The Alberta Railway Museum reopens this May Long Weekend in Northeast Edmonton. This hidden gem will have a full season this year since 2019 and will be open until Labour Day.
This Alberta Museums Association certified site is a one-of-a-kind living history museum currently containing 8 buildings and 72 rolling stock! They rotate their working steam and diesel locomotives on long weekends for visitors to ride. During regular weekends, the Speeder will be available to ride and that is quite a fun experience as well.
We went to visit during their soft-opening last year for a preview. Stephen Yakimets, President of the Alberta Railway Museum, took us on a tour of some highlights not to miss.
Our first stop was the AGAWA which is a special car for business. It’s well decorated and contains a comfortable bed room, galley, lounge, and an entire dining room!
We then checked out the NAR 73 steam engine which is just incredible how beautiful and well-crafted it was for its time, and for the purpose of moving people and goods.
Stephen then took us to the Dunvegan shop which is closed to the public. Here we were able to see a few of the cars being restored on site. Some of these train cars take up to 2 decades to restore!
Another gem of the collection is the NAR Bunk Car 18104 which was formerly owned by Henry Ford, yes, THAT Henry Ford. It passed down several owners, and was used as a bunker car for workers.
A neat thing we came across was discovering a relic of the Vancouver Expo ‘86 which is in a transportation timeline was part of CN Rail pavilion. The timeline goes from 1860 to 1986, so this is very interesting for history buffs.
One of the highlights for us was the mail car in the mid-row of the stationary cars. Step into where mail was picked up along the tracks, sorted, and redistributed.
After following the line of connected rail cars, don’t forget to round back to the first row of cars. On one of the cars you’ll find a model of the imaginary town of Hanso with a model train of course.
Once you’ve visited the stationary collection, head over to the St. Albert station (at the entrance) to get ready to hop onto a locomotive train or speeder ride. It is an extra cost but well worth it.
While waiting for a ride, step inside the St. Albert Station where there are refreshments and a gift shop. Of course, visit the indoor museum which has many train artifacts. There is also the largest and only telegraph collection of its kind in Canada, so it’s like a museum within a museum!
To get here is an adventure into the urban farm reserve in the city. Located at 24215 – 34 St NW, it’s accessible by taking the Highway 15 exit towards Fort Saskatchewan from Anthony Henday Drive. Take the first left at 18 Street NW (where the Sikh temple is), then an immediate left again at Valour Ave. Turn right at 34 Street NW and keep going until you get to the Alberta Railway Museum. If you see hay bale minions, you’re on the right track, just keep going.
Once you arrive and park at the site, you’ll be greeted with the water tower and the original St. Albert train station, where visitors may purchase admission and train ride tickets. As of 2021, ticket prices are free for under 3 years of age, $6 for ages 3-12, $9 for ages 13-17, and $12 for adults. A family admission is also available for 2 adults and 3 children for $35. Train rides (on long weekends) are $6, while speeders (running on weekends) are $3. The museum is open only weekends (Sat/Sun) and long weekends (Sat/Sun/Holiday Mondays) from 10am to 5pm between Victoria Day and Labour Day long weekends.
After paying admission, cross the tracks and we recommend starting at the NAR 73 locomotive and working down the rows one by one to help you see most of the rolling stock systematically. You can also follow the signs for a tour of the site which will take you through most of the connected cars on site if you’d like a quicker visit. There are no restrictions, other than for a train ride which require masks.
Here’s a TikTok video from the visit last weekend with Yegventures.