Canadian Pacific Railway Set-off Siding
Volume 15 Number 16
Dec. 4, 1985
Vintage Equipment
at Ceremony
By Dave Jones
Preserved:  Still riding the rails 100 years after being on site at the original driving of the last spike, car 76 formed the backdrop to a photo taken after the 1885 ceremony. Here, the son of Manager of Construction James Ross, Johnny, plays with a spike maul while a few witnesses of the ceremony look on.

In Omer Lavallee's book, "Van Horne's Road", this same photo appears but the caption says this is Van Horne's son, Benny, playing with the spike maul.

Carrying the many distinguished participants to the re-enactment ceremony at Craigellachie, 7 Nov 1985, were several vintage pieces of railway equipment.

Hauling the special steam train, which shuttled the dignitaries from Revelstoke to the site, was ex-Canadian Pacific class G5a locomotive 1201, participating in the event through the courtesy of the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, where it was sent for preservation in November 1966.

John Corby, curator of industrial technology at the museum, was responsible for the locomotive and accompanied it all the way from Ottawa to ensure its safe and efficient operation.

Number 1201 is a 4-6-2 type locomotive designed by H.B. Bowen, chief of motive power and rolling stock for Canadian Pacific, and was outshopped from Angus Shops in June 1944.

It was the last of 1,056 steam locomotives built by the CPR, and was a familiar site in the Montreal area, operating out of Glen Yard for virtually its entire career. The trip to Craigellachie is the farthest west that 1201 has ever ventured.

Painted in its original livery and sporting a commemorative plaque on the front of its smokebox, the locomotive was indeed an able ambassador for the railway, attracting thousands of spectators along the 32-kilometre stretch of track between Revelstoke and the site.


Whole classrooms, under the watchful eyes of teachers, lined the right-of-way to wave and cheer as the special rolled by.

For many of the youngsters, it was their first chance to witness a live steam locomotive in operation, and, judging from the smiles on their faces, they were not disappointed.

The steam train, with its complement of guests from Canadian museums, historical societies, and railway-oriented groups, was made up of three restored coaches:  Car 3051, the Sandpoint, and the Micmac, which belong to the National Museum and which operate with locomotive 1201 during the tourist-season operations to Maniwaki, Quebec.

Two Canadian Pacific official cars, the Strathcona and the Shaughnessy, were also included in the consist, as well as the former business car of James Ross, manager of construction 100-years-ago, which participated in the original 1885 ceremony.

While all of the cars have had long and varied careers and were of interest to the railway historians in the group, Ross' car was the star attraction.

On Site

Built in 1882 by Harlan & Hollingsworth of Wilmington, Delaware, USA, this car began its career as a private car for the railway contractors Langdon, Shepard & Company, under the modest designation of Contractor's Car.

Renamed Construction Car when it was purchased by Canadian Pacific, it was present during the driving of the last spike and appears in one of the photographs taken that day.

Subsequently, it went through several name changes including:  No. 76, New Brunswick, and Rosemere.


As the Rosemere, the car was accorded the honour of conveying the body of the late Sir Sandford Fleming from Halifax to Ottawa in July, 1915. In later years, the car was sold to the Edmonton, Dunvegan & British Columbia Railway, which was taken over by the Northern Alberta Railways (NAR) in 1929.

In 1964, the NAR donated the car to Heritage Park in Calgary, where it was restored to its early paint scheme.

The loan of the car for inclusion in the festivities was arranged by Rick Smith, manager of Heritage Park, and Lorain Lounsberry, curator of exhibits.

The steam train was crewed by Locomotive Engineer W.E. Ottewell, Conductor O. Sinclair (Sinc) Jones, Fireman W. Struga, and Trainmen W. Pryhitko and Dave Willford.

From Ottawa:  Engine 1201 as she looked when donated to the National Museum in 1966.

This CP Rail News article is copyright 1985 by the Canadian Pacific Railway and is reprinted here with their permission. All photographs, logos, and trademarks are the property of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

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