100 year steam locomotive headed to Alberta for $1 million restoration

Published March 19, 2019 6:18 p.m. ET
Arnie Lindberg, left, Jason Thornhill, and Al Broadfoot holding the original number plate from engine 5080. (Holly Giesbrecht/CTV Prince Albert)

After 50 years of sitting idle in Prince Albert’s Exhibition Park, locomotive 5080 is getting ready for a journey to new life – more specifically to Aspen Crossing, a railway themed park Southeast of Calgary in Mossleigh, Alta., where the engine will be restored.

Prince Albert resident Arnie Lindberg has been trying to have the engine restored since 2008 but nobody in Saskatchewan had the money or volunteer help needed to get the job done.

“The fruits of our efforts are here today and we’re finally seeing something happening with 5080,” Lindberg told CTV News.

The historical steam locomotive was hand-built in 1914 in Montreal, Que. and helped to bring people, produce, and lumber to Western Canada.

The owner and creator of Aspen Crossing, Jason Thornhill, said he hopes to restore the train in two to five years and have it running on the 14 miles of tracks the park maintains.

“We know it will be a long project, an expensive project, but full of passion for all of us. So hopefully we can pull it off.”

Once restored the locomotive will be renamed The Spirit of Prince Albert and will promote Prince Albert tourism inside.

Al Broadfoot is assisting with the $ 1 million restoration and says it’s “quite a process” but worth the effort to maintain a piece of Canadian history.

“It’s good to know where the engine came from,” Broadfoot told CTV News.

It took half a day and two cranes to lift the 114 tonne engine onto the truck that will carry the locomotive to Alberta but is now on its way to getting back on the rails where it belongs.

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