CNR Bridge and Station

CNR Bridge and Station


After a bit of a short break from posting, I’m back with a piece on the CNR Bridge and Station that I’ve been working on for a little while.

I could have just as easily included information on the bridge in the Plaxton’s Lake post, but I feel it has more to do with the CNR than it does the lake itself. I wasn’t able to find much written about the history of the bridge, but photographs show its evolution over time.


Original CNR trestle bridge over Moose Jaw River Valley.
Supposed CNR trestle bridge over Moose Jaw River Valley, [ca. 1919]. (Credit to Moose Jaw Public Library)

I’m unsure of the above supposed photo of the CNR bridge. The dark building on the far-right looks like it could be the Moose Jaw Aquatic club building. However, the bridge looks too high, as do the river banks (especially on the North side). Also, it does not look like how the bridge would have looked in 1919.

*Edit* Trevor posted a comment below stating that this photograph is actually of the trestle rail bridge just South of Moose Jaw. It has since been replaced by a bridge that incorporates concrete and steel and runs parallel to the Highway 2 bridge.


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The rest of these photos can be confirmed to be the CNR bridge in what looks to be two forms. The first may have been constructed in and around the same time as the construction of the CNR station in 1919. The original wooden trestle was eventually demolished at some point and replaced by a concrete and steel bridge that was built by the Dominion Bridge Company in 1930.


"The Canadian," 1974.
“The Canadian” crossing the CNR Trestle, 1974. (Credit to Moose Jaw Public Library)


The above photograph shows the CPR’s new transcontinental luxury train “The Canadian” which had been introduced in 1955 (2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection). This photo is interesting because it shows it heading South across the Moose Jaw River on the CNR trestle. Perhaps an oddity seeing a train of one company on the line of another. This occurred because of the flooding in Moose Jaw at the time, and was done in order to get the passenger train to Swift Current via a different route. I was able to ascertain this thanks to the work of the late local historian and former Moose Jaw Public Library Archives employee Leith Knight.


CNR Station

When I was doing research for the Moose Jaw CPR Station(s), I was at first confused by what appeared to be a fourth CPR Station. Turns out it was a separate station entirely, and owned by the rival Canadian National Railway, which had been formed through the amalgamation of several smaller rail companies. The CPR had practically monopolized rail in and around Moose Jaw by the time the CNR decided to move into town.


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The Moose Jaw CNR Station, which is located just East of Crescent Park, was designed by Winnipeg architect John Schofield and built in 1919 (Parks Canada Directory of Federal Heritage Designations). Schofield had by this point designed several railway stations and roundhouses across Ontario and Western Canada. The full list can be found here. Schofield was to become the chief architect of the CNR in 1942 (Historic Places), eventually designing many more stations such as the CNR Central Station in Montreal (Parks Canada Directory of Federal Heritage Designations).



The Moose Jaw CNR Station is of a Beaux Arts design, and is composed mostly of Tyndall stone, and bricks from the nearby Claybank Brick Plant (Canada’s Historic Places).


Sprigs O'Heather Girls Pipe Band, August 9, 1963.
Sprigs O’Heather Girls Pipe Band returning to the CNR Station from a tour to the East, August 9, 1963. (Credit to Moose Jaw Public Library)


Due to VIA rail forming in 1978, CN Rail ceased operating passenger services to focus its efforts entirely on freight (Canada-Rail). As a result, the CNR station in Moose Jaw would fall into disuse in the years that followed.


CNR overpass at Fairford Street East.
CNR overpass at Fairford Street East, 2017.


Fortunately, the Moose Jaw CNR Station became protected under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act in 1985, and was designated a national heritage building on June 4, 1992. It also became a municipal heritage site of the city of Moose Jaw on April 8, 2002 under bylaw number 5158, and listed on the register of Canada’s Historic Places on April 8, 2002.



2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. “The Canadian.” (accessed December 27, 2017).

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada: 1800-1950. “John Schofield.” (accessed November 19, 2017).

Canada’s Historic Places. “Canadian National Railway Station: 341 Stadacona Street E, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, S6H, Canada.” (accessed December 10, 2017).

Canada-Rail. “Canadian National Railway (CN).” (accessed December 27, 2017).

City of Moose Jaw. “341 Stadacona Street East.” (accessed November 19, 2017).

Parks Canada Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. “Canadian National Railway Station.” (accessed November 19, 2017).

6 comments on “CNR Bridge and Station

  1. The 2nd photo of a bridge of which is of ‘unknown location’. This is the CNR bridge that leaves Moose Jaw to the south and is now paralleled by the #2 highway bridge over the Moose Jaw River. I worked on the crew that built the #2 highway bridge-summer of ’67 I believe.

  2. Further to Trevor’s comments above. The railway station was actually initially the union station of two seperate railways, The Canadian Northern Railway (CNR until the formation of the overseeing Canadian National Railways, after that the CNR was referred to as the CNoR and the Canadian National Railways assumed the CNR title, after 196o the CNR dropped the R and until this day is simply CN) and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR).

  3. Looking for dates of original construction of the two CNR trestles (in Moose Jaw and south of Moose Jaw).

    • Hi Todd, I am no longer in Moose Jaw, but I’m sure that if you went to the Moose Jaw Public Library, someone would be willing to help!

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