Beloved railway bridge coming down in the Pembina Valley

WINNIPEG — A piece of Manitoba history, which has stood for more than a century, is coming down.

Crews have begun dismantling a railway bridge, west of the town of La Rivière, Man. 

“It’s sad,” said Debbie Booker on Wednesday. 

“It’s a sign of the times.”

Her family farmed the land next to the bridge, which was built in 1886 and is as old as the town itself. 

Rail service was lost years ago in the town, now best known for its skiing. 

“The schools went out, the elevators went out,” said Greg Currie, who grew up in La Rivière, which has a population of roughly 250. 

“We don’t have a business, so to speak. We’re more of a retirement community,” 

Lately, the bridge has been used for recreation, Currie said. 

People ride quads, fish on top or use it as a backdrop for family photos. 

However, the landmark has become a liability with steep insurance rates for the landlord. 

Both Booker and Currie said they understand why the bridge is being dismantled, but say, it holds a special place in the community. 

Booker’s parents posed on the edge of bridge as teenagers in the 1930s and fell in love. 

“They were courting,” smiled Booker. “My dad (was) in his motorcycle jacket.”

The steel tracks also forged friendships. 

The father of Currie’s childhood friend was a railway station manager, and he would grant them special access. 

“We got to check out the engines every once in awhile which is pretty cool when you’re 10 or 12 years old,” Currie said. 

Van Moffat, whose father and uncle were also railway workers, stopped by the bridge to snap pictures and say goodbye. 

“It’s like a little piece of you,” Moffat said. 

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