Friday, June 27, 2008

CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour

This year British Columbia is celebrating 150 years as a Crown Colony. There are many events being organized around the province and the first one I was able to take in was the CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour.

From the website: From June 12 to July 6, the CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour will visit British Columbia communities along the Canadian Pacific route. The tour is co-sponsored by Canadian Pacific, which will operate, staff and maintain the train.

The CP Spirit of 150 Train includes the vintage CP 2816 Empress Steam Train and support cars, two vintage passenger coaches, a vintage business car, a heritage baggage car converted into a travelling museum and a vintage stage car.
The train rolled in to my hometown just before 5pm on Thursday, June 26th. It's previous stop was the town where I work so I actually got to see it travelling between the two. (That's the picture above, the train merrily steaming it's way across the flats. I took it while I was stopped at a red light.)

The train was in town from 5-9 and I spent the first two hours of the evening volunteering at the BerryBeat Festival booth (BerryBeat is next week. Watch here for updates :)) The best part about being in the booth was that I had a front row seat for the stage show. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures :(

After my shift in the booth Mom and Dad came down and we toured the museum car together.

The museum car will feature a compact version of Free Spirit: Stories of You, Me and BC, the BC150 exhibition currently on display at the Royal BC Museum. A stage show and costumed performers depicting some of B.C.’s most entertaining and notorious historical figures will help bring history to life.

There was looooong wait to get on the museum car and frankly, I was pretty underwhelmed by the display. There were a few neat things though. Right is a copy of the original declaration establishing BC as a crown colony.

This picture shows the infamous "Flood of '48" when the Fraser Valley was covered in water. (It's a big historical deal around here)

The train is CPR's Empress 2816 Steam Locomotive
CP's 2816 is a class H1b Hudson type locomotive built by Montreal Locomotive Works in December 1930. The CP Empress is now the only surviving H1b Hudson and is one of only a handful of preserved and operating CPR steam locomotives in North America.

Initially the locomotive ran westward out of Winnipeg to Calgary and eastward to Fort William, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay). Locomotive 2816 then moved into service on the Windsor-to-Quebec City corridor. Its last assignment was at the front of a Montreal-Rigaud commuter train, making its final revenue run on May 26, 1960. Having logged more than two million miles in active service, 2816's fires were extinguished.

It's an impressive machine. Note that the wheel is taller than my dad!

They also had this engine which Google tells me is a "Passenger Extra 1401 South", the Canadian Pacific's luxury passenger train.

I love trains so it was neat to see these beauties in the downtown.

No comments: