No. 2850, THE CANADIAN PACIFIC “HUDSON” class locomotive that hauled the Royal train across Canada in 1939.
IT IS a simple matter to cross Canada by train. You merely get into it at Halifax, on the Atlantic coast, and stay on it until you reach Vancouver, on the Pacific, 3,770 miles West, five days later—though you have to change cars at Montreal, and spend several hours there. This is when travelling by the Canadian National Railway route; the Canadian Pacific has another, from St. John. Countless people have taken this journey since the completion of the C.P.R half a century ago. I have crossed the continent in locomotive cabs! Nearly, that is. Truth compels me to admit that sleep was necessary sometimes, and that then I betook myself to a berth in the train. However, I can claim to have done 75 per cent of the transcontinental trip on the footplate. This article deals with one section of the journey, the 419 miles from Fort William to Winnipeg, especially interesting because the engine was the C.P.R. 4-
First, something about the route, and the chief places concerned. The twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur lie on the shores of Lake Superior. Coming into Fort William from the east, the track has been twisting, turning and snaking for hundreds of miles through the rocky wilderness of New Ontario, and along the northern shore of Lake Superior. Fort William is a Divisional point, where the engines that have brought the train through from Toronto, 811 miles, come off. Leaving Fort William for the west, the train parts company with the lake, and plunges on for 294 miles to Kenora, by the Lake of the Woods, and thence across the Ontario boundary into Manitoba at Telford, where rock and trees begin to disappear, sinking into the level prairie that continues for over 900 miles to Calgary, at the foot of the Rockies. Winnipeg is 81 miles beyond the Manitoba border, and 419 miles from Fort William. There are many considerable gradients in this distance, and though the actual overall rise is only 149 ft, there is an interesting peak at Raith of 967 ft, 53 miles from Fort William, and farther on several other little pimples too. It is a double track route, much easier going east than west; how do you think that comes about? I will explain the puzzle later.
Now for the engine. This is of the 2800 H1d “Hudson” class, with a 4-
Mechanical stoking is relied on, as the fire-
The Westinghouse brake and a Walschaerts valve-
Following a couple of days resting up in Fort William after a somewhat strenuous run of 24 hours and 792 miles from Toronto, most of it done in the cab of No. 2839, an engine similar to No. 2850, I made arrangements to carry on with the same train No. 3, “The Dominion,” to Winnipeg. It pulls out at 10.05 p.m., after a 20-
We pulled out at 11.27 p.m., into a night black as a pocket, the darkness occasionally lit up by lightning flashes. And now I am making a little confession -
CAB OF A C.P.R. 2800 H1d “Hudson” class locomotive.
A few words about the cab and its fittings. The photograph above shows most of them; the engineer’s are on the right and the fireman’s on the left. The wheel with the serrated rim (A) is the reverse, air-
The cab is very well arranged and comfortable, and entirely enclosed, There are three seats, the engineer's being hidden by the locker on the right; the fireman’s is out of the picture, as is also the third, used by the head brakeman when a freight train is being hauled, or by intruders such as myself. The cab is electrically lit by a lamp in the roof, round which is a shield with slots cut in it, through which pencils of light are projected on to the dials, quite obviating dazzle.
We have got under way by this time, with rapid acceleration, resulting from the two engines—or the booster, if it was there! The train was heavy, probably over 1,000 tons. The heavy, continuous up-
The riding of the engine was very good, and the track also was well cared-
So No. 2850 roared on through the night to the first stop, for coal and water, at Raith, 53 miles from Fort William, which was made at 1.03 a.m.; the average speed had been 33 mp.h. It does not sound much, but the whole stretch had been on a heavy up-
During the run the grate had been rocked once or twice by a long detachable lever fitted over three stubs (H) that can be seen on each side of the floor in the photograph of the cab. They are lettered to indicate back, front, and centre, as the grate is in three sections. This breaks up clinker, much of which, with ash, drops through into the ash-
Ignace, a Divisional point, 147 miles from Fort William, was reached at 3.05 a.m., and here we all left the engine; Robertson and Miller to “turn around” and I to go back to the train and get some sleep.
The jarring of the brakes woke me up at 6.52— Kenora. I scrambled into my clothes, and made a dash for the engine, but there was no need to hurry; the “ground crew” was at work, taking out the ash-
It is double track to Winnipeg, the old original line being used for westbound traffic, so we were on it. When the line was duplicated, chiefly because of the tremendous Autumn wheat movement to Fort Witham, the new pair of rails were better located, with far easier grades. This solves the puzzle I mentioned a little way back why eastbound trains a have better grades than westbound ones. We had made stops at Keewatin and Ingolf, and now halted again at Whitemouth, our last port of call before Winnipeg, and took water. Rocks and lakes had been left behind, and the track no longer twisted and turned, but stretched ahead straight and level. We were entering the prairie, that lay like a vast 900 mile wide wheatfield, extending right to the foothills of the Rockies. So far, the left-
You can read more on “Canada’s Streamlined Engines” in Wonders of World Engineering