History of the mine rescue car and how it served the mines of
Alberta. Include in this a component on the earlier history of
the car and how it is tied into our national history.
Alberta's first mine rescue station was established at
Blairmore in 1911. It was in response to an explosion in the
West Canadian Collieries mine at Bellevue on 10 December 1910.
Thirty-one men lost their lives.
The Blairmore Mine Rescue Station served as a model for
stations organized in 1912 and 1913 at Lethbridge and Coalhurst.
Alberta realizing the importance of rescue work in a Province
that had so many coal mines, also equipped a railway car - Mine
Rescue Car No. 1, which was at first stationed in Blairmore, but
also toured mining camps in both B.C. and Alberta.
Mine Rescue Cars were equipped to sleep twelve men and were
kept in constant readiness to proceed immediately to the scene
of a catastrophe. Two teams of five men each were maintained at
each major mine so that they could be called on if necessary
While training, men were paid 50 cents per hour, each man being
required to undergo eight trainings of three hours each and then
one training per month to maintain a constant state of
By 1919 there were three mine rescue cars and six mine rescue
stations in use throughout the coal fields of the province.
Duncan McDonald had become General Superintendent of Mine Rescue
Stations and Cars.