Map logo

ZelmerOz/Rails around the World
Alberta Coal Branch

link to ACB map

The Alberta Coal Branch of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (Canadian National Railway from 1920) runs south-west into the Canadian Rocky Mountains from a point just west of Edson, Alberta.

The area was popular with some Alberta modellers in the 1960s because it was still (just barely) an operational branch with an interesting history -- mining, social and political. The resources here are part of materials collected for the development of a resource kit for Alberta school children. Unfortunately that resource package was never finalised, however the materials formed the basis of a 1997 convention presentation and were subsequently assembled here for web access.

Lynn Zelmer, Alberta Coal Branch c1969.

    Lynn Zelmer filming on the Alberta Coal Branch c1969 for a planned multimedia teaching resource.

I was born and raised in Calgary and visited the Alberta Coal Branch as a young adult (1966) with another model railroader, returning on a number of other occasions with other friends and colleagues. The Coal Branch was in transition at that point. The old mines (underground and open pit) had essentially closed, their towns were mostly deserted, and only a few carloads of coal a month were being loaded, often using semi-manual technologies. The need for coal had not ceased, however, and leases were being reopened as open pit mines...

Elmer Holm's colour images
Photo links, pdf listing with contact sheets).
Rev Dwight Powell's black & white images
Photo links, pdf listing with contact sheets).
Lynn Zelmer's colour images
Photo links, pdf listings 1, 2, with contact sheets).
Lynn Zelmer's black & white (1965) images
Photo links, pdf listing with contact sheets).
Lynn Zelmer's black & white (1968-1972) images
Photo links, pdf listing with contact sheets).
Approximately 400 b&w images, Luscar Ltd (~1913-1961)
Photo links, very large (4.2 Mb) pdf listing with contact sheets).
Making the Collection
A 2006 note (pdf file) describing the development of the Alberta Coal Branch materials and the initial ACB web site. The original photos (and electronic copies) of many of the images in the collection were deposited in 2007 with the Provincial Archives of Alberta (Deposit PR2009.0001).

Site/content copyright © A C Lynn Zelmer or as marked. Last updated: 3 August 2016 [lz]; e-mail: Lynn @ ZelmerOz.com