CPKC Sets Final Spike Anniversary Steam Tour Schedule

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Canadian Pacific Kansas City’s long-awaited Final Spike Anniversary Steam Tour of Canadian Pacific Hudson 2816, The Empress, from Calgary to Mexico City to mark the one-year anniversary of CPKC’s official merger, kicks off April 24 in Calgary.

Public events will be held in multiple cities across the network. Steam tour events will be held in Moose Jaw, Minot, St. Paul, Franklin Park, Davenport, Kansas City, Shreveport, and Laredo. At these stops, the public will have the opportunity to see the 2816 up close, learn more about the locomotive and CPKC’s history and enjoy the Puffer Belly Express mini-train, a quarter-scale steam locomotive model. In Mexico City, 2816 will be spotted for public display.

Why is 2816 called The Empress? CPKC explains: “Canadian Pacific (CP) wanted a title that conveyed elegance and nobility with a tie-in to CP’s history. CP’s premier passenger ocean liners were all titled Empress, (Empress of Australia, Empress of Russia, Empress of Britain, etc.) and the call sign of CP Air Lines was also Empress.”

The Empress

  • Locomotive Number: 2816.
  • Class: H1b.
  • Builder: Montreal Locomotive Works.
  • Date built: December 1930.
  • Last revenue run: May 26, 1960.
  • Type: Hudson.
  • Wheel arrangement: 4 – 6 – 4.
  • Tractive effort: 45,300 pounds (20,548 kg).
  • Driving wheel diameter: 75 inches (190.5 cm).
  • Total operating weight (including tender):  643,000 pounds (291,665 kg).
  • Extreme length (including tender): 91 feet 2 inches (27.8 meters).
  • Extreme height: 15 feet 3 inches (4.6 meters).
  • Original cost: $116,555.
  • Converted from coal to oil: March 1999.

The Empress was built in December 1930 by Montreal Locomotive Works. Originally intended for fast freight and passenger service, the locomotive worked primarily in Eastern Canadaf or nearly 30 years before retiring on May 26, 1960. It served as a roving steam-powered ambassador for Canadian Pacific throughout Canada and the U.S. before being placed in storage in 2012. Now, after a decade of slumber, the iconic has been carefully prepared to once again travel the rails, this time on CPKC’s three-nation, single-line transnational railroad.

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