Timeline... 1950 - 1959

The World

The Korean War – June 1950 – July 1953.
1954: Elvis Presley records “That’s All Right” at Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee with Scott Moore and Bill Black.


1957: Lester Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis.
1957: John Diefenbaker becomes the only Conservative Party Leader between 1930 and 1979 to win a National Election. He governed until 1963.


1951: Manitoba Hospital Districts formed. Ivan Scultz, Minister of Health made the expansion of hospital services a priority.

Rivers and Area


Korean War begins.


- locomotives were being converted from coal to diesel. Liquid fueld tanks were installed in the roundhouse.
- at this time 28 crews, 140 men, were employed on the line between Winnipeg and Melville.
- 25 year old James White lost both legs to a train accident.


The Basic Helicopter Training Unit (BHTU) was established at Rivers in August 1953, initially to train RCAF pilots. It became the first tri-service flying training unit in Canada.

The base later became the country's main para-training centre for army, navy and air force personnel.

By mid February Diesel power reduced the running time of trains from Winnipeg   to Edmonton by by several hours – the time was soom cut by almost a day..

The company pile of steam coal was removed.
Freight were checked and on their way in 15 minutes.

In late September a diesel hauled passenger train made a test run from Montreal to Vancouver. By the end of the year the local day yard was shut down.


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visit CJATC Rivers in autumn of 1954

Base Commanding Officer G/C J.A. Sproule, DFC and HRH Prince Philip

Rob Sproule Collection

In Mid May 23 men – four roundhouse and 18 car-department employees were terminated..
An old engine well known in the regionNo. 7398, now refitted with a diesel engine passed through with passengers  who had been prevented from boarding a fog-bound TCA Airliner in Winnipeg.
The Edmonton Eskimos Grey Cup Special stopped in Rivers both going to and coming from their victory. Local gained souvenirs including a piece of a goal post presented to the mayor, Mr. Stratford.

Highway 25 opened to traffic, and the first car accident injury on tha road occurred.


Rivers, the first place on a main line in Canada to have known coal-burning locomotives, was the last place to see their use.   P147

The meeting of the east-and west-bound Continental trains came to an end with a new CN Cross-Country Passenger service. – the Super Continental. Twelve hours running time was cut from a montreal – Vancouver trip.


By 1956, Army helicopters pilots were also training at Rivers. After the closure of the helicopter school at RCN Air Station HMCS Shearwater, the Royal Canadian Navy began sending trainees to Rivers as well, making the BHTU the first tri-service flying training unit in Canada.


Rivers beca,e the central receiving station for messages from Caye to Uno, with the installation of telephone-teletype facilities here
d station dispatchers.
- continental passengers service was reduced to “local” status.

A ski hill operated just south of the base in the valley of the Little Saskatchewan.

Gerry Logan Collection