Click to enlarge
 Click to enlarge
To view all the photographs with this article click on the map above.
 Beagles on Board

CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour


As I assemble this article the Canadian Pacific Spirit of 150 Rail Tour pulled by their steam locomotive number 2816, the Empress, is still in progress. It will end 6 Jul 2008 in Vancouver. If you hurry you still have time to catch the train!
2008 marks a very special anniversary in British Columbia:  150 years of cultural diversity, community strength, and widespread achievement since the founding of the Crown Colony of British Columbia in 1858.
On 19 Nov 1858, the new colony's governor, Sir James Douglas, read the official proclamation that cemented one of the most significant events in B.C.'s history. Arguably, if it hadn't been for that moment, Canada may not have extended from coast to coast and B.C. might not be the strong, vibrant, united province that it is today.
There are many things to celebrate. From the contributions of Aboriginal peoples, to the stories of the pioneers who followed the gold rush and set down roots here, this is a time to honour the diversity and widespread achievements of the people who built this province, while also setting our sights on all the opportunities the future holds.
BC150 is more than just a year-long party; programs like the B.C. Spirit Squares, local museums, and arts funding, schools programs, and new exhibitions will create legacies for generations to enjoy. Every British Columbian is invited to join in the BC150 festivities and demonstrate to one another, the rest of Canada, and the world why B.C. truly is the best place on earth.
Free Spirit:  Stories of You, Me, and BC
Free Spirit:  Stories of You, Me, and BC is a major exhibition at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the establishment of British Columbia as a Crown Colony.
The Royal BC Museum hit the rails with a travelling version of this current exhibition. A train car filled with displays and artifacts from the Royal BC Museum collections started its four week tour of southern BC from Sparwood on 12 Jun 2008.
The CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour, incorporates this exhibition, several vintage rail cars and a touring stage show with actors in period costumes, will visit 34 communities from the Kootenays and Rockies to Shuswap, Fraser Canyon, and the Lower Mainland. The tour ends in Vancouver on 6 Jul 2008.
"We've converted a 1958 Union Pacific baggage car into a rolling museum", said Ken Johnson, designer of the exhibit for the Royal BC Museum. "The space is only 85 feet long (25 metres), but it's amazing how much we've been able to include in this exhibit."
At every stop, visitors to the museum car will first encounter a replica of the Douglas Commission, the 1858 document appointing James Douglas as governor of the new colony of British Columbia. A foyer sets the scene for the next three gallery spaces, each focusing on transportation themes and the diversity of BC's regions. With video stations, murals, wall-sized photographs, and panels of interpretive text, the travelling venue provides exquisite context for an impressive collection of on-board artifacts.
Each item reveals a story about a different part of the province and a different time:  a tin beer jug made from the remains of a coffin in Barkerville in the 1860s; a tea pot made in China and used by Chinese railroad construction crews in the 1880s; a set of instruments belonging to one of BC's early physicians who travelled by dogsled to remote communities; a propeller from a plane that years later opened up BC's north. These are just some of the trappings of life in a province on the move, artifacts that bring British Columbia's story to life.
The CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour offers an opportunity for British Columbians living outside the Capital Region to experience part of the Free Spirit exhibition in their own towns.
This month, thousands of BC school kids will get a surprise with their report cards. Along with their grades, 680,000 K-12 students will each receive a free admission coupon for Free Spirit:  Stories of You, Me, and BC at the Royal BC Museum, good for admission until Labour Day.
Canadian Pacific Railway
For almost 120 years Canadian Pacific has been part of the building of British Columbia. Canadian Pacific (CP) is a Class 1 North American railway providing freight transportation services over a 14,000-mile network in Canada and the United States of America. Their corporate headquarters is based in Calgary, Alberta.
Canadian Pacific, the Royal BC Museum, and the Province of British Columbia created a partnership to celebrate B.C's 150th anniversary with a heritage rail tour across the province beginning in Sparwood and culminating at Vancouver on 6 Jul 2008.
2816 - The Empress
The CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour is pulled by vintage steam locomotive number 2816, The Empress. Built by Montreal Locomotive Works in December 1930, 2816 is a class H1b Hudson type locomotive. It is now the only surviving H1b Hudson and is one of only a handful of preserved and operating Canadian Pacific steam locomotives in North America.
Initially, the locomotive ran westward out of Winnipeg to Calgary and eastward to Fort William, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay). Locomotive 2816 then moved into service on the Windsor-to-Quebec City corridor. Its last assignment was at the front of a Montreal-Rigaud commuter train, making its final revenue run on 26 May 1960. Having logged more than two million miles in active service, 2816's fires were extinguished.
Rebuilding of the locomotive began in 1998 and the restoration of 2816 was completed in 2002.
The rebuild team consulted more than 800 engineering drawings of CP class H1b locomotives to rebuild the locomotive from the ground up in much of the same manner it was built more than 75 years ago. These drawings show every nut, bolt, and rivet - hand drawn to scale and accurately identified as to location, size, and material specification.
Today, 2816 is restored to the original specifications with external details from the 1940s and '50s. The vintage steam locomotive and support cars are roving ambassadors for Canadian Pacific's 16,000 employees in 900 communities across North America.

The CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour consist includes:
  • CP 2816 - 4-6-4 H1b Hudson and Tender;
  • CP 35508 - Canteen Tender;
  • CP 1401 - FP9A (facing forward);
  • CP 29114 - Support Boxcar;
  • CP 401573 - Stage Car;
  • CP 96 - Power-Steam Generator Car;
  • RPCX 5503 - Coach (leased);
  • CP 99 - Baggage/Tool Car;
  • CP 102 - Coach Ernest "Smoky" Smith VC;
  • NSRX 9107 - Baggage Shoreview (leased);
  • CP 110 - Sleeper H.B. Bowen;
  • NSRX 800702 - Business Car Lamberts Point (leased).

  • Sparwood - 12 Jun 2008 - Leisure Centre 15:15-17:15
  • Fernie - 12 Jun 2008 - Behind station 18:30-19:30
  • Yahk - 13 Jun 2008 - Between North and Main St.12:15-14:00
  • Creston - 13 Jun 2008 - Millenium Park 16:30-18:30
  • Castlegar - 14 Jun 2008 - CP Station Museum 13:15-15:15
  • Nelson - 14 Jun 2008 - CP station 19:00-21:00
  • Cranbrook - 16 Jun 2008 - 1400 block Theatre Rd. 11:00-15:00
  • Invermere - 16 Jun 2008 - Paradise spur track 19:00-21:00
  • Radium - 17 Jun 2008 - Foresters Rd. crossing 12:45-13:45
  • Golden - 17 Jun 2008 - Across from 7-11 store 18:00-22:00
  • Revelstoke - 18 Jun 2008 - CPR house track 16:00-20:00
  • Craigellachie - 19 Jun 2008 - Last Spike cairn 10:15-11:15
  • Salmon Arm - 19 Jun 2008 - Lordco parking 14:00-17:00
  • Notch Hill - 19 June 2008 - Grade crossing 18:30-20:30
  • Chase - 20 Jun 2008 - Across from RCMP 13:00-15:00
  • Kamloops - 21 Jun 2008 - 300 Lorne St. 10:00-16:00
  • Savona - 23 Jun 2008 - Savona General Store 14:00-16:00
  • Ashcroft - 23 Jun 2008 - West of CP building 17:15-19:15
  • Spences Bridge - 24 Jun 2008 - Across from Inn 09:45-10:45
  • Lytton - 24 Jun 2008 - CP building 12:45-16:45
  • North Bend - 24 Jun 2008 - North of bunkhouse 18:30-20:30
  • Yale - 25 Jun 2008 - Grade crossing 11:30-12:30
  • Hope - 25 Jun 2008 - Old Haig station site 13:45-15:45
  • Agassiz - 25 Jun 2008 - Agra Center 17:00-19:00
  • Mission - 26 Jun 2008 - West Coast Express station 12:45-15:45
  • Abbotsford - 26 Jun 2008 - Gladys Avenue 17:30-21:30
  • Maple Ridge - 27 Jun 2008 - Across from Billy Miner Pub 09:45-11:45
  • Pitt Meadows - 27 Jun 2008 - West Coast Express station 12:30-14:30
  • Port Moody - 29 Jun 2008 West Coast Express station 12:00-14:00
  • Langley - 30 Jun 2008 - Production Way 14:00-16:00
  • Cloverdale - 1 Jul 2008 - Cloverdale Village Square 10:00-16:00
  • New Westminster - 4 Jul 2008 - Advance parking lot 10:00-14:00
  • Ambleside - 5 Jul 2008 - Ambleside Park 10:00-14:00
  • Vancouver - 6 Jul 2008 - Rocky Mountaineer depot 10:00-14:00

News Articles

1 Feb 2008 - History Comes Alive with CP BC Spirit of 150 Rail Tour
1 Feb 2008 - CP BC Spirit of 150 Train connects past and future
14 Apr 2008 - CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour calls on 33 communities
31 May 2008 - Steam Train Trek to Celebrate British Columbia
5 Jun 2008 - CPR Empress Steam Train to Visit
9 Jun 2008 - CPR Spirit of 150 Rail Tour
10 Jun 2008 - Steam Train Comes to Ashcroft
10 Jun 2008 - Let the Tour Begin !
13 Jun 2008 - Steam Train in Kootenays
16 Jun 2008 - Premier joins CP Spirit of 150 Rail Tour in Cranbrook
18 Jun 2008 - Spirit of 150 Rail Tour in Mission June 26
22 Jun 2008 - Vintage Steam Train Coming
24 Jun 2008 - History Comes Steaming In
25 Jun 2008 - Train Admiration
25 Jun 2008 - Traffic Rerouted During Spirit of 150 Stop
27 Jun 2008 - Steam Train Tracks Back Eight Decades
27 Jun 2008 - Riding the Spirit
2 Jul 2008 - Full Steam Ahead!
2 Jul 2008 - All Aboard for History
3 Jul 2008 - History Train
7 Jul 2008 - Historic Rail Tour Makes Final Stop
8 Jul 2008 - Decades of History Take Bow Across Province as Steam Tour Ends

Mapping Software

MapSource is a mapping software sold by the Garmin Corporation. This article provides a downloadable file so you may locate photographs by their latitude and longitude co-ordinates with mapping software on your computer. You require the MapSource program installed on your computer for this file to be useable. If you own a Garmin vehicle GPS navigation system this file may be uploaded from MapSource directly into your vehicle GPS.
Or... you may copy the photo co-ordinates, found with each photo, to Google Maps which will display their location.

Free Spirit:  Stories of You, Me, and BC
Gerald Truscott
2008 - 180 pages - 10.75 x 11.25 inches - softcover
Colour and black and white photographs
Includes a 100-minute DVD
ISBN:  978-0-7726-5870-8
Associated Web Sites

Canadian Pacific Railway
CPR Empress 2816 Steam Locomotive
CPR Microsoft Train Simulator Downloads
The Royal British Columbia Museum
Free Spirit:  Stories of You, Me, and BC
 Up to top
http://www.okthepk.ca     Victoria British Columbia Canada