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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).

First career

Locomotive 2816 was one of ten H1b-class (the "H" meant the 4-6-4 wheel configuration, the "1" was the design number and the "b" meant it was the second production run) 4-6-4 Hudson built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1930. It was first assigned to the line between Winnipegmarker and Fort William, Ontariomarker. Later, it was transferred to service between Windsor, Ontariomarker and Quebec Citymarker, and finally it ran a commuter train between Montrealmarker and Rigaud, Quebecmarker. It made its last run on May 26, 1960. In 1963, the locomotive was sold to Monadnock, Steamtown & Northern Amusements Corp., Inc which evolved into the newly formed Steamtownmarker in 1964.

Restoration and second career

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 Calgarymarker. 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.

Preservation and other remaining H1 Hudsons

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.

Steam Program Hiatus

At the end of the 2008 season, CP put the steam program on hold due to financial issues caused by the poor economy. 2816 was put into storage and plans for 2009 are on hold. There have been several rumors about the fate of 2816. Such rumors include 2816 being sold or donated to the Alberta Prairie Railway, operators of CN 6060. Although this is highly unlikely due to the massive amounts of money CP has invested in 2816 and the steam program. CP is expected to make an announcement about the fate of the steam program, and 2816 somewhere between May and June 2009.


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