By Shari Fenn, Content Contributor
There is something so special about riding an old passenger train that puts you in touch with your nostalgic, adventurous side.
Something that makes you put down your cell phone and release the stress of today’s to-do list, even if it’s just for a few hours.
The clamor of the engine, the chug of the wheels and the call of the whistle lets you forget about the world. Just enjoy the passing farmhouses, grain elevators and children waving as you pass by.
And now, you can live this experience on a scenic tour of Alberta prairies while riding on an authentic historical Canadian Pacific train.
This is the new Aspen Crossing Railway.
Located just south of Strathmore (near Mossleigh) and less than an hour from Calgary, Aspen Crossing Railway is a unique day trip getaway.
As a ticket holder, you will experience serene prairie views on the 28 mile (45 km) round trip.
Pass historic wooden elevators while learning ﬁrst-hand about agriculture and the railroad in the region.
You choose the trip package
A variety of railway trips are offered including:
- elevator tours
- wine tasting
- dinner theatre
Your railcar becomes a stage
Imagine while you’re enjoying the prairies, your peaceful musings are suddenly shattered by a masked man shouting and waving a gun.
Yes, you are caught-up in a realistic train robbery!
The train stops at a makeshift graveyard. This is where the outlaws bury their stolen loot before having a shootout with the Sheriff and his lady companion.
It’s unbelievable fun.
Plan to restore historic elevators
The stolen loot is money collected from passengers that will go to the restoration of the historic Mossleigh elevators. The plan is to incorporate these elevators as part of the tour once they are refurbished.
Bringing Alberta’s train history to life
The Aspen Corssing Railway was the dream of Aspen Crossing owner Jason Thornhill, who says that a big part of the tour is learning about Alberta’s fascinating history of when the trains were used to pull grain.
This railway tour is the only of its kind in the Calgary Region.
Jason’s passion for the railway stems from his childhood.
As a little guy, the train ran near his house. Jason’s Dad would put him on his shoulders so he could wave to the engineer. This was one of the highlights of his day.
“I can still feel the excitement and joy of the prairie trains,” says Jason. “I wanted to start this excursion so I could help others create their own memories on the train.”
Tour times and pricing
You can book your tour and theme by contacting Aspen Crossing Railway directly. You can dine onboard or just enjoy some down home western music.
Train departs at 1:00pm for the 3.25hr trip.
Adult – $65.99
Child – $35.99
Prices vary depending on your choice of tour. You can also book your own private function.
Other feature activities at Aspen Crossing Railway
Caboose Cabins are available for rent and are situated on their own set of real railway tracks for a true train car experience. With all of the modern amenities a person could desire, the interior design provides the luxury of a modern hotel for the perfect overnight getaway.
Campsites are also available at Aspen Crossing. All sites are easy to navigate, clean with extraordinary washrooms (really!!), showers and laundry facilities.
At Aspen Crossing, you can enjoy an oasis of nature and beauty at the Garden Centre. Walking through the doors is breath-taking – both relaxing and awe inspiring.
The gift store is more like a mini museum. It will fill you with ideas and options for a truly special gift to be found nowhere else in Alberta.
Make a memory
Aspen Crossing Railroad allows you to travel back a simpler time when travel by railway was a way of life.
If you decide to give this day trip a try, we’d love to hear about your experience.
“Train of love’s a comin’
Big black wheels a hummin
People waitin’ at the station
Happy hearts a drummin’.” Johnny Cash
Shari Fenn is a storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications