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Will CPR's Empress steam program be scrapped?

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Posted by PakunaMatata on Saturday, August 27, 2016 11:19 AM


Well, then, in a dreamer's world I would love to see the Big Three of CP steam back in steam someday - 4-6-4 2816, 1948-built 2-8-2 5468, and 1949-built 2-10-4 5934.

CP really knew how to do steam with style and class!

One can always hope!


I assume you mean CP #5935?  #5934 was scrapped in 1959.  Unless of course, you mean #5931, which is outside Heritage Park in Calgary and was, for a long time (incorrectly) numbered 5934.  If either of these locomotives could be restored to operation, it would be #5935, as it is in far better condition, both mechanically and cosmetically.  #5931 would have to be disassembled on-site and trucked to the CP mainline and/or the repair shops, and it's boiler, running & valve gear, bearings, and at least 8 of her 10 drivers would have to be completely replaced.

5468, is a good candidate for restoration though.  She's been displayed indoors, and is in very good condition.

Regarding 2816, I am confident we will see her on the rails again, though it might not happen until after the depression the Alberta (and, to a lesser extent Canadian) economy is going through.

--- Michael Marquardt: Modeling the Canadian Pacific modern era since 1998
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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, September 03, 2016 3:53 PM

5935 would be just great. They are great-looking locomotives.

T1b Selkirk 2-10-4...

Image result for canadian pacific selkirk 2-10-4

P2k Mikado 2-8-2...

Image result for canadian pacific p2k 2-8-2 steam locomotive

H1a Hudson 4-6-4...

Image result for canadian pacific hudson steam locomotive




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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Monday, March 27, 2017 7:04 PM

Methinks it's time to bump this thread, with EHH no longer at CP are there any new updates on 2816 and her situation?  They can't keep her stored indoors at Ogden forever...

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 6:41 PM

Only until the roof caves in.  Then maybe somebody will have some ideas of what to do.

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by kgbw49 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49 PM

CP should send it back to Steamtown where it would at least have a chance to run.

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Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 10:43 PM

Her boiler certificate has expired, so a fair bit of work will be required to put her back in service, even at Steamtown.  At the moment CP's priority is trying to win customers back after EHH lost them.  We can only hope for better times for both CP and the Empress in the future.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 5:23 PM

Is there any place in Canada where big steam is running anymore?

At least 2816 was probably, to borrow a Santa Fe term, laid up in good order.

So perhaps there is a chance. Maybe they should send it to the Friends of the 261 in Minneapolis so they can work on it gradually and have it ready for when 261 has to go down for its next 1472.

2816 is not as powerful as 261 but it could probably do pretty well pulling a dozen cars on the terrain around the Twin Cities.

They might have to cover the name on the tender, though, for trips on lines other than the Twin Cities & Western.

But I suppose now that it has been repatriated to Canada, it will be tough to get it moved, however semi-permanently, back out of Canada.

2816 is a great locomotive and it would be great to see it running again somewhere.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Thursday, March 30, 2017 7:06 PM


Is there any place in Canada where big steam is running anymore?

I don't think so, and there aren't even that many smaller engines running either.  Going from east to west:

Nova Scotia, P.E.I, Newfoundland & Labrador:  None (the latter two have few or no railways).

New Brunswick:  Formerly the Salem & Hillsborough operated an ex-CN ten-wheeler, but they went cold years ago. 

Quebec:  Delson (Canadian Railway Museum/ExpoRail) have never had a large engine running, and even the John Molson replica has been down for at least a year.  Over in Gatineau the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield railway suffered washouts in 2011 and ceased operations then.  Last I heard their equipment (including an ex-Swedish steam engine) was for sale.

Ontario:  The South Simcoe Railway operates ex-CP 136 (of National Dream and 'Tripleheader' fame) and Waterloo Central has a 0-6-0 switcher.  SSR also has a CP 4-6-0 (1057, also part of the Tripleheader) but she has been cold for nearly 20 years.  No big mainline excursions since CN 6060 returned to the west circa 1980.

Manitoba:  Prairie Dog Central's ex-CP 4-4-0 is the only steam here.  I believe the two privately-owned 4-6-0's that were shipped up from the Eastern U.S. not too long ago are stored here, but of course would require a lot of work to run again.

Saskatchewan:  None.

Alberta:  Several operations here.  Calgary's Heritage Park operates three ex-U.S. Army switchers (0-6-0?) on a loop, Fort Edmonton Park has a 2-6-2 originally from the deep South, the Alberta Railway Museum (where I volunteer) operates our ex-CN 4-6-0 1392 on a 0.5 mile demonstration track, and finally the Alberta Prairie Railway runs ex-Mississippian #41 (2-8-0) 20 miles from Stettler to Big Valley, which by my count is currently the longest steam run in the country (eek).  Alberta Prairie also plays host to 6060 (now owned by the non-profit Rocky Mountain Rail Society) when she is running, but unfortunately that has not been the case since 2011 due to much-needed boiler repairs.  Last I heard RMRS had raised about 2/3 of the money needed to fund the repairs, but will not be up and running until summer 2018 at least.  She is the largest operating steam engine in the country when running.  Oh and I almost forgot the now moribund 2816 in Calgary.

British Columbia:  Near Cranbrook Fort Steele has two engines, a 2-6-2 and a Shay (down for repairs) which run on a loop, in the okanagan the Kettle Valley Steam Railway has ex-CP 3716 (2-8-0) on a small section of remaining track, in Kamloops their heritage railway runs ex-CN 2141 (2-8-0, recently back in steam) on a CN spur (formerly they ran all the way to Armstrong before Kelowna Pacific went bankrupt and EHH came to CP), and to round out the mainland the West Coast Railway Association maintains Royal Hudson 2860 in Squamish, but they have not gone on a major run since before the Winter Olympics (2009?).  Over on Vancouver Island there are numerous logging engines preserved at Alberni Pacific (2-8-2T and a Shay) and the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, which has (!) seven (Shays, Climaxes, 0-4-0T).  Not sure how many are operable though.

Finally last (but certainly not least) is the most remote operation of them all, but also easily the most popular:  The bi-national White Pass & Yukon with their 2-8-2's and steam powered rotary plow. 

I never thought about it much until now but the Great White North is pretty bleak for steam, especially once you get east of Alberta.  I think that about rounds them out, let me know if I forgot any.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, March 30, 2017 9:51 PM

SD70M-2Dude, thanks so much for the comprehensive update north of the border.

In a way it is a bit of a bummer, though. Canada had some of the best looking 2 cylinder steam power ever, really across the board.

CP with the Selkirks, Mikados and Hudsons, vestibule-cabbed Consolidations, G3 and G5 Pacifics, Jubilees and Ten Wheelers - all locomotives that looked classy while at the same time looking like they mean business. And the two CP Northerns looked like up-sized versions of the H1 Hudsons - again, just downright classy.

CN with Hudsons, multiple classes of Mountains both streamlined and semi-streamlined, and practically more Northerns than Her Majesty's Army had regiments, all well designed engines of commerce that did the job very well and looked good doing it.

We will keep our fingers crossed that at least one of those robust steeds will again gallop the rails of The Dominion.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:00 PM

The story of 6060, some featured in this video are dead, I have met some others, who all retain their passion for steam.  Ever the dreamer, Harry Home is still plugging away at her, raising money and arranging work.  He even found some spare time to organize a repainting of the 6015 which is displayed in his hometown of Jasper, on the same spot where 6060 sat cold and dead for years.  Video:


Image result for cn 6015

Alberta Railway Museum engines, 1392 operates each summer, vestibule-cabbed Consolidation #73 (last surviving N.A.R. engine) needs $500,000 of boiler work, photo of her is in happier days after being saved from a scrapyard and restored:

Image result for cn 1392

110299: Cromdale AB CHRA-APRA ex Northern Alberta railways No 73

A bit off-topic, but you'd think if us dreamers and volunteers can spare some of our money, time, sweat and tears to keep steam alive that a multi-billion dollar Class I railroad could find a way to justify using one of their own as a P.R. tool (see I'm staying on topic CoolYeah).  Guess we'll see whether Creel's CP still has a heart, or if Hunter killed it off forever.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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