Building the WDM Moose Jaw
winter/summer travel, river travel and city travel. A transportation-themed museum in a railway town would not be complete without a steam locomotive. Moving CP locomotive 2634 — the only one of its type in the world — from Crescent Park downtown to the new museum offered protection from the elements and an opportunity for visitors to climb aboard. No doubt the sight of a 150-ton locomotive coming up Main Street turned a lot of heads.
Over the years the WDM Moose Jaw grew and expanded its exhibits. On Sept. 1, 1978, the Short Line 101 locomotive began operations. The engine is a Vulcan steam locomotive now over one hundred years old. Until 2015, the Short Line 101 was still the only operating steam locomotive engine in Saskatchewan. The WDM has recently launched a fundraising campaign, $101K for the 101, for track repairs and other improvements to get the train back on track.
In 1980, work began on another important addition, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) gallery. The gallery represented BCATP sites that were located across western Canada during the Second World War. These bases trained pilots from across the British Commonwealth. In 1992, the Snowbirds Gallery opened in partnership with 15 Wing, CFB Moose Jaw.
In the early 2000s, the theme of the WDM Moose Jaw was expanded to include a new exhibit, Winning The Prairie Gamble. Created to commemorate Saskatchewan’s centenary as a province, the exhibit had components in all four WDM locations. In Moose Jaw, the exhibit focused on transportation, weather — always a topic for discussion in Saskatchewan — and health care including CF-SAM, part of the first government-run air ambulance service in North America.
For over 40 years the WDM Moose Jaw has been an important part of the WDM network and the Moose Jaw community. Over 30,000 people visit annually, including numerous school children learning about Saskatchewan’s history. Every year the Museum also plays host to the Thunder Creek Model Train Show (one of the largest model train shows in the province) and Brickspo, an event put on by the Saskatchewan Lego Users Group.