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Number 41 - Date unknown Photographer unknown.
3 October 2017
Chug Along from Stettler to Big Valley


Stettler Alberta - The crisp, golden leaves, part of a cascade of fall colours 60 kilometres south of Stettler, bordered the steel railway as steam locomotive number 41, as her close personal friends respectfully call her, chugged.
 
Behind its brute force were almost 400 passengers, spread throughout the vintage coaches.
 
They represented all ages, from infants to seniors, who, very well could have once travelled by train and were reliving an experience from decades past.
 
It was, indeed, a special day, the last run of the summer season before 41, bless her signature smoke stack and friendly whistle, retired for a well-deserved winter hibernation.
 
It's part of the 28 year story of the Alberta Prairie Railway.
 
The company not only takes people from all over Alberta and beyond on excursion trips, it transforms us from our ultra-technology society into a part of our history where, just maybe, times were slower.
 
But, it's so much more than a six-hour journey from Stettler to Big Valley for dinner, complete with masked outlaws balancing on horseback who hold up the train for a robbery.
 
The heist, believe it or not, even includes a prop, a dilapidated looking outhouse on the west, with the good and bad guys taking turns throne-sitting.
 
There is, also, a charity component, the robbery raises money for local agencies and, the day of our trip, more than $1,100 was collected for a Buffalo Lake children's program.
 
And speaking of charity, Alberta Prairie Railway general manager Bob Willis will say a special "All aboard" to two people who bid on the memorable train trip in support of the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction.
 
There's more, when 41 pulls into the Stettler station around 21:00, you will enjoy staying at the Canalta Inn Stettler before returning.
 
We're currently working on getting a rental SUV for the weekend so you can enjoy your trip to Stettler in comfort and style.
 
Any ideas?
 
And, wouldn't it be neat if a media personality went along?
 
Well, we're working on that, too.
 
This experience package is great for folks who have love and compassion for steam locomotives and what they meant to this country, and still do.
 
It's also a great two days to enjoy Central Alberta, and see it through the lens of pioneers, riding the train to their next destination.
 
And, most important of all, it raises money for the three charities the auction helps, the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, Adopt-A-Teen, and Catholic Social Services.
 
Funds raised through this train experience in Stettler will, hopefully, give a few people who need it the most a great experience this festive season.
 
Watch for updates as we shunt along to auction dates Oct. 31 Oct 2017, 1 and 2 Nov 2017.
 
Also visit our blog for the most up to date news.
 
If you're the highest bidder, make sure you go see 41 and give her a pat before your journey.
 
I know she would appreciate it.
 
Cam Tait.

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