In 1904 the first trains to Melfort arrived on the Canadian Northern Railroad from Winnipeg. Many soft grades caused innumerable delays and derailments, and dissatisfaction led to The Farmer's Railroad being approved by the Provincial government in 1909. But that project fell through, and the Can. Northern, which had continued its line to PA and beyond, operated until 1918. At that time the struggllng line, along with a number of others, was taken over by the Canadian government, and in 1922 the Canadian National Railway became a single alternative railway operating from coast to coast. The CPR had joint running rights on the CNR track through Melfort, as well as sharing a union station for passenger traffic. Before the CPR arrived, Melfort had a rail connection through The Pas, Manitoba and on to Churchill, as well as lines to Carrot River, Humboldt and Saskatoon (via to Carrot River, Humboldt and Saskatoon (via Aberdeen), and of course, Prince Albert. Then in 1922, the Canadian Pacific Railroad extended a line from Regina and Lanigan, running north-east to Spalding, Naicam and on to Melfort. Soon after it was extended to Gronlid. Though plans to build a roundhouse at Melfort never materialized, Melfort did become a distribution centre for a number of farm machinery companies and automotive dealerships throughout north-east Saskatchewan, all served by rail. An oil refinery, bulk fuel outlets, several lumber yards, as well as livestock and grain, mail, groceries and hardware, and all manner of other supplies were dependent on the rail lines. Passenger services were also very important. ‚Äč In the summer of 2019, we acquired a 1912 CPR caboose from the WDM, and have begun restoration work, with the plan to make it the hub of our railroad storytelling. Watch for photographs and more stories in the months ahead.
RIBBONS
OF STEEL
Melfort & District Museum 401 Melfort Street, Melfort SK 306 752 5870 melfort.museum2@sasktel.net melfort.museum@sasktel.net