Little Big Town Open to Visitors

·2 min read

The Wheatland Express Excursion Train opened the gates of Little Big Town to the general public on Saturday September 17 in recognition of Rail Safety Week. The gates into Little Big Town are typically not open to the public as the construction of the site and maintenance of the grounds are the sole responsibility of the Wheatland Express Excursion Train. Construction of the site began in 2021 and a visit to “the town” is part and parcel of the Excursion Train experience. Saturday however the gates stood open, welcoming one and all to see what the volunteers had created. Also on hand were Tom and Jerry, who graciously offered rides to any and all who climbed aboard the chuckwagon. Not to be left out of the weekend’s activities, Timbit was in attendance escorting Tom and Jerry through the heart of Little Big Town on their return.

The building fronts are somewhat of a cross between an early nineteenth century fortified town and one that has stepped out of an old western movie. To meet the needs of the “Sheriff” to catch masked bandits, the Black Jack Gang, who regularly “rob” the guests on the train, Little Big Town is fully equipped with a jail cell in which one prisoner serves out his “life” sentence. The money retrieved from the bandits is donated to the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation.

In case you haven’t heard, the Wheatland Express Excursion Train is creating a Wall of Fame. Nominations for the wall can be made until December 31, 2022, by filling out the application form found on their website: wheatlandexpresstrain.ca. The contest is open to all railway employees past and present.

“Railway Employees have been an integral part of the building of Canada. The dedication that many displayed over the last 100 plus years has helped make Canada what it is today. We want to recognize those that committed their time and effort to the railway industry. You can nominate your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather or even your mother-in-law. Entry forms will be available to briefly describe the nominees service and special notations of community service or Railway firsts.

The winners will be awarded annually with their plaque honouring their selection being on display in the newly refurbished railway learning and history centre car. The nominee or the nominees designate along with the person nominating will be awarded two tickets to a supper show and ride on the Wheatland Express!”

The contest includes four categories:

Operations: train crews, dispatchers, train masters, yardmasters, superintendents

Maintenance: track maintenance, car repair maintenance, signal maintenance

Builder: a person involved in non-operating activities

Historical: a person that participated in any railway activity that no longer exists.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder