Ride the Rails in RidgeWood West

Jun 07, 2016

Assiniboine Valley Railway

Ever dream of riding the rails? If you make RidgeWood West your home, this dream could come true right in your own back yard.

Charleswood, one of Winnipeg’s oldest and most naturally pristine neighbourhoods, is home to the Assiniboine Valley Railway, a vibrant club of rail enthusiasts. The club was founded in 1995 and is located just west of Assiniboine Park, at 3001 Roblin Blvd. 

This neighbourhood is also home to RidgeWood West, a new Qualico housing development nestled in the heart of Charleswood. Residents of this unique community will be just a short distance from the historic railway.

According to Assiniboine Valley Railway President Len La Rue, visitors enjoy the site for the rides — which cost $2 per person — and the open house, where they can visit the engine house and roam the intriguing seven-acre site. La Rue says the group may also begin offering a dinner train service in the fall (check the site for updates).

“A lot of people really enjoy bring their kids,” he says. “It’s also a way for us to get people, especially kids, interested in the history of railroading. Steam locomotives and trains opened up our country and basically determined the way it was opened.”

Two exciting projects that members are currently working on include the construction of a caboose and tank car.

La Rue says the passion of the members who keep the railway going isn’t just about providing a service, it’s also a labour of love. “The biggest joy is giving people rides and making them happy — but it’s also a worldwide hobby,” he says.

Historic Highlights

The club was founded in 1995 and is located in Winnipeg just west of Assiniboine Park. Activities include laying track, shovelling gravel, building cars, maintaining locomotives, constructing buildings, operating / switching trains, giving public rides, chasing deer and eating hamburgers. 

Over 200,000 rides were given by volunteer club members over the Christmas holidays, brightening the holiday, generating donations for the Winnipeg Christmas Cheer Board, and allowing the club to grow.

The Assiniboine Valley Railway (AVR) is 1.6″ scale 7.5″ gauge and is located on a seven-acre site. There are three diesel locomotives (2 F7s & a GP9), one electric box cab locomotive, one club live steamer, several live steamers owned by various members, and about 45 cars.

Exciting Events in 2016

Public Open House/Rails Weekends
These are held the second full weekend of each month, from June through October, and also on the fourth weekend in July & August:

July 9-10 & 23-24
August 13-14 & 27-28
September 10-11 & October 8- 9

Saturdays 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sundays 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Tickets — 1 ride is $2
12 ride pass – $20 (good for any AVR Public Event)
2 & under ride free
(All minors must be accompanied by an adult)

The park opens up again in December for afternoon Christmas rides.