Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shortline Profile, Episode 3: Southern Rails Co-operative

Episode 3 of the Shortline Profile series bring us to the Southern Rails Co-Operative (SRC) south of Moose Jaw.

The SRC began operations in 1989 running over the former CN Avonlea Sub from Moose Jaw to Parry, as well as the former CP Colony from Rockglen to Killdeer. Today however, SRC operates only on the Avonlea Sub from Moose Jaw to Truax where the rails end.

We begin our journey along the shortline in Moose Jaw where the interchange with CN is located.

The photo to the right is looking at CN trackage. The tracks to the left are CN's interchange with CP, and straight is back to their own operations. Directly behind me would be the beginning of SRC tracks.

As you can tell from the first picture, it was a dreary, overcast day. Luckily the rain held off until I was finished for the day, so lets continue southbound.

The next stop was the trestle just on the outskirts on Moose Jaw. While from the below angle the bridge looks to be in a bit of disrepair, it does in fact still get used by the SRC. The low speed at which the line is operated makes this track ok for the SRC to pull their mainly grain trains over. I say mainly because they also pull a few tank cars, and on this visit they were storing potash cars

Not much farther south was another trestle which I stopped to snap a side shot of. This one is also quite impressive with its wooden support.

Our first village stop was at Briercrest, which is about a 47km drive from Moose Jaw. This little village was incorporated in 1912 housing approximately 100 people. Today, there are only a handful more people living in the village, but it is still home to two old grain elevators.

Both elevators here wear Briercrest Grain Limited marks, which according to their site moves Alpine Fertilizer, and Agrimaxx products.

The elevator pictured to the left is an ex Federal elevator, but did not appear to be in use anymore. Or at least not in a while.

The other elevator here was definitely still in use, but no one was around on this day, so I rolled down the service road to grab a few shots of it, and the equipment.

This elevator is an ex Sask Pool which, as you can tell from the picture below, has had a number of modifications made to it in order to move different products.

Continuing southeast now, we come to Avonlea. This small community is home to a number interesting items, including the Avonlea Heritage Museum.

Housed in an old railway station, this small museum is home to a number of railway related items, including an old caboose. As you may see in the picture to the right, the museum itself was closed on the day of my visit, so I quickly looked around before moving on.

After the quick stop at the museum, I went to check out the new unit that was on property in Avonlea. GMTX 2674 sat just south of the of the elevator, and had only arrived on the SRC the previous day.

Prior to arriving on SRC, GMTX 2674 had spent some time with the Great Sandhills railway. It didn't last long here either though, as it was seen a few weeks later in Edmonton.

Having shot the museum, and GMTX unit in Avonlea I decided to continue on to the next stop, Truax.

On my way to Truax I came across the potash cars that SCR had been storing. They don't travel south of Avonlea to Truax often (if at all), so these stored cars are out of the way of other operations on the line.

Moving into Truax itself, this small unicorperated community was once home to many businesses, but today is very much a ghost town. Truax may now be much smaller than it once was, but the elevator still stands here. It was built in 1964 and is now a heritage property, which hopefully means with will avoid any wrecking balls for a long time.

The end of track is located just on the southeast edge of Truax, and here I found some old maintenance of way equipment.

This was the end of my shots on the active SRC line, so I began to head home. Luckily for me that meant following the inactive portion of the CN Avonlea Sub southeast a bit more.

The first stop was Parry where the old elevator still stands, and some CN heritage shows on the old Parry sign nearby. Parry was much like many of the other small communities along this journey, in that in its day it would have been a much busier place.

The final stop of the day was Moreland, where the pictures can speak for themselves.


  1. Nice writeup on the SRC! I've only seen them once, back when they were using the Brandt truck to move their cars.

    1. Thanks, Steve. Not sure what they are using now. The GMTX unit isn't there anymore from what I've heard.

  2. Hi David
    The Jan/Feb issue of Branchline says they have leased a GP20

    1. You are correct that they have indeed leased a new unit. However, it is GMTX 2238. A GP38-2, which formerly ran on the Stewart Southern Railway.

    2. 2274 was first then the 2238 which left the SRC within 48 hours now another unit is there