The Alberta Coal Branch: Ghost Towns of Alberta’s Mining Industry

The Alberta Coal Branch, a chain of abandoned mining towns along the eastern slopes of the central Canadian Rocky Mountains, was once an important part of Alberta’s coal industry.

Home to thousands of people with diverse backgrounds and heritages, the Coal Branch was famous for its guarantee of work and overall prosperity. However, technological advancement that once necessitated the mines outpaced production and outdated the collieries.

The demand for coal, a resource that heated homes and businesses, fueled rail transportation, and kept the Albertan economy running steadily, decreased with the introduction of diesel, electricity, and other forms of energy.

In the span of about fifty years, the Coal Branch went from a buzzing industrial region to a series of ghost towns along a deserted railway track.

Learn more about the Alberta Coal Branch at


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