Lucerne (GTP railway point)

4 miles west of the Yellowhead Pass on the Canadian National Railway
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway station built in 1912

“Presently a gigantic mirror flashed through the trees. We were rounding the eastern arm of Yellowhead Lake, which from its idyllic situation, clear, transparent hue, and reflection of snow-capped battlements and pinnacles, may be aptly described as the Lucerne of British Columbia.” So wrote Frederick Arthur Ambrose Talbot [1880–1924] of his trip through the Yellowhead Pass in 1910, comparing the grandeur with that of Lucerne, Switzerland.

Talbot travelled with a party of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway executives, including Robert Chamberlain Westover Lett [1870-1957], passenger and colonization agent. The railroad laid its track north of Yellowhead Lake in 1912. A G.T.P. train ticket from 1914 shows Lucerne as a stop.

Between Edmonton and the Yellowhead Pass the Canadian Northern Railway and GTP built virtually parallel lines. Lucerne was CNoR division point, and at one time had a Second Class depot. With nationalization and the combining of the CNoR and GTP lines, Lucerne lost its status as a terminal and the depot was removed.

During the Second World War, about 100 Japanese nationals were interned at camps at Lucerne, Rainbow, Moose River, Fitzwilliam, and Red Pass. As forced labor, they cleared a new right-of-way on sections of the Yellowhead Highway. In different groups they cut the timber off much of the road toward Tête Jaune Cache and along the river toward McBride on the one hand and toward Blue River on the other. As a diversion from their other activities, they built a tea house in the Lucerne camp and for several years it remained as a curiosity shown off by the few local people.

The Lucerne Station post office was open from 1914 to 1926; less than ten cancellation marks are known in collections. A post office was also open at Lucerne from 1942 to 1945; no cancellation marks between those dates are known to exist.

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