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The Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 The Four Day Trip Minneapolis to Portal

by Chris Guenzler

Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 Day 1 Shoreham to Glenwood 7/7/2004

The taxi dropped me off right at the train. This beautiful train had the Canadian Pacific Empress 4-6-4 2816, Auxiliary Tender 35508, CP 401753 and CP 29114 tool cars, CP 96 power car, CP 101 Dominion Coach, CP 102 Ernest "Smokey" Smith VC Coach, BCOL 1711 Bowen Crew Sleeper, NSR 9107 Shoreview, CP Assiniboine, Caritas 800045, Montana 800197 and Lambert Point 800702. They boarded the few of us who arrived early to board early at 8:35 AM. I took a seat in the Dominion with its table and this would be my base for the next four days. I met Rob Stagg of Calgary with the CP Rail System Steam Operations. I had conversations with many of a rare mileage friends as we would all get to see this line from Shoreham to Portal all in the daylight. The people who drove their cars into Shoreham had to move them to a location so they would not interfere with yard operations while we were gone. Releases were turned in and all hands were stamped showing that we had turned in our releases. The last of the passengers boarded and we were ready to roll to start my first trip behind, The Empress, Canadian Pacific 2816.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 whistled off at 10:00 AM with 70 passengers and we headed west to the wye along the BNSF where we turned north leaving Shoreham yard heading to get access to the CP Rail mainline as my new mileage began. We curved to the west and entered the CP mainline at University Ave. We crossed over the BNSF Northtown Yard on a long bridge.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the Mississippi River with a great view looking south towards downtown Minneapolis then our train crossed Interstate 94. We headed west through the northwest suburbs to Humboldt Yard. The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed a lake that was linked by a bridge we crossed. At Crystal we crossed the former Great Northern {BNSF} line that used to go to St Cloud but now goes only to Monticello. Next we reached the former Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern now operated by the Twin Cities and Western. The Canadian Pacific 2816 rolled through Plymouth and onto Hamel where we crossed over Minnesota Highway 55 that would follow our route into North Dakota. Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc has their large plant west of town. We have now left urban Minneapolis behind and headed out in the lands of farming and forests. The Canadian Pacific 2816 reached the town of Loreto with a 7,847 foot siding, the first since Humboldt Yard. Another large lake was off to the south of the train while on Highway 55 the pacers were providing plenty of entertainment. Dangerous Dan for Kansas City was spotted by the riders on our train. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Rockford and crossed high over the Crow River and that was followed by traveling across the green rolling countryside. We rolled by the 9,200 foot siding at Dickinson.

We steamed through Buffalo with the Soo Line Station still standing. We ran west into Maple Lake then passed a collection of old railroad equipment the Don Lind has assembled called the Minnesota and Western. I would say that nature has taken over this museum. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Annadale and onto South Haven with its 8,477 foot siding. We crossed high over the Willow Creek before the Canadian Pacific 2816 whistled through the town of Kimball with the Kimball Rail Car Repair facility west of town. We stopped in Kimball to service the Canadian Pacific 2816.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 left Kimball at 12:43 PM and the engine provided great engine sounds as it took off. Highway 55 crossed over to the south side of the tracks. The 2816 steamed through Watkins and later Eden Valley. A beautiful lake was off to the north and many more would be seen along our route today. Remember Minnesota has 10,000 lakes! At Payensville in the 7,651 foot siding the ex Conrail 5413 along with a NS unit was waiting for the Canadian Pacific 2816 to head west. Highway 55 crossed over to the north side and under the bridge is where a former Great Northern line once crossed our route before we proceeded to Regal. The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the North Fork of the Crow River. Our train went into the siding at Murray for an eastbound freight with Soo 6004, CP 8813, CP 9612 and Soo 4443. That train then came to a stop for ten minutes before it headed east. He was followed by a three unit CP Rail 5926 East. On the move again Highway 55 crossed back to the south side of the tracks as the Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Belgrade and onto Brooten. The train rolled through Sedan that was named for a city in France where a battle was fought on September 1st, 1870 that led to the establishment of France as a republic. From there the Canadian Pacific 2816 rolled the remaining miles into Glenwood and we were told we could leave things on the train overnight. My wheel cart and my bag with my dirty laundry could stay on the train until Minot. We arrived into Glenwood at 3:10 PM. I took my overnight bag and backpack and after taking some pictures I boarded the school bus to Alexandria with the other 20 people riding all the way through to Portal.

Alexandria 7/7/2004

The bus took us the 17 miles to the Holiday Inn where once I checked in, I checked my E-mail and went to my room. After relaxing, I went to Rudy's Redeye Grill having an excellent Ribeye Sirloin. That evening I watched "Finding Nemo". I called it a night and got another excellent nights rest.

7/8/2004 Up early I cleaned out my E-mail before walking across Interstate 94 to Perkins for French Toast and Sausage Breakfast. I checked out and the bus showed up at 7:35 AM to take us back to Glenwood. I photographed the front and back of our train plus the former Soo Line Station still in use by CP Rail.

Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 Day 2 Glenwood to Enderline 7/8/2004

At 9:48 AM the Canadian Pacific 2816 started backing us up to the mainline in front of the station. At 10:00 AM the Canadian Pacific 2816 slowly pulled through the yard and after a switch was thrown we left Glenwood for good with 26 passengers aboard. The Canadian Pacific 2816 slowly pulled through the yard and had to throw a switch before we could leave Glenwood for good. The Canadian Pacific 2816 passed the junction with the line to Thief River Falls and crossed Highway 29 as we picked up speed. The Canadian Pacific 2816 slowed to almost a walking speed as we passed a derailment site after MP 125 with tank cars and containers all over the ground north of the tracks. We ran through Lowry and Farewell as we ran across the rolling landscape. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Kensington befre ran out into the countryside. Minutes later we crossed the Chippawa River on a fill before we reached Hoffman. At Hoffman East we met CP Rail 9732 East sitting in the siding with a double stack train. Heading west more lakes occupied any low spot on the earth's surface as we ran through a few deep cuts. The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the North Pomme de Terre before whistling through Barrett with Barrett Lake to the north. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed into Elbow Lake, a town named for the lake south of town. More lakes were passed before the Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the Mustinka River before we rolled through Wendell. We came down a hill onto a flat plain where various forms of farming took place. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Nashua {population 69} and slowed for a yellow at the approach to the BNSF Fargo to Wilmar line and the former route of the Empire Builder. There is a wye and interchange track between the BNSF and CP Rail here. We made a slight turn to the west and ran to Terry, MN.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 minutes later crossed the Boise de Sioux River to enter North Dakota leaving Minnesota behind. The Canadian Pacific 2816 ran to Veblem Jct where off to the south was a single unit Soo Line local waiting for us to clear. The Canadian Pacific 2816 ran under Interstate 29 before we ran through Oswald with its long siding. We ran into Hankinson where the Canadian Pacific 2816 was serviced. The CP Crew then announced that we would do a Photo Runby in fifteen minutes. That put a smile on all the passenger's faces.

We left Hankinson at 1:03 PM and turned to the northwest heading towards Enderline our destination for today's trip. The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the Wild Rice River and slowly rolled into Mantador where we all unloaded to do the first ever Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 Photo Runby in the United States.

After the Canadian Pacific 2816 backed up, it charged forward much to the delight of all the passengers. Thank you CP Rail! We all said thank you to our fine Canadian Pacific onboard staff. We proceeded to run through Moselle and they announced that we would do another Photo Runby. We came to a stop short of North Dakota Highway 13 Bridge at a grade crossing and all unloaded again.

Here the Canadian Pacific 2816 did another fantastic Photo Runby. Thanks again CP Rail! Back on the move again, we ran through Wyndmere and crossed the Red Valley and Western {RRV&W} protected by a small crossing gate. There have been no chasers to follow us since we left Hankinson as there was no road running alongside the tracks anymore. They would not be rejoining us until tomorrow at Fessenden. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through McLeod with a thunderstorm brewing in the north. It was a sea of grass on both sides of the tracks as we approached Orchid siding before we crossed the Sheyenne River for the first time. North of Anselm we crossed the RRV&W Line at Ransom Jct. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed the last few miles into Enderline with a large ADM plant ending another fantastic Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 trip at 3:33 PM. Following a few pictures, I boarded the bus.

The Bus 7/8/2004

We headed east down the North Dakota Highway 45 only minutes later the driver had to back the bus off the road as a full size house was westbound down the highway. It was part of a house convey. We took 45 through Kindred to Interstate 29 which we took north to Fargo then turned east on Interstate 94 to Moorehead. The bus dropped us off at a Courtyard by Marriott for the night. I went to the restaurant next door and had the worst meal of the whole trip. I relaxed the rest of the evening away.

The Bus Back to the Train 7/9/2004

We left right at 7:00 AM and with no houses to content with about an hour later we were back in Enderline. My overnight bag was placed on the train for the final time on this CP Rail trip before pictures were taken around the yard. These included the Canadian Pacific 2816, a patched Milwaukee Road unit, a Soo Line Wedge Plow and the rear of our train.

Frank Sandberg clicked a picture of me and the Canadian Pacific 2816.

Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 Day 3 Enderline to Minot 7/9/2004

We departed at 8:59 AM and slowly made our way out of town stopping and going before the Canadian Pacific 2816 climbed out of town. We picked up speed running to Lucca where another RRV&V Railroad Line that ran west to Marion. Northwest of there we split a lake before we reached Fingal. The train ran by the siding of Eagle before steaming through Cuba, North Dakota. As we passed Siding 280, I was interviewed by Cory of ABC Channel 6 of Fargo, North Dakota. We closed in on Valley City as we went under Interstate 94 and descended into the valley.

We went under the former Northern Pacific Trestle that spanned the whole valley. We pulled into Valley City {North Valley} where we detrained a few passengers. The Canadian Pacific 2816 was passed by the CP 6059 West with an ex Conrail unit along for the ride.

We backed up to the grade crossing where we detrained for a Photo Runby with the NP Trestle off to the south. Once we were all aboard, the Canadian Pacific 2816 started to climb out of Valley City. Once we passed the west end of the siding, the Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the Sheyenne River then climbed the steep grade out of the valley with me riding in the vestibule for the entire climb.

Once on top, the Canadian Pacific 2816 returned to the flatness of the plain. The Canadian Pacific 2816 rolled under North Dakota Highway 1 before we passed through Rogers. Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Wimbledon where the Midland Continental Station and a caboose is on display. West of Courtney every low spot has a lake and deer were spotted along our route. We ran down the mainline as we met a CP local in the siding at Kensal. The grain elevator here has a center cab switcher and the Canadian Pacific 2816 was serviced here.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 departed Kensal at 12:32 PM to continue our trip west. We crossed the James River then twisted and turned to gain more elevation as we passed more lakes and a fenced in Elk Farm. Another large lake off to the north greeted our arrival into Borduac. After crossing more farmlands we came to Carrington and crossed another RRV&W rail line this one running north to Maddock. We passed by canola fields with their bright yellow leaves before we steamed through Cathay then on to Emrick with a siding outside of town. We proceeded to Fessenden where I saw Bob filming the train. We ran through Manfred before crossing the James River and then we passed a highway sign reading "Continental Divide 1212 Feet". This is the divide between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. If you walked this divide west it would take you to the Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park where the north/south Continental Divide intersects this divide. Is North Dakota an exciting place? We ran the last few miles into Harvey where the Canadian Pacific 2816 was serviced and we were allowed to detrain.

I walked over to the park for a picture of the Soo Line 2-8-0 440 on display there.

Next to the front of the train with the Harvey Depot in the view. Check out the Soo line on the bridge.

The final picture was off of the walkway of the end of the train. I talked to Bob and told him about the change of hotels but he made other plans so I would be on my own in Minot for the two nights. Bob and his nephew would ride the train tomorrow and would board Amtrak in Devils Lake Sunday.

Leaving Harvey we passed one westbound then an eastbound CP Rail train refueling on the mainline. Once we got up to track speed we ran through Martin with Bob filming from the car then the 2816 climbed the grade to reach Anamoose. Here we are within four miles of the former GN {BNSF} Surrey Cutoff, the main freight line to the northwest. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed through Drake where we passed a local and the junction of the CP Rail branch out west to New Town. We crossed the Wintering River then ranching had taken over as the landscape had become drier. A sea of yellow {canola} was off to the south as we approached Belfour. The Canadian Pacific 2816 ran though Bergen {blink and you missed it!} then on to the town of Voltaire. The Canadian Pacific 2816 ran through a short valley between the hills to Velva. From here we would follow the Mouse River all the way to Minot. The Canadian Pacific 2816 went through Swayer where we saw the results of another derailment with tank cars on flats and wheels in gondolas. We ran by Logan siding with a CP Rail double stack train waiting for us to pass. We traveled though some forest as we reached the Minot yard limit. We ducked under US Highway 2 and reached Siding 466. We stopped in the yard before we proceeded to the Team Track where the train would lay over for the night before 6:00 PM. That ended another journey behind Canadian Pacific 2816. Three trips down, one more Canadian Pacific 2816 trip to go!

Minot 7/9/2004

The International Hotel Shuttle vans were MIA so ten minutes after we arrived Joe Harper found a taxi and three of us took it to the hotel for $2 apiece. I checked in, did the E-mail thing and later Dave and Lynne walked with me to KFC for dinner. I returned to the hotel for a quiet night of television.

Canadian Pacific Empress 2816 Day 4 Minot to Portal 7/10/2004

Following the answering of some E-mail I went to breakfast and found the Canadian Pacific 2816 on the front page of the Minot newspaper. Joe and I took the shuttle down to Amtrak and we walked to the train via the Soo Line Station. A Canadian Pacific freight headed west by the Canadian Pacific 2816. After some pictures of the Canadian Pacific 2816 we talked to Doyle McCormick about various topics. I boarded the Canadian Pacific 101 Dominion for the final time on this trip aboard, The Empress, the Canadian Pacific 2816.

Bob and his nephew Dale from Forest River, ND joined me at my table before they left for the open baggage room doors of the Shoreview. At 10:00 AM the Canadian Pacific 2816 started backing up out of the house track to start our trip.

We proceeded through downtown Minot, by the Soo Line Depot and under the Broadway Bridge. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed by the Amtrak Depot and then crossed the BNSF line at Soo tower. We crossed the Mouse River before heading out of Minot passing a large quarry.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 followed the Mouse River northwest and then the former Great Northern Gassman Trestle, that I would be riding home on the Empire Builder, came into view. Highway 2 followed our route as far as Burlington where North Dakota 52 picked up our route. From Burlington our train would be following the Des Lacs River Valley. We reached the siding at Foxholm and rolled through the town of the same name. Later the Canadian Pacific 2816 whistled through Carpio and then it was nine more miles to Donnybrook then by the siding at Baden.

The hills have numbers of high school years of graduations from 1964 to 2004 for miles made out of rocks that are seen for miles. We ran along Lower Des Lacs Lake. The Canadian Pacific 2816 crossed the lowlands before running across the middle of the lake then ran along the east side of the lake into the town of Kenmare.

Here we did a Photo Runby and the sun stayed behind the clouds with the Canadian Pacific 2816 putting out the best smoke of any of the runbys yet. We sat for almost a half hour while the tracks ahead of us were inspected.

We departed Kenmare with me taking a picture of a Soo Line Wedge Plow with a face painted on it. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed by the junction with the North Plains Railroad.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 climbed out of the Des Lacs River Valley with the southern end of Upper Des Lacs Lake down in the valley below. We climbed up to a flat plain and ran to the siding of Spiral where we held the mainline for the CP Rail 9760 East. On the move again we crossed the BNSF line to Northgate with a CN connection there.

The Canadian Pacific 2816 ran though Bowbells where a grain elevator had an SW-1 to switch their plant. Northwest of Bowbells there were oil wells spread out across the landscape. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed to Flaxton where we set out the Shoreview. Next we backed onto the Assiniboine before we pulled forward of the switch. The Canadian Pacific 2816 then backed the Point Lambert onto the Shoreview and we were set to go. Why did this have to be done here. Track in Portal was not set up to do a move as the non CP Rail Cars would be returning to the Twin Cities from Portal on a freight train. Flaxton is also the junction of a DMV&W line and they had a long string a grain cars with a gap with three units sitting, two ex Canadian National. The Canadian Pacific 2816 steamed by more canola fields, lakes and oil wells as we closed in on Portal. Our train reached the yard limits before we slowly rolled through the yard and by the turntable. The Canadian Pacific 2816 came to a stop in Portal at 2:38 PM ending my wonderful Canadian Pacific 2816 adventure. Total steam miles for this whole trip with the Milwaukee Road 261 and Canadian Pacific 2816 was 1,601.2 rail miles.

I detrained one happy train rider and took several pictures of the Canadian Pacific 2816 and Portal Station. I could see Canada just fifty feet away. A special thanks to Canadian Pacific and the Friends of Milwaukee Road 261 for these excellent excursion.

The bus to Minot 7/10/2004

I took the front seat and Joe joined me. Judy Sandburg thanked all of us and told us all of some planned future trips. We left for Minot, stopped to drop off a family in Kenmare before we took a delay for road construction waiting for a pilot car for fifteen minutes. We returned to the International Hotel at 5:00 PM.

Minot 3 7/10/2004

I had dinner at the hotel with John Chule of Minneapolis who rode the Milwaukee Road 261 Milwaukee to Chicago and Canadian Pacific 2816 Minot to Portal. I watched part of "Atomic Train" with the people taking Amtrak in the lobby and it was good for a few laughs. Once they all took the Shuttle to an on time Amtrak Empire Builder before I called it a night.

Click here for Part 8 of the story.