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How could these three subjects possibly be connected? Let me explain. On another post last week, Trinity River Bottoms Boomer asked me if I owned a CP Royal Hudson. I do not, but it prompted me to read about this royal locomotive and its history. The making of its striking paint scheme of royal blue and silver with gold trim, complete with the Royal Arms over the headlight and Imperial Crowns on the running boards, was for the first ever visit to North America of a reigning British monarch, King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth. The year was 1939. War was looming and this month long, coast to coast, international rail tour, was to strengthen the allegiance between Britain and its North American friends - Britain knew that, soon enough, they would be in need of help.

The Royal Train was made up of 12 of the finest passenger cars of the era, with the paint scheme matching the locomotive - 6 each from the rosters of CP and CN. CP pulled the train westbound to Vancouver with an H-1-d 4-6-4 Hudson, No. 2850. The King was a bit of a rail buff and often rode in the cab. This single locomotive pulled the train over 3200 miles, with 25 crew changes, without breakdown or replacement - an endurance record of the day. The King was so impressed that he gave official consent to name the locomotive the “Royal Hudson,” a name that stuck to all similar class Hudson’s of the day. (The return westbound train was pulled by CN, using at least 4 different engines.)

King George and Elizabeth had two daughters who stayed at home in England while they were in North America. Their elder daughter, age 13 years at the time, is the present day Queen Elizabeth II, whose husband, Prince Phillip, died 2 weeks ago. As you can now see, Prince Phillip’s in-laws were those same royal passengers pulled by CP Royal Hudson No. 2850, 82 years ago next month.

Pictured is a bronze medal that was struck to commemorate the Royal Tour of 1939. If you look closely, you can see the Royal Train’s east-west routes across Canada. The medal belonged to my late father-in-law which we found among his personal effects. The engraving does not show, unfortunately, the route of the Royal Train in the US.

Lesser known (to me at least) was the 4 day trip that King George and Elizabeth took to Washington, the New York 1939 World’s Fair, New Jersey and other places, including York, Pennsylvania. The link below will take you to the details of the US part of their tour, rail road security precautions, what RR’s and locomotives pulled the Royal Train on this leg of the journey and the hot dog picnic lunch hosted by President Roosevelt and the First Lady. (Hot dogs were unknown in England. The day following the picnic, the Toronto Globe and Mail headlined: “Roosevelt’s Red-Hots Relished by Royalty.”)

All this impressive travel and friendship building was only possible because of North America’s extensive and interconnected railroads. During this tour in North America, King George became known as the “people’s king” due to his willingness to engage, thrill and walk-about with the countless spectators who gathered to admire. He and his wife departed North America on June 15th of that year. Less than 3 months later, Britain was at war. A conflict that drew in both Canada and the USA - allies forged with the help of a Royal Train.

http://bellaterramaps.com/Rail...Royal_Visit_1939.pdf

Bob

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That is a very interesting story about the Royal visit in 1939.  Here are some photos that I took of a Royal Hudson in 2014 that is preserved at the Nethercutt Museum just north of LA.  They are great looking engines.

The Nethercutt Museum has one of the greatest collections of vintage automobiles and musical instruments in the world.  I highly recommend visiting it if you are in the LA area.

NH Joe

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Thanks for the information Bob "O".  I feel somewhat guilty for not having done any research on the Royal Hudson story up to now.  Today's "Golden Spike Award" goes to you!

Would be great to see Royal Hudson 2839 return home to "O Canada" where she belongs, and back on Canadian Pacific rails as well!

I did get to see a bit of Royalty if you will, when Alan Pegler's LNER 4472, the celebrated Flying Scotsman, on her US tour when she made a stopover in my native Dallas in 1969.  The small "Janney coupler" which was required while operating in North America looked very trashy indeed.  Buffers Forever I say O chap!   Beautiful as she was, she looked out of place in Texas.

Item:  I loaned out my colour negatives to a gentleman in San Francisco, Calif. and never received them back.  A tragic loss to my photo collection indeed!  Live and learn til death do us part perhaps?

Joe

@Bob "O" posted:

Thanks for the pictures, NH Joe. I believe there were 66 Royal Hudson's built. Yours is one of 4 that are in museums. I wonder if that is one of the original Royal Train passenger cars behind the tender.

Bob

Doubt it.  Judging by photo's it appears all the Royal Train cars had been modernized with arch roofs.  Plus, an observation in Canada  with a car name of "California?"

Rusty

A royal follow-up to that trip was made by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in October 1957, following state visits to Canada and the US. While air transportation was used, the part of the trip between Washington DC and New York City was done by rail.

The Queen wished to repeat in away, how her father and mother made their trip to New York City, sailing up the harbor.  B&O provided two special Pullman equipped trains, running as military Main trains under strict security. There was an 11 car train for the Press and a 12 car train for the Royal entourage. Equipment was Pullman high-end accommodation heavy weight cars in excellent condition. B&O provided a 'stream-styled' heavy weight dining car on each train. Included in the Royal train were two US Army communication cars and B&O office car 100 for the royal couple.

The trains left Washington DC on Sunday evening on the B&O and spent the remainder of the night under military guard at Camp Kilmer NJ, reached by the Port Reading branch from Bound Brook. Two leading diesel units were removed from each train at Camp Kilmer, due to weight restrictions on the 500' 1888 iron swing bridge over the Arthur Kill to reach Staten Island. They ran on to Cranford Jct. via Reading and CNJ to await the return of the equipment.

A Lehigh Valley pilot crew forwarded each train from Camp Kilmer to Staten Island Junction and the SIRT, about an hour apart with the Press train leading.  The SIRT pilot crew boarded at SI Jct. as the LV  pilot crew got off, while the train rolled along at a walk. Both trains were an hour apart and ran non-stop 14 miles to Stapleton Yard by The Narrows. Official greetings were made by state and local dignitaries.  Buses took the Press and a motorcade was run for the Royals to the St. George Ferry Terminal.  A freshly painted SI Ferry awaited the Press, and a US Army Governors' Island boat had been specially outfitted for the Royals and their ride up New York Bay to Manhattan, and a parade up Broadway. That evening the royals flew to London from Idlewild  Airport.

This unusual routing enabled the PRR and CNJ to have no interruptions of their busy commuter service that Monday morning because of the POTUS/Main Train mode of operation for both of these specials.  In case anyone wonders who paid for all of this it was Buckingham Palace, using budgeted royal travel funds.  Here is the Lehigh Valley conductor's report for the Royal train. B&O, the Reading Company and the Staten Island Rapid Transit had similar conductor's reports for the account of riders and fare collection later.

S.Islander

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@S. Islander posted:

A royal follow-up to that trip was made by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in October 1957, following state visits to Canada and the US. While air transportation was used, the part of the trip between Washington DC and New York City was done by rail.

The Queen wished to repeat in away, how her father and mother made their trip to New York City, sailing up the harbor.  B&O provided two special Pullman equipped trains, running as military Main trains under strict security. There was an 11 car train for the Press and a 12 car train for the Royal entourage. Equipment was Pullman high-end accommodation heavy weight cars in excellent condition. B&O provided a 'stream-styled' heavy weight dining car on each train. Included in the Royal train were two US Army communication cars and B&O office car 100 for the royal couple.

The trains left Washington DC on Sunday evening on the B&O and spent the remainder of the night under military guard at Camp Kilmer NJ, reached by the Port Reading branch from Bound Brook. Two leading diesel units were removed from each train at Camp Kilmer, due to weight restrictions on the 500' 1888 iron swing bridge over the Arthur Kill to reach Staten Island. They ran on to Cranford Jct. via Reading and CNJ to await the return of the equipment.

A Lehigh Valley pilot crew forwarded each train from Camp Kilmer to Staten Island Junction and the SIRT, about an hour apart with the Press train leading.  The SIRT pilot crew boarded at SI Jct. as the LV  pilot crew got off, while the train rolled along at a walk. Both trains were an hour apart and ran non-stop 14 miles to Stapleton Yard by The Narrows. Official greetings were made by state and local dignitaries.  Buses took the Press and a motorcade was run for the Royals to the St. George Ferry Terminal.  A freshly painted SI Ferry awaited the Press, and a US Army Governors' Island boat had been specially outfitted for the Royals and their ride up New York Bay to Manhattan, and a parade up Broadway. That evening the royals flew to London from Idlewild  Airport.

This unusual routing enabled the PRR and CNJ to have no interruptions of their busy commuter service that Monday morning because of the POTUS/Main Train mode of operation for both of these specials.  In case anyone wonders who paid for all of this it was Buckingham Palace, using budgeted royal travel funds.  Here is the Lehigh Valley conductor's report for the Royal train. B&O, the Reading Company and the Staten Island Rapid Transit had similar conductor's reports for the account of riders and fare collection later.

S.Islander

Thanks for the details on this. I remember this trip to the DC area and especially the royals visit to College Park, Maryland to watch the Terrapins upset the North Carolina Tar Heels. The queen and her party attended this to take in the atmosphere of a typical American college sporting event. After, they made a surprise visit to a local chain grocery store to check out the shopping experience.

Yes, I mistakenly identified 2860 as the Royal Hudson that pulled the 1939 Royal Train west across the continent. It was indeed 2850 and resides at ExpoRail. Thanks to MrMoe50 for the correction and to Rusty Traque for the link to Rapido's superb history of the Royal Hudson.

Also thanks to S. Islander for the information regarding the 1957 visit that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made to North America. Precisely detailed - sounds like you were there. I knew nothing of this until now.

Interestingly, in 1957, they still had a separate press train travelling with and preceding the royal train. In 1939, it was referred to as the Pilot Train and it too always preceded the Royal Train to the next stop. The Pilot Train was to transport dignitaries, the press, photographers, telegraphers, extra staff, extra security and anything or anybody else that could not be accommodated on the Royal Train. It went first to each destination, ostensibly to allow the press and other passengers to set up and record the arrival of the closely following Royal Train. But an additional purpose likely had to do with sweeping the track first, so in the event of sabotage, it would suffer the consequences rather than the Royal Train.

Bob

Last edited by Bob "O"

Somewhere in my stack of vinyl I think I still have a record of the Royal Hudson. First side was recorded from the cab with all the conversation, sounds and action. Side B was from the outside - working its way up a hill, rolling by at speed, whistle blowing with answering calls from nearby fog horns, etc.

If anyone is interested, I will see if I still have the thing and pass it on to you. It really was an interesting record.

Couple of threads here that I can contribute to.  In 2007 I had the good fortune to ride a double header behind 2816 and 261 down the Mississippi River valley, round trip from Minneapolis to La Crosse, WI and back.  I have photos of both locomotives that I took.  Unfortunately they're saved on my other computer and I'm having "network issues."  If I get a chance I'll have to toss a couple onto a thumbdrive so I can upload them here.

The Nethercutt museum - Unfortunately I never had a chance to go when I lived in Southern California.  Almost better, however, I was a very active member of the Conejo Valley Archers when the were still located in Thousand Oaks.  We had a rather eccentric gentleman who was a very generous member.  He would often show up to our outdoor range both for practice and shoots with his driver and in a Rolls Royce.  He was either the founder, the owner or the president/CEO (I can't remember which and am too lazy to stop and look it up) of Merle Norman Cosmetics, used primarily in the movie industry.  His name was JP Nethercutt.  He was always very kind and sweet to talk to.  My (now ex-) wife loved him and made friends with him.  I would occasionally help him with his equipment.  His cars (he often showed up in different ones) were beautiful and immaculate yet it never seemed to bother him that he had to traverse dusty dirt roads to access the outdoor range.

I remember watching a program some time ago concerning the lunch by Roosevelt. They were undecided what to serve until Roosevelt suggested red hots if I'm not mistaking my memory. While King George enjoyed them, the Queen did not take to them so well. I believe part of it was because she did not want to eat using her hands  I want to say the program was Mysteries at the Museum, but I'm not sure.

@Norton posted:

Somewhat related to the hot dog lunch is a story told by one of the performers at the concert held at the White House for the King and Queen. I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who selected the artists to represent music somewhat unique to the USA. Told by Lily May Ledford of the Coon Creek Girls.

https://dla.acaweb.org/digital...ection/berea/id/540/

Pete

What a great tale she told of that picnic reception. If only the music had been recorded....

Thanks, Pete.

Bob

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