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Canadian Pacific 2816 Excursion on Westcoast Express May 4th, 2002

by Elizabeth Guenzler

I cannot recall how I learnt of this rare excursion but it may have been through my steam enthusiast friend and colleague Peter Lofthouse. Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816 was to lead the Westcoast Express commuter train on a special Saturday trip as part of the City of Port Coquitlam's May Day celebrations from Port Coquitlam to Mission and return, a distance of forty-eight miles. Two rides were offered and tickets were very inexpensive so I quickly made plans.

The ticket for this trip. Even though the equipment was commuter cars and therefore there were no vestibules or way to open the windows, it did not matter to me. This was my first opportunity to ride a steam train excursion and to start with newly-restored CPR 2816 (Empress), which became a roving ambassador for Canadian Pacific Railway, was a fine introduction to the world of steam railroading.

After taking the B.C. Ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and driving to Port Coquitlam, I arrived at that city's Westcoast Express station. Westcoast Express opened in 1995 and connects Vancouver with Mission and is Western Canada's only commuter rail network.

Plenty of passengers are ready for this special excursion.

Canadian Pacific Empress 4-6-4 2816 at Port Coquitlam between runs.

BCVX FP59 904 as head-end power for CPR 2816 trip from Port Coquitlam to Mission.

CPR 2816 after arrival back in Port Coquitlam from the first of two trips to Mission. It was readying to proceed to the wye.

The steam engine and head end power for the train between the trips.

Canadian Pacific back-up tender 35508 (used on Delaware and Hudson 4-6-6-4 1517) at Port Coquitlam.

Onlookers and riders alike eager to get their photos of this famous steam engine.

Regular railroading still had to go on and Canadian Pacific GP9 1627 (nee 8813) switches some propane cars.

Canadian Pacific GP9 1627 (nee 8813) and CPR 4-6-4 2816 at Port Coquitlam.

Canadian Pacific 2816 leads the Westcoast Express train to the wye in readiness for the second trip of the day, which I would be riding. The consist was CPR 4-6-4 2816, BCVX F59PH 904, bi-level coaches 211, 208, 219, 216, 218, 202, 205 and 101. Everyone boarded the train for the trip to Mission and we went through Pitt Meadows, Maple Meadows, Port Haney and Mission City on Canadian Pacific's Cascade Sub. Since there were no photographic opportunites on board, I do not have any pictures from the journey itself.

Upon arrival at Mission, the train would reverse and perform a runby. Here is BCVX coach 101, the rear coach of the excursion.

Some of the Westcoast Express coaches reversing past the photo line at Mission.

BCVX coach 211, FP59 904 and CPR 4-6-4 2816 reversing at Mission.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816 on a rainy and cool May day.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816 going under the pedestrian overpass.

Steaming towards the photo line on this wet and cool day.

Canadian Pacific 2816 in full steam in less-than-perfect lighting and weather at Mission. We all reboarded for the return trip to Port Coquitlam and I was very happy to have ridden behind this steam engine. It would be five years until I rode behind it again.