On the August long weekend I took a trip to Ogema to experience a ride on the Southern Prairie Railway. The Saturday morning train heads east to Pangman about twenty-five kilometres away. The 1950s diesel engine travels a maximum of twenty-five miles an hour, mostly due to the condition of the track. The 1922 passenger car is capable of carrying seventy-five people. Along the way the conductor describes the work and dedication put into restoring the railway station, the engine, and the passenger car. Years of work and thousands of volunteer hours were needed to bring this concept to fruition.
About halfway to Pangman he points south across the highway. A town of four or five hundred people was located here decades ago, but today there is only a cairn marking Amulet’s existence. The story is that a gentleman opened businesses as needed and the town grew. Once he passed away his wife decided she’d rather live in the city, closed all seven of his businesses, and moved away. The only other evidence of Amulet are the quadruple tracks we ride by indicating that train traffic was once high. He thinks four elevators once stood on this spot. My research states that there were only two elevators demolished to make way for the highway.
The train travels alongside highway 13, beside a few sloughs before turning north then east into Pangman. On the way I spotted several hawks, rabbits, a badger, and waterfowl. As we pull into Pangman we were greeted by excited children and Pangman’s welcoming committee. After a twenty minute excursion to Pangman’s farmer’s market we board the train to head west.
Other tours with the Southern Prairie Railway include a trip west to the ghost town of Horizon, a star gazing evening hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Regina Chapter, and a pitchfork fondue supper. The SPR also has plans to expand its operation. Wine and cheese cars and murder mystery are a couple of ideas they are considering.
For a complete schedule visit their website! Go check them out!