Railway Station and Roundhouse Interpretive Park
The historic 1912 Canadian Northern Railway standard second-class depot is a centrepiece attraction, located at the foot of Main Street, and houses local railway heritage displays. Big Valley’s beginning was a result of the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway, which in 1912 designated the community as a terminal on its route between Vegreville and the Drumheller coal fields. Located in a picturesque wide-sweeping valley, the Village of Big Valley welcomes over 20,000 visitors annually.
The station also has a unique interpretive theatre exhibit sponsored by Alberta Treasury Branches. The south room of the station houses a community meeting room. The station garden is available as a rest area and is often used for picnics. Located near the station, snow plow CN 55351 is a steel “wedge-type snow plow” built in 1928 for service on the CNR by the Eastern Car Company in Trenton, Nova Scotia. It also saw service on the CN in western Canada until its retirement several years ago. It is the property of the Rocky Mountain Rail Society.
Big Valley is a destination point for steam and diesel locomotive-powered passenger excursion trains, as it is the southern terminal for Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions operated out of Stettler.
The remains of the railway locomotive shops and servicing area are located across the railway main line and to the south of the station. The railway roundhouse interpretive centre offers a self-guided tour of the once-busy CNR shops. The roundhouse, originally constructed in 1912, looms like colossal “ruins” and is a must-see for all visitors to the village. Enjoy a walking tour of the heritage roundhouse, now a Registered Historical Site owned by the Village of Big Valley, and in the care of local preservation organizations including the Canadian Northern Society. The interpretive signs provide an understanding of the function of a railway shop and take you back to the days of steam railroading on the Canadian prairies!
The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame pavilion is a project of the Canadian Northern Society and the Railway Association of Canada. The Hall of Fame honours people, communities, equipment, and structures that have made significant contributions to the Canadian railway industry. The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame’s main information site is at www.railfame.ca, with a secondary, physical pavilion located next to the station at Big Valley, Alberta.