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Friday, May 24, 2013

Oh, Happy Day!

These two post cards are pictures of Fort Edmonton Park with their steam locomotive in action. The reason that I am blogging about the park today is because 5 years ago, today, I was married to my lovely wife on that train, literally, on that train. We stood on the platform of one of the passenger cars, our witnesses stood on the platform of another car and the ministers stood on the steps of the cars, while all of our guests looked on from the station’s platform.

The reception was held at the Selkirk Hotel on 1920s Street in the park.

The top post card shows downtown Edmonton in the top, the snaking North Saskatchewan River and Fort Edmonton Park in the bottom right half of post card. If you look carefully, about 2 centimeters from the bottom, in the middle, you can see the steam from the locomotive as it nears the replica of Fort Edmonton. I would point out where the Selkirk Hotel is, but it hadn’t been added when this picture was taken. It is to the left of the white airplane hanger in the middle of the card.

The bottom post card is a close-up of the locomotive. It represents the type of engines that were used on the Edmonton Yukon & Pacific Railway (EY & P) and is dressed in that livery. It is a 1919 Baldwin 2-6-2, built in Pennsylvania. The railway began on the south side of Edmonton in what was then, the town of Strathcona, in 1902 and by 1906 crossed the river and ran as far west as 123 St. and Stony Plain Road. The EY & P Railroad operated passenger trains until 1926 and finally ceased all operations in 1951.

The Fort Edmonton Park ride is 2.5 miles and has two main stops; at the Train Station entrance to the park and at the Fort. The locomotive arrived in Edmonton in 1977 and began service in 1978. The 107 was once used as a logging engine; it was owned by the Industrial Lumber Company in Oakdale, Louisiana, before being employed to move passengers and freight.

Both post cards were printed by Alberta Color, which is headquartered right here in Edmonton. You can see that both cards are modern. We can narrow down the age of the top card to between 1974 and 2003: barcodes were used for the first time in 1974 and the Selkirk Hotel was built in 2003. It is harder to narrow the age of the bottom card, but it was definitely after 1978, when the train started service.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.