About the Prairie Dog Central Railway
by The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc.
The Prairie Dog Central Railway is a short line railway owned and operated by The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. (VLS) and it is one of the oldest, regularly scheduled operating locomotives in North America. The VLS is a Registered Charity whose primary objective is to maintain and operate the Prairie Dog Central Railway vintage steam train. It takes many volunteer members both on the train, at the station and in our shop to run the Prairie Dog Central Railway every operating day.
How can you help? Why not consider making a donation? While we are a registered non-profit organization, and the majority of our activities are provided by ticket sales, a donation is also sincerely welcomed and a Charitable Tax Receipt can be issued for amounts over $10.00.
The Prairie Dog Central Railway began operations in regular public service on July 11, 1970. From 1970 – 1974, the train operated out of Charleswood along Wilkes Boulevard on the former Canadian National Cabot Subdivision. From 1975 to 1996 the train then operated out of St. James and the old St James Station, immediately west of Polo Park on the Canadian National Oak Point Subdivision and ran to Grosse Isle and back.
In 1996 the Society was advised by CN that the Oak Point Subdivision was to be abandoned and in addition to that, the Transcona shops (where the train was stored and maintained) could no longer support the Prairie Dog Central Railway operations. Consequently, soon after 1996 the Prairie Dog Central Railway ceased its train operations for two seasons and the Society embarked on a major fundraising campaign and raised $1.3 million dollars to purchase the Oak Point Subdivision. The St. James Station had now been declared a Heritage Building by Parks Canada. Under special approval, the Station was relocated to its current location at Inkster Boulevard and Sturgeon Road along Prairie Dog Trail. Operations began shortly thereafter travelling from Inkster Junction Station to the Manitoba community of Grosse Isle for a stop-over, before heading back to Inkster Junction Station.