History

a group of people on a beach near a body of water

Southern Prairie Railway began as a dream in 1998. The idea was to add another dimension to the annual Fair Day and increase the heritage experience in the community.a train traveling down train tracks near a field

In 1999 a CPR train station was located in Simpson, Saskatchewan. It was identical to the station that originally stood on Main Street in Ogema. The Ogema station has been dismantled and sold for grain storage in the 1960’s.

The Station in Simpson was also being used for grain storage but was fully intact and in the structure was solid.
The purchase price was the replacement of storage space which included 2-5000 bushel hopper bottom bins. One of which was graciously donated by Peter Sakundiak.

Timeline

  • 2002: In August, 23 people from Ogema traveled to Simpson to build the 2 hopper bottom bins in one weekend. Through September the station was prepared to be transported, and were shipped 280 km by semi-truck in late October to its new home in Ogema.
  • 2003: Train station cleaned, grain removed and stripped to the boards. Exterior was repaired, pressure washed & painted.
  • 2004: Interior of the house & office restored to the original plans as per the blueprints from the archives. The loading dock was also completed.
  • 2005: Living quarters were furnished with pieces from the museum and the freight shed housed the velocipede, the signs, signal arms, conductor’s hat, telephone and telegraph.
  • 2005: The train station the fully restored for Ogema’s Homecoming Celebrations in July.
    Next the focus shifted to adding a Water Tower to the area as well as the Engine & Passenger Car.
  • 2008: An agreement was reached with a group that had tourist railway operation experience and a business plan that aligned with the dream.
    With this new partnership in place, SPR became the ‘Travel Division’ of the overall organization that includes the Deep South Pioneer Museum and OHRA.
  • 2010: Two purchases were made in November:
    • Our 1944 General Electric Diesel Locomotive (from Conway Scenic Railway in North Conway, New Hampshire.)
    • Our 1922 Pullman 70 Passenger Coach from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • 2011: In June, the locomotive was shipped to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan in June by semi-trailer and unladed with a crane. The passenger coach was shipped by rail at the same time.
  • 2011: Restoration work started on both units immediately. Much of this work began in Assiniboia as a very wet spring caused several washouts on the rail line between Assiniboia and Ogema.
  • 2011: November 4th marked the triumphant reveal to a large crowd at the Ogema Train Station (Show picture), followed by a “kick-off” supper/fundraiser that evening
  • 2012: Train Tours started in May & SPR’s Official Grand Opening was July 7, 2012; aligning with Ogema’s Centennial celebration.
  • 2020: SPR is entering our 9th year of operation and has become a staple in the Saskatchewan Tourist Industry. We welcome ~3,500- 4,000 tourists to the area every summer, as they enjoy the Pioneer Experience.

aerial view of train