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Royal Hudson 2860 Trip Vancouver to White Rock Part 2 2/8/2010

by Chris Guenzler

After an excellent morning of photographing Canadian Trains, Bob, Elizabeth and I drove to the Metrotown Skytrain Station parking in the Metrotown Mall parking structure. We walked through the Mall and then across the bridge to the Skytrain Station and bought our tickets. We boarded the next Skytrain and took it five stations west to the Main Street/Science World Station where we got off and walked over to Tim Hortons Donut Shop for lunch. From there we walked over to the VIA Station and checked in with the staff of the Royal Hudson Steam Train Trip we would be taking.

The Royal Hudson Trip to White Rock.

At 1:30 PM we started boarding the train with me in Car 1, the last car, Bob and Elizabeth in Car 2. The consist of our train this afternoon was Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 Royal Hudson 2860, BNSF 6422, WCXX 5652 Capilano Coach, WCXX 5596 "Paul D. Roy" Coach, WCXX 3233 Coach and WCXX 3218 Coach. I was joined by a Canadian Pacific employee who bought his ticket to take the train home to White Rock where he lives. We both had a good time talking together when I wasn't busy taking the pictures for this story.

A Brief History of the Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2860.

The term Royal Hudson refers to the group of semi-streamlined Hudson 4-6-4 steam engines that the Canadian Pacific bought and were built in the Montreal Locomotive Works. King George VI in 1939 allowed the Canadian Pacific to use the name after Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2850 pulled the Royal Train all the way across Canada. Eventually, all of the Hudsons in the streamlined class (2820-2864) were fitted with crowns on their running boards and designated as Royal Hudsons. These locomotives were in service in Canada from 1937 until 1960. Four of these engines were preserved and one, the 2860, still pulls excursion trains in British Columbia. The Royal Hudson engines were used primarily in passenger service but also saw some freight service as well. The Royal Hudson 2860 was built in June of 1940. It was the first locomotive of five to be built new as Royal Hudson and were delivered with the painted cast brass crowns affixed to their skirts. Between 1940 until 1956 it hauled transcontinental passenger trains between Revelstroke and Vancouver. The 2860 had been damaged in a derailment in Vancouver in 1956 but was restored to service by 1957 and was transferred to Winnipeg for prairie service. It was withdrawn from that service and sat in a scrap line of engines for five years. It was then sold to the Vancouver Railroad Museum in 1964. Unable to find a place to display the engine, it was put into storage in the Drake Street Shops in Vancouver. Once again the locomotive faced the risk of being scrapped but it was sold to Joe W. Hussey in 1970. In 1973 Mr. Hussey sold the 2860 to the British Columbia government. The locomotive was then restored by the Robert E. Swanson Railway Appliance Research Limited team and the staff of the Canadian Pacific Drake Street Roundhouse began on November 25, 1973. The 2860 once restored was operated by the British Columbia Department of Travel Industry with the cooperation of the British Columbia Railway. The BCR began steam excursions on June 20, 1974 between North Vancouver and Squamish. It was the only mainline railroad excursion over a mainline in North America. It operated these trips from May until October of each year. The 2860 also traveled North America in the late 1970's to promote BC Tourism even making a trip down to Los Angeles Union Station. After the end of the 1999 tourist season the 2860 broke down with major boiler problems. BC Rail now cash strapped didn't have the funds needed to fix the 2860. The 2860 is still owned by the British Columbia government but is now on permanent loan to the West Coast Railway Association and is housed at the West Coast Railway Park in Squamish. That group then restored the 2860 back to service and on September 2006 it steamed into the WCRA Squamish under her own power for the first time since October 1999. The association plans to operate 2860 on excursion runs and at special events including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Due to the strict "no steam" policy that the CP and CN railroads have these excursions are restricted to special occasions only. The trip I'm riding is for the White Rock Winter Festival and Bite of the Rock event.

Our Trip Today

With the sound of a whistle, at 2 PM, our train began to slowly move forward.

Leaving the VIA Rail Station at Vancouver.

The Royal Hudson took the first big curve of the trip.

Norfolk Southern 9929 visiting New Westminster, Canada.

BNSF New Westminster Station.

BNSF New Westminster scene.

The Fraser River at New Westminster.

A barge on the Fraser River heading towards the railroad bridge ahead of it.

Our train stopped at a red signal due to the bridge being open for a barge.

The open draw bridge for that barge we just saw two picture above.

Looking back a Skytrain came into the second view. Once the bridge was closed we would cross the Fraser River.

The Royal Hudson starts out onto the Fraser River Bridge at New Westminster.

Crossing the Fraser River Bridge at New Westminster.

The Royal Hudson comes off of the Fraser River Bridge.

Scenes along the Fraser River.

Next the Alex Fraser Bridge came into view out my window.

Riverside scene along the Fraser River with the Alex Fraser Bridge

The Fraser River and the Alex Fraser Bridge.

Farmlands across Highway 99.

The line from Roberts Bank joins our line for a short section and it is still controlled by BC Rail even though they were merged in with CN a few years ago.


There is a CN container train in this picture heading to Roberts Bank.

BC Highway 99.

Crossing Mud Bay.

A view looking forward at the Royal Hudson running along the shore of Mud Bay.

Mud Bay.

The back door was my place to be for great pictures looking back.

Views looking back on one beautiful British Columbia afternoon.

Crossing the Nicomekl River.

Views out my window on one beautiful day.

Views looking back as we neared White Rock. A few minutes later and my first trip behind the Royal Hudson was at an end as we stopped at White rock and I detrained.

After we arrived at White Rock I walked to the front of the train and started taking my Royal Hudson pictures.

The Royal Hudson at White Rock.

The famous White Rock from which the City of White Rock of British Columbia got its name.

The Royal Hudson at White Rock.

A beautiful engine on a beautiful afternoon.

The Royal Hudson and train at White Rock from the pier.

One more close up from the White Rock Pier.

A big crowd was still by the Royal Hudson at White Rock.

The Royal Hudson brings out people where ever it travels. We waited for the bus back to Vancouver behind the White Rock Station now a museum. At 5:05 PM it finally arrived and picked us up for the trip back to Vancouver. We made a few stops on Knight Avenue to drop off some of our passengers who had requested it. We were returned to the Via Station and after a brief stop there we headed back to the Skytrain and returned to Metrotown. From here we headed straight to the USA Border at Blaine, Washington. US Customs went very fast after I said we had ridden the steam train and the agent had seen it gone by and thought it was really cool. We stopped at an Applebees for dinner before we drove back to Bob and Elizabeth's home in Lynnwood for the night. Tomorrow I head home via the Coast Starlight.