From Our Editors
If Calgary is the Heart of the New West, the railroads were once the arteries that allowed it to thrive, flowing grain, livestock, and other lifebloods through Alberta's expansive prairies. Although the railroad's importance to the economy has since diminished, Aspen Crossing refuses to let the heritage fade away. On its own 14-mile section of preserved rail, the independent railroad leads 28-mile round trips aboard an authentic Parrish & Heimbecker locomotive replete with a caboose that once belonged to Calgary's Ogden Legion. Along the way, passengers learn firsthand about agriculture and the railroad while catching glimpses of historical grain elevators from either seated indoor cars or an open-air car (once used to haul scrap metal, which was needed to build the earliest hockey players' skates).
Besides the trips along the prairie, Aspen Crossing offers a variety of special tours, from sunset and stargazing tours to beer and wine tastings to theatrical performances in which the railcars become the setting for a realistic train robbery. Back at the station, flowers and plants fill a thriving garden, a gift shop stocks souvenirs and jars of homemade pickles, and waiters serve diners at a restaurant built into an 1887 Pullman dining car—once the private business car for Prime Minister John Diefenbaker—permanently parked onsite.