Meeting Creek, AB

Railway Station and Grain Elevator

Meeting-Creek-Elevator1The Meeting Creek railway station was built by the Canadian Northern Railway in 1913 to its standard third-class station plan. Today it represents one of the few remaining examples of this design, and is unique in Alberta, being preserved on its original site with both a portion of the original railway together with a classic prairie grain elevator. The station has been wonderfully preserved and houses photographs and artifacts pertaining to life in the prairie railway depot.

This depot served as a railway office, passenger and freight depot, and provided living quarters for the station agent. The main entrance to the station is known as the waiting room. This was the area in which patrons could wait for scheduled passenger trains, or conduct business with the railway agent at the counter. Next to the waiting room is the agent office or ticket office. It was in this office that the agent conducted railway business, which included ticket sales, sending telegrams by Morse code on the company telegraph, and settling express freight accounts. In addition, the agent also doubled as a train order operator, preparing written instructions received from a train dispatcher that were necessary for the safe movement of trains, and ensuring safe meeting points for opposing trains. The freight shed of the railway station depicts the types of express formerly moved almost entirely by the railways until the late 1960s. With the abandonment of the railway serving Meeting Creek in 1997, Central Western Railway donated a portion of the original main line and elevator track to the Canadian Northern Society.

Meeting-Creek-Elevator2The Alberta Pacific Grain elevator at Meeting Creek, built in 1917, is a classic example of a wood-cribbed prairie grain elevator. Perhaps more than any other building, these distinctive structures have come to represent western Canada to the world. Despite the link with our history, the number of grain elevators has been drastically reduced across the prairies over the last decades as a result of rationalization and a move to modern high-throughput facilities. The Meeting Creek elevator had a capacity for approximately 40,000 bushels of cereal grain. The office attached by a walkway to the main driveway served as a location for the elevator agent to conduct company business and settle payments to farmers for their deliveries of grain. A hydraulic engine is located in the back portion of the office that drove the main conveyor (or “leg”) of the elevator. Grain delivered to the driveway was weighed, graded, and dumped into a pit. It was then elevated by a vertical conveyor (a “leg”), which consisted of a series of cups on a belt, to the top of the elevator (the cupola). Using a “Gerber wheel” the agent could select bins in which to store the grain. Eventually, grain would be emptied from the bins, re-elevated, and loaded into rail cars for movement to market. The Meeting Creek elevator served the farming community in this area until 1984 when it closed. It was donated to the Canadian Northern Society for preservation in 1990.

The station grounds and right-of-way now form the basis for a local park–picnic tables and washroom facilities are available. The station together with the Alberta Pacific Grain elevator is a Designated Provincial Historic Resource. Both sites are maintained by dedicated volunteers from the Canadian Northern Society and are open to the public during special community events and by appointment through the Camrose Heritage Railway Station office at 780 672 3099 or see the station entrance for access information.