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Celebrating White Rock's 50th Anniversary with Royal Hudson 2860 ~ April 15th, 2007

by Elizabeth Guenzler

West Coast Rail Tours, a division of the West Coast Railway Association, advertised a White Rock Rail Excursion from Vancouver to White Rock, which was the signature event to celebrate the City of White Rock's 50th anniversary of incorporation. This steam excursion would be led by Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2860, the Royal Hudson, and it would be my first time riding behind this historic engine.

CPR 2860 History

This series of engines was numbered 2800 to 2864 and the first was delivered in 1929. Starting with No. 2820, the Hudsons received the streamlining treatments so popular in the 1930's. No. 2850 (now at the Canadian Railway Museum in Delson, Quebec) was assigned to haul the Royal Train during the visit to Canada by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) in 1939. This was the first rail tour for a reigning monarch. The Royals were to travel westbound on the Canadian Pacific and eastbound on the Canadian National. No. 2850 and twelve passenger cars were given the honour of transporting the King and Queen. In preparation, 2850 was painted in royal blue and silver, with the addition of the Royal Coat of Arms adorning the front and sides of the tender. Imperial Crowns adorned the side running boards of the locomotive as well. Number 2851 headed a pilot train preceding the Royal Train, however, it was in the standard tuscan and gloss black paint scheme, with Imperial Crowns adorning the running boards. The locomotive performed flawlessly and impressed the King greatly. The CPR received permission to designate the streamlined Hudsons "Royal" and eventually each locomotive was equipped with a crown fastened to their running boards.

White Rock History

Located forty-five minutes south of Vancouver, south of the City of Surrey and five minutes from the United States border, White Rock is a seaside community which is directly tied to the railway linking British Columbia to Washington state. The tracks are owned by BNSF Railway and run alongside the promenade at the beach. This was originally the Great Northern Railway and it opened up White Rock and Crescent Beach to tourists from Vancouver and New Westminster in the early 1900's. In the 1950's, White Rock residents began to feel isolated from the then-District of Surrey, where development was being concentrated elsewhere, particularly in North Surrey and Cloverdale. On April 15th, 1957, a special warrant from the Government of British Columbia created the City of White Rock within its present boundary. The city derives its names from a large white boulder on its beach near the promenade, a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last glaciation.

The Trip

There were half a dozen train and motor coach options offered. The one that suited Bob and I the best was to chase from Vancouver to White Rock, ride the train back to Vancouver where Bob would take the motor coach back to White Rock to pick up his car. I took the B.C. Ferry to Tsawwassen two days before and we scouted photo locations and a few other things the day before the event.

A light engine move of Southern Railway of B.C. SD38 382, MP15DC 153 and SD38 381 coming off the Fraser River bridge.

Amtrak Cascades 510 crossing the Fraser River bridge en route to Pacific Central station. Superliners were substituting for the normal Talgo consist at this time.

The rear of Amtrak Cascades crossing the Fraser River with the Pattullo Bridge behind.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2860 (Royal Hudson) leading the special train over the Fraser River Bridge en route to White Rock.

The Royal Hudson, former Canadian Pacific FP7 4069 and BNSF SD9 1724 pull the excursion train on the trestle bridge coming off the Fraser River.

WCXX FP7A 4069 (ex. VIA 6569 1995, exx. VIA 1425 1980, exxx. VIA 4069 1979, exxxx. CP 4069 1978, exxxxx. CP 1425 1965, nee CP 4069 1954) crossing the trestle bridge.

Royal Hudson 2860 travelling through Brownsville.

The train headed toward White Rock. Upon our arrival, we met a fellow member of the E&N Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, who kindly offered to drive me back to the ferry terminal upon return to Vancouver as he was heading back to Victoria as well. I then photographed the train's consist which was a mixture of coaches from the Kamloops Heritage Railway, the West Coast Railway Association and Rocky Mountaineer.

Kamloops Heritage Railway coach 405 (ex. RMRX 5611, exx. Waterloo and St. Jacbos 5611, exxx. TTSL 5611 "Cap Brule" 1997, exxxx. VIA 5611, nee CN 5611 1978), the last car of the southbound steam excursion.

Kamloops Heritage Railway coach 404 (ex. RMRX 5578, exx. Waterloo and St. Jacobs 5578, exxx. TTSL 5578 "Cap Maillard" 1997, exxxx. VIA 5578 1995, nee CN 5578 1978).

WCXX coach 5652 (ex. BCOL 156520 "Capilano" 2002, exx. VIA 5652 1994, nee CN 5652 1978).

WCXX coach 5596 "Paul D. Roy" (ex. BCOL 155960 "Chasm" 2002, exx. VIA 5596 1994, exxx. CN 5596 1978, exxxx. CN 3231 1969, nee CN 59596 1964).

WCXX open car 598 "The Henry Pickering" (ex. Canadian Pacific Mountain Observation car 598 1965, nee CP coach 1422).

Rocky Mountaineer coach 3240 (ex. VIA 3240, exx. VIA coach 5634 1982, exxx. CN 5634 1974, exxxx. CN 3204 1966, nee CN 5634 1963).

Rocky Mountaineer cafe-coach 3237 (ex. VIA 3237, exx. VIA coach 5641 1982, exxx. CN 5641 1978, exxxx. CN 3212 1968, nee CN 5641 1963).

Rocky Mountaineer cafe-coach 3251 (ex. VIA 3251, exx. VIA coach 5626 1983, exxx. CN 5626 1978, exxxx. CN 3205 1968, nee CN 5626 1963).

Rocky Mountaineer cafe-coach 3219 (ex. VIA 3219, exx. VIA coach 5637 1983, exxx. CN 5637 1978, exxxx. CN 3202 1969, nee CN 5637 1963).

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer dressed in the famous red serge uniform was here for the ceremony.

The 50th anniversary cake.

Mayor Judy Forster (term 2003 to 2008) cutting the cake.

The cake quickly disappeared.

What do you do when you run out of the first cake? Cut into a second! White Rock Youth Ambassadors doing the honours.

The Royal Hudson train moves up the line for the return to Vancouver.

WCXX FP7A 4069 ready to lead the train back to Vancouver.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2860 and the throngs of spectators and riders.

A close-up of this famous steam engine before the return trip.

The ticket for this trip. Car 7 was the Henry Pickering open car - the perfect place for this railfan!

Leaving White Rock bound for Vancouver.

White Rock beach and the Pacific Ocean.

The houses of White Rock as seen from the train.

The train making its way out of White Rock.

After Crescent Beach and the trestle bridge, the train went through Mud Bay.

The photo line of railfans and the public at Mud Bay taking in the spectacle of the Royal Hudson excursion train.

Former Canadian Pacific FP7A 4069 leads the train around the curve at Mud Bay.

View from the open car as the train negotiates the Mud Bay curve.

Passing through Colebrook.

The Royal Hudson train on the trestle bridge approaching the Fraser River Bridge.

The rear of the steam excursion crossing the Fraser River. It then made its way to the Rocky Mountaineer station in Vancouver where everyone detrained. Bob returned to White Rock on the motor coach to retrieve his car and head home and I went with Hugh Fraser and his friend to the ferry terminal where we met up with another steam enthusiast, Peter Lofthouse, who had also been in The Henry Pickering open car. We all had dinner in the Pacific Buffet of the ferry, which was a very nice way to end this fantastic day. Upon arrival at Swartz Bay, I returned to my car and drove home.

It had been an excellent day of chasing and riding CPR 2860 for the first time and I would have the opportunity to ride it again three years later.