The 1939 Royal Train toured North American: the event that the greatest % of Canadians have ever gone to see in Canadian History.

In 1939 with the threat of war hanging over the World, the King and Queen embarked on a cross Canada tour + sidetrip for the 1st time into the USA to build allied support in the event of war in Europe. What made this trip so remarkable is that they traveled the entire country over the 2 mainline Railways the CPR west and CNR east. As the country was built along the paths of the main railways, connecting all major cities with the population concentrated all along the railways People came by the thousands to see the train as it passed through their area. The Original Hudson #2850 Steam engine that pulled the train West to Vancouver is on Display in Montreal at the Railway Museum in Delson,and the Sister engine operates at present in Vancouver B.C. all summer pulling tour trains. CPR was able to designate by Royal Decree all of their Hudson engines of the same type as "Royal Hudson" as 2850 had operated so reliably over the entire Canadian trip. The original 2 coaches that serviced the Royal visitors are in good condition & stored at the National Science Museum in Ottawa. Following is a comemerative Royal Tour coin top reads 1939, you can see Royal Sheild at top, and a map of Canada, rivers are outlined , Hudsons Bay sticks out prominently, and if you look closely you can see the highlighted lines acorss Canada showing the Route of the Royal Tour on the CPR west and CNR east and into the US.

The following is an excerpt from the Surrey Leader June 1939 , ( the 7th I believe!) From the Surrey Museum Achives

THEIR MAJESTIES ENJOY LOCOMOTIVE RIDE

Queen Elizabeth , whose beauty and simple charm has endeared her to Canadians from coast to coast, completely won the hearts of Canadian Pacific Railway Engineer Jock Rutherford and Fireman Stan Lea of giant locomotive 5919 in which Their Majesties rode over the scenically beautiful section of mountains from Beavermouth to Stoney Creek, B.C. in their westward trip across Canada.

Their Majesties forsook the luxury of their special cars for a supreme railroading thrill a ride in the leading engine of a "triple-header" . Their Royal Train at this point being powered by three of the Canadian Pacific Railway's largest locomotive's.

With W.M. Neal, vice president , western lines of Canadian Pacific Railway, Their Majesties entered the locomotive cab at Beavermouth. The 5900 class locomotives, the Selkirks, consist of ten new T1b locomotives designed last year by H.B. Bowen, chief of motive power and rolling stock, Canadian Pacific Railway, to power heavy passenger and freight trains in the Rocky Mountains. They are a further development of 20 locomotives of the same type which were built in 1920 and which have given most efficient service between Field and Revelstoke. Each huge oil burner with its tender weighs 728,000 pounds and has 10 63 inch driving wheels. It develops 5,000 horsepower, which is sufficient to haul 12 steel cars or 1,050 tons up a 2.2% grade. This is equal to more than 12,000 tons on level track. The engine has a maximum tractive effort of 90,000 pounds and the cylinder dimensions are 25 inches with a 32 inch stroke.

The above is a photo I took of Selkirk 5931 on display at Calgary Heritage Park. This is the same engine as described above.

To view photos of the Royal Train go to the BC Government archives web site, then select 1939 Royal Train in keywords box and select Visual records from the select index box, then click on the highlighted names to see the photos and click on the thumbnail size photos for a full page view! Click here to enter the BC Government archives search files.

The following is from an ad in the Surrey Leader May 24th 1939 from the Surrey Museum Archives collection.

It is of interest in particular for the travel times of the old interurbans from the Fraser Valley through to New Westminster and then onto Vancouver. A committee is curently attempting to get a modern light rail passenger train operating over this historic interurban track through the Fraser Valley discountinued some 40+ years ago. And Greater Vancouver's Skytrain follows most of the original interurban route from New Westminster to Vancouver.

Special Royal Visit Train for May 29th Departure times of special train as follows:

B.C. Electric Railway Company Limited

 

A video of the Royal Tour can been viewed by contacting Aviation and rail videos!. I am looking for information and photos of the original Royal Train in order to build an O Scale model of the complete train. This train also visited the 1939 New York worlds fair. Anyone have any information on this fair or the Rail displays there? Please Contact me if you have anything to share; Thanks!

 

 Back to main index