As you probably know, the CP Holiday Train runs each year to raise food and funds for local food banks across Canada and the USA. I've seen it twice here in Winnipeg and I hope to see it again on December 3rd when it passes through.
The equipment is kept in Calgary and needs to be moved to Montreal to begin the journey. A little birdie told me on Friday, November 14th that the combined Canada-USA train was outside Portage la Prairie at noon waiting for CN 302 to pass before it could proceed east. I had some time so I jumped in the car and headed for the CP main line to try to catch it.
I knew it was probably an hour's travel from Portage to Winnipeg and I ended up approaching the CP Carberry subdivision at 1 PM, so I was cutting it fairly close. As it happened, there was a CP container train rolling east so I photographed that.
|One locomotive? No problem!|
I was a bit concerned that I had already missed the Holiday Train. I waited a few minutes then proceeded westward toward Meadows. I sighted the grain elevator at Meadows and noted a headlight beside it. As the train and I converged, it was clear that this was in fact the Holiday Train. I pulled over and photographed it.
The first 10 cars and the first 4 passenger cars are the US train, and the rest are the Canadian train. The train was pulled by two of CP's shiny "new" GP20C-ECO engines, CP 2246 and CP 2249. I understand one will power each train, although there is some question of whether one GP20 will be able to haul the train through the Rockies by itself.
You can see that the locomotives are already decorated with the lights. I assume they will have a wreath on the nose like CP 9815 always did.
After photographing them once, I sped off to try to get them again. I captured this long-distance shot of the whole train just west of Rosser.
Thank goodness for the wide open views of the Prairies!
I got ahead of them east of Rosser and photographed them again, this time shooting every car to be sure of the consist.
I think this next car is a generator car to provide power for the train and especially all the lights.
Here's a little photo showing the connection between cars. You can see a power cable in addition to the usual brake hose connection.
The next car is one of the stage cars. Musicians perform at every stop. The giant silver door folds down and becomes the stage. The musicians stay on the train between stops, which is why the passenger cars are required.
The ERNEST "SMOKY" SMITH, VC car. You should read up on "Smoky" or "Smokey". He was the last living Canadian to be awarded a Victoria Cross. He died in 2005.
The MOUNT ROYAL, a sleeper, I believe.
The VAN HORNE brought up the rear.
Just for reference, here's what the VAN HORNE looked like in 2011 when lit up at night.
I decided to get them one more time before giving up the chase, so I positioned myself east of the Viterra grain elevator at CP Makwa and also set up my "video camera" aka Canon S3. Here I switched to my wider-angle lens to get a broader view of the train.
That was it for the Holiday Train for now. I hope you enjoyed the photos!
PS here is the full consist.
ERNEST "SMOKY" SMITH, VC