September 18, 2013

Sexsmith, Alberta and High Prarie, Alberta - Mid-Canada Line POL Sites

Location of Mid Canada Line Sites near Alberta
Courtesy of Larry Wilson -
On the heels of my post about Falher, Alberta; I got to thinking...  There are only so many times a month that barrels of Diesel would need to be shipped from the rail yard to the MCL Site.  The location of Falher, as it served only two MCL DDS sites, wouldn’t have been a bustling military town in any way.  In fact, the trucks used might not have been military at all.  Since only two DDS sites were being ferried fuel, and a truck can carry more barrels than a helicopter, it probably wasn't much of an operation in Falher.  Any warehouse would do, so it begs the question, was there a purpose-built building, or did they just lease some space from someone by the rail?  Is that building still there?

Then I looked East and West at the next POL points; Sexsmith and High Prarie are, in regard to the MCL, in a similar position to Falher.  Both are on the rail.  Both near two MCL DDS sites.  High Prarie and Sexsmith today both have many concession roads that lead off into rural Alberta, and I suspect it was the same in the late 1950s when the MCL was built.  While in Quebec and Ontario it was standard procedure to ferry fuel to the stations by heavy/medium lift helicopter, maybe out West there was no need.  In Ontario and Quebec the sites were considerably more remote, and there were very few roads of any kind anywhere near the sites.  I still have no firm indication which MCL Sites were road vs helicopter accessible.

I think this complicates finding anything in Sexsmith, Falher or High Prarie.  At the Pinetree Line sites, or MCL SCS Sites, there were a lot of buildings and a lot of infrastructure, they were hard to miss.  These POL sites may have just been a non-descript warehouses, and not very different than any other building in town.

High Prarie, Alberta

Sexsmith, Alberta

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