A Visit to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park - What You Will See


Royal Hudson 2860

This locomotive is one of 65 Hudson Class (4 - 6 - 4) locomotives, built for CPR by Montreal Locomotive Works starting in 1929. They were numbered 2800 to 2864. (The class was named Hudson because of the Hudson River by the New York Central which first used the 4 - 6 - 4). Starting with #2820, the Hudson’s got the streamlining treatment so popular in the late 1930’s.


Royal Hudson 2860

 

In 1939, late King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) visited Canada. The No. 2850 was assigned as the Royal train. It performed flawlessly and impressed the King greatly. The CPR requested and received permission to designate the streamlined Hudson’s “Royal” and they were then equipped with a crown fastened to their running boards. There were 45 Hudson’s that were called Royal (2820 to 2864) Now there are only 4 left, with only 2860 operational. (the others are 2850 at Montreal, 2858 at Ottawa and 2839 in California).    Canadian Pacific also has Hudson #2816 operational at Calgary.

Royal Hudson No 2860 worked for the CPR between Revelstoke and Vancouver from its birth in June 1940 until its retirement in 1958. It was rescued from the scrap line in the early 1960's for a proposed railway museum in Vancouver. In 1974, the Province of BC acquired her for an excursion train. “The Royal Hudson” train operated with BC Rail from North Vancouver to Squamish for 25 years until 1999 when it failed its boiler tests. The engine would pull 10 to 15 coaches behind it and it would take 2 men to run it (a fireman and an engineer). The engine and the loaded tender weighs 648,000 lbs (293,00 kg) and has a tractive effort of 42,250 lbs (19,204 kg)  and is capable of speeds of 90 mph (144 kph). Including the tender, it is 90 feet 10 in (27.27 m) long and is 15 feet 10 in (4.7m) high. The tender has a capacity of 12,000 gallons (54,000L) of water and 4100 gallons (18,614L) oil. Today it can cost $25-$30,000 to fill it with fuel. It takes 6 to 8 hrs to get the water pressure up to 250 pounds per square inch. It would take 6 to 8 days for the engine to completely cool down after a run.

In 2002, the Province leased the engine to the District of Squamish for display and restoration at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park.  Funds were raised, and the boiler underwent a compete rebuild. The WCRA returned the locomotive to steam in September of 2006. Since then, Royal Hudson 2860 has seen limited special operations including the 2010 Winter Olympic trips to White Rock and the US border, and charters by clients such as Louis Vuitton who used it as part of their store opening in Vancouver.

 

Royal Hudson 2860

 

Although almost $1 million has been spent so far the work is far from done.

A new fundraiser will launch in June 2015, the locomotive's 75th birthday, to fund the next major work which includes rebuilding the driving wheels and main bearings. Keeping a large steam locomotive operational is a major undertaking but that is the plan.

Seeing a mainline steam locomotive in operation these days is a very rare and special thing.

 

 


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The West Coast Railway Association is a charitable organization
committed to preserving British Columbia's railway heritage.


West Coast Railway Association
PO Box 2790 Stn. Term.
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X2
Canada

Charitable business number: 119292480 RR0001