In 2013 we studied the former town of Mitford Alberta, located just west of present day Cochrane (links to those posts below). One of the earliest communities in the area it was established 1880s. It was also one of the first abandoned too and was completely gone by the turn of the twentieth century. Connected to the town was a small railway.
This line, known as Cochrane’s Railway (after its owner who also lend his name to the nearby town) was built in the late 1880s and once ran from the Canadian Pacific Railway connection in Mitford into the hills to the northwest. Commodities carried included logs for a sawmill, clay for a brick making operation, and coal from a small mine. Most of the line has long since been obliterated by development, but amazingly a few small sections of roadbed survive, including a spur that once served the aforementioned mine. It’s clearly visible cutting across cow pasture!
Cochrane’s Railway was one of the earliest lines in the province. It’s also one of he first to if not the first to be abandoned. It closed down by the mid-1890s. The track was narrow gauge and lightly built. Grades were steep (the section pictured sure is), so steep in fact one wonders how the firm’s one and only tiny locomotive did the job.
Little is known of the coal mine the line once served. We know where it was to within metres and that it operated for only year or two. No signs of the operation could be found. No remains, nothing, not a scrap wood or steel, not even coal slack, stuff one would expect to find here. It, like the railway, was just an obscure footnote in history.
Lots of meat and potatoes about Mitford here…
In Search of Mitford Alberta part 1.
In Search of Mitford Alberta part 2.
In Search of Mitford Alberta part 3: Bow River Coal.
Short Subjects: reports that for any number of reasons are brief in nature. They might be updates to older articles, previews of posts planned or not yet published, brief snippets of things that don’t fit in anywhere else or subjects that are so obscure that information on them can’t be found.
If you need any more information on what we talked about here, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: August, 2016.
Location: Near Cochrane, AB.