. They exist to preserve and protect, for future generations, railway and community heritage along the rights-of-way owned by East Central Alberta Heritage Society.
Railway Partners & Locomotives
Alberta Prairie Railways is a heritage railway originating in Stettler, Alberta. The train, often pulled by the No. 41, a 1920 Baldwin 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive (formerly Mississippian Railway #77), runs from Stettler to Big Valley. Here, patrons indulge in a buffet meal and can wander the streets of tiny, historic Big Valley, viewing the train station (a Provincial Historic Site), St. Edmund’s Anglican Church (also known as the little blue church on the hill), cenotaph, museums and grain elevator, boardwalk curio shops, and the remnants of the Canadian Northern Railway roundhouse. The excursion includes a bar car, observation car, and wandering musicians. Patrons can relax, knowing Gabriel Dumont is there to protect them from potential train robbers on horseback.
Located in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, the Alberta Railway Museum (ARM) is a rustic outdoor display of railway equipment and buildings. The museum replicates a small terminal with station, water tank and shops. The main emphasis is on cars and locomotives from the Canadian National Railways (CNR), Northern Alberta Railways (NAR) and industrial and short line railways. The #1392 locomotive joining Rails and Tales 2017 is a 4-6-0 ten wheeler built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1913.
The Rocky Mountain Rail Society is an Alberta non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to the preservation and operation of Canadian National Railway steam locomotive 6060, “The Spirit of Alberta”. Membership consists of current and retired railway operating personnel, as well as steam and rail fans concerned with the preservation of this important and unique Canadian heritage locomotive and provincial historical resource. It is the aim of the society to ensure that Canada’s largest working steam locomotive remains in full and complete operating condition for the enjoyment of the citizens of Alberta and all people with an interest in steam. The #6060, or “Bullet-Nosed Betty,” as she is affectionately called, is currently under repair, but will be part of the Rails and Tales 2017 celebration, on display to give visitors a view of what is involved in the restoration of such a magnificent engine. Stay tuned for further information on the location of this static display.
Did you know that all the special events in Big Valley that are part of Rails and Tales are volunteer-run? Yes, Rails and Tales is working with our professional partner, Alberta Prairie Railways for the central train events, but all event positions from Rails and Tales chair to parking attendant and garbage collector are volunteers.
And, we have lots of room for more!
Interested in helping out? Here’s how you can get involved:
First, if you like working on the organizational end, we still have a few committees that can use another hand prior to the event: publicity and social media, crowdfunding, Canadian Forces liaison, volunteer coordinator, and volunteer banquet coordinator are some options.
Second, if you prefer to donate a few hours to a few days to the event itself, we are always looking for: static display monitor, parking attendant, AV technician, waste disposal coordinator, and merchandising salespeople.
The benefits to volunteering include camaraderie, achievement, and getting up close and personal to some pretty cool equipment! We will be thanking our volunteers with a t-shirt, lunch coupons, and a Volunteer Appreciation breakfast, as well.
If you are interested, please contact Don Totten at firstname.lastname@example.org or (587) 897-6060.