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August 14, 2011

As we were returning to Canmore from a day of photography in Banff National Park, we noticed this old steam train coming toward town. We got to the overlook to Vermillion Lakes and waited to get some shots of this beautiful steam train as it was approaching Banff townsite.

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Canon EOS 60D; 18-200mm lens
Nik Old Photo filter

The entire train

Power type Steam
Builder Montreal Locomotive Works
Serial number 68535
Build date December 1930
Configuration 4-6-4
Gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 75 in (1.9 m)
Length 91 ft 1 in (27.76 m)
Weight on drivers 194,000 lb (88 t)
Locomotive weight 360,000 lb (160 t)
Locomotive and tender combined weight 658,000 lb (298 t)
Fuel type Coal (Converted to burn oil during restoration)
Fuel capacity 17 short tons (15 t)
Water capacity 12,000 imp gal (55,000 l; 14,000 US gal)
Boiler pressure 275 psi (1.90 MPa)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 22 × 30 in (559 × 762 mm)
Power output 4,700 hp (3,500 kW)
Tractive effort 45,300 lbf (202 kN)
Career Canadian Pacific Railway
Class H1b
Number 2816
Official name Empress
Last run May 26, 1960
Restored 2001
Disposition Excursion service

Canadian Pacific 2816, named the Empress, is a 4-6-4 H1b Hudson used by the Canadian Pacific Railway in occasional excursion service. The 2816 is the only non-streamlined H1 Hudson remaining (the other four remaining are the semi-streamlined Royal Hudsons).
When Steamtown USA moved from Bellows Falls, VT to Scranton, PA in the 1980s, engine 2816 made the trip with other engines. When the National Park Service took over from the Steamtown Foundation, 2816 also passed to the NPS, now Steamtown National Historic Site. In 1998. Canadian Pacific purchased the locomotive after hearing of its availability from the crews who were running the royal hudson 2860, who were looking for parts for 2860 and were offered the entire locomotive. It was moved in train from Scranton to Montreal via Binghamton and Albany, NY before being shipped cross country to the BC Rail steam shops in Vancouver for restoration. The locomotive was completely stripped down and rebuilt. The locomotive was converted to burn oil and equipped with modern utilities such as a radio and a diesel control unit. The restoration took over two years and cost over $2,000,000, making it one of the most costly locomotive restorations in Canada. In September 2001 the locomotive made its first trial run from the BC Rail steam steam shops to its new home of Calgary. It then rejoined the Canadian Pacific fleet as a special excursion locomotive and for public relations. Since the restoration, 2816 has travelled all across Canada and the United States. The 2816 is one of the most well known locomotives in North America, along with Milwaukee Road 261, Southern Pacific 4449 and Royal Hudson 2860. The 2816 can also be noted for being one of the most expensive single engine steam programs in existence, with a total cost of $20,000,000 since 1998.
2816 is the last H1b and is one of five Canadian Pacific Hudsons preserved out of the original 65 built between 1929 and 1940. The 2816 is the last of the non-streamlined H1a and H1b classes built in 1929 and 1930 numbered 2800–2819. The other four remaining sister engines to 2816 are the famed, semi-streamlined Royal Hudsons numbered 2820–2864. The remaining Royal Hudsons are numbers 2839 (H1c), 2850 and 2858 (both H1d) and the well-known 2860 (H1e). Currently, 2816 and 2860 are the only operating 4-6-4 Hudsons in North America.
At the end of the 2008 season, CP put the steam program on hold (with exception of previously promised engagements) due to financial issues caused by the poor economy. 2816 did not operate at all in 2009, although the steam program was able to take advantage of this down time to do some extensive maintenance work on 2816 and her passenger car fleet. 2816 returned to operation on June 6, 2010.

Self taught photographer enjoying retirement in travel and meeting fellow members of Redbubble.

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  • jules572
    jules572over 3 years ago

    A train lovers dream Vickie. The treatment suites this image very well…Jules…Favour

  • thank you Jules

    – Vickie Emms

  • shortshooter-Al
    shortshooter-Alover 3 years ago

    Frieght train, frieght train, goin so fast. LOL. An instant fav Vickie. I love it.

  • Love your singing Al,,,,,,thank you

    – Vickie Emms

  • trish725
    trish725over 3 years ago

  • thank you Trish

    – Vickie Emms

  • rjheller1150
    rjheller1150over 3 years ago

    Great shot….love the b&w

  • thank you RJ

    – Vickie Emms

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 3 years ago

    What a beauty, Vickie. A marvellous capture and a very interesting history of this grand old train!

  • thank you Mike, I found it interesting too, glad you did

    – Vickie Emms

  • DryFlyPhoto
    DryFlyPhotoover 3 years ago


  • wow, many thanks Scott. So glad you like it

    – Vickie Emms

  • sundawg7
    sundawg7over 3 years ago

    This is the famous CP Empress 2816? How luck were you to capture it. Your capture and the treatment make it look like the era of its heyday. Well done and congratulations on the worthy features….and a definite fave to boot. It appears that steam locomotives are beginning to make a return in my section of Ontario after a few years absence. I hope to catch the first one in action before too long. XOXO, ♥♥Ron♥♥

  • Thank you so much Ron for your kind and welcome comment. This has a funny little story. That day we were returning from a drive to Lake Louise with Leslie and her husband, when we saw the steam from the old engine go under and out of an overpass just as we were about to get close to Banff. Sure enough it was this old train returning from a day tour. So we hurried ahead to the overlook at Vermillion Lakes and waited for it. Turns out many people had been waiting for hours at the Banff train station and had left because she was late coming in that day. How lucky we got to see it. I took many shots of course, it was hard to decide which one to do up in this treatment. I will add some more at a later date. Hugs

    – Vickie Emms

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsover 3 years ago

    Oh, and yes it is the original 2816, that’s why I did the research on her. It’s right on the engine if you view larger.

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