Monday, February 27, 2017

Rochfort Bridge and the Longest Wooden Trestle in North America

Rochfort Trestle

I think this is how most people divide up Alberta...Edmonton and north is Northern Alberta, even though it's more central when you look at the map of Alberta. Calgary and south is Southern Alberta, and in between is, of course, Central Alberta. I grew up in Calgary but now live in Central Alberta.  I don't get to explore North very much but enjoyed my stops while on my way to and from Grande Prairie recently.

One place we stopped was the hamlet of Rochfort Bridge. Named after the 2 Rochfort brothers, who homesteaded here, and for the bridge.  So it does have a bridge?  Yes, an impressive one! It is in fact the longest wooden trestle in North America. It is 2,414ft (736m) long, and 110ft (33.5m) tall. It was built in 1914 over the Paddle River and is still used periodically by Canadian National Railway (CN). A couple short sections have been replaced with steel. It's an impressive site and I wish I'd had a better spot to take a photo. An interesting part of it's history is that apparently walking across the bridge is a thing that has been done since it's early days. (Be forewarned, it's railroad property and is trespassing). Back then it was a convenient route for farmers and also for children walking to school. People apparently even rode horse and drove cattle over the bridge. A local hockey team once walked over the bridge to nearby Sangudo rather that forfeit the game when winter had made roads impassable. I don't think I could do it.

We stopped at the Rochfort Bridge Trading Post. It has a gift shop/restaurant where we had a quick and yummy burger and fries. Beside the trading post is a vegetable stand and a few buildings that make up a pioneer museum, closed at this time of year. Darn...I am sucker for a pioneer village. I noticed that they have an old school called Orangeville in their village, so I snapped a photo.  If I am back this way during the summer month, (not a typo..summer is short here haha) I will stop in and also get closer to the bridge for a better photo. North of the trading post is the town, a couple blocks of homes, and Trinity Lutheran Church, built in 1933. I couldn't tell if the church was till in use, it looked ready for a service when I looked in the window. Further down the highway I spotted a marker for the area that Orangeville School originally stood. Serendipity!
Hope to see you again soon Northern Alberta!
Orangeville School marker


Trinity Lutheran Church 

Home sweet home

Another view of the bridge





18 comments:

  1. Great write-up Jenn! FYI, the section of the CNR that takes in the Rochfort Bridge is known as the Sangudo Sub. It runs up to Whitecourt, then southwest to hook up with the CN mainline.

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  2. BTW, LOVE your choice of a cover pic for your blog!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Tim!
      It was a great day when I saw Notre Dame, I was travelling alone and the weather and skies and everything was just perfect.

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  3. Oh goodness, great pics. We so want to see that bridge sometime. Got a thing for them. This post might be the motivation we need.

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    1. Thanks Chris! Lots of photos online of that bridge that are better than mine but seeing it in person is pretty darn awesome!

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  4. Cool bridge! :)

    I like that photo of the Trinity Lutheran church.

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    1. Thanks Steve! The bridge is an impressive structure.

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  5. Great pictures. That is one impressive bridge. You find the neatest stuff!!

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    1. Thanks Vicki! The highway goes under it and as you drive by and see it stretching into the distance...you can't help but feel impressed by it.

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  6. Now I am annoyed. I have been here three times and my photos of the bridge were nowhere near as good all three times. I might have to go back. I also missed the church.

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  7. Back when I was a kid, there were lots of those wooden trestle bridges for the railroads. That was in Pennsylvania. When I moved to Texas, I didn't see anymore. I am sure there still are some in Pennsylvania.

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    1. Hi Dizzy-Dick! They are cool to see big or small I think. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. You just HAVE to walk a across a trestle bridge - we did it as kids all the time!
    Great photos, Jenn!

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    1. Chickenmom, lol ok....but I will walk a shorter one first and work up to this one!

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    1. Thanks David! You could blog everyday with all the great photos you have!

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