A train with a long and rich history made a stop in Minot on its journey through North Dakota.
The Royal Canadian Pacific is a legendary train made of luxury cars from the 1920s pulled by two engines from the early 1950s. Tracy Robinson, vice president of marketing and sales for Canadian Pacific, said the train is used much the same way today as it was early in the 20th century - to entertain guests.
"Many of the railroads have cars like this, but most of them were built in the 1920s as a way to move railroad executives around the property from an operating perspective," Robinson said. "Today we've pulled some of our heritage cars together into one train we call the Royal Canadian Pacific, and we use it for excursions and for client entertainment and to get out on our network from a railroad perspective."
The Mount Stephen car, named after Canadian Pacific Railway’s first president, was originally built as the CPR director’s day car, according to the Royal Canadian Pacific website. This car has also been used to host a number of royalty and dignitaries for Canadian tours. Today it serves as the tail-end lounge or observation car.
Two engines from the early 1950s at the head of the Royal Canadian Pacific idle Monday afternoon in Minot by the Burdick Expressway bridge near Front Street as the train takes on passengers.
Among the Royal Canadian Pacific's historic guests have been King George VI and Queen Elizabeth; Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, who would later become Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, former King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson; Princess Margaret and Princess Anne; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.
The cars themselves have been kept in as close to original condition as possible to maintain the heritage of the train.
"So it is like taking a step back in time," Robinson said. "It's very comfortable and it is a great way to get out on the railroad."
Some upgrades have been made to the cars, such as to the heating and cooling systems, to keep guests more comfortable on their journey.
For more information on the Royal Canadian Pacific, visit the website (www.royalcanadianpacific.com).
The train has only been in North Dakota few days, and was loading guests Monday in Minot. Robinson said the train was entertaining some of Canadian Pacific's client base on this particular trip, and after its stop in Minot would be travelling toward Harvey.
"This is CP's main line down through the U.S., so it's a very important part of our network," Robinson said. "You of course see a lot of trains go by here, and we feel it's important that we're out here."
Robinson said the train is out on the tracks a good chunk of the year and doesn't stay in any one place too long so as not to disrupt Canadian Pacific's important freight traffic.
Along with entertaining guests, the train also serves another important function, as several of its cars are part of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train that travels through its network each year. This year the Holiday Train will stop in Minot Dec. 16.
"It's a great community engagement to support food banks and it's a great way to mark the holiday season, as well," Robinson said.
She said it's always nice to get out on the tracks and visit places along Canadian Pacific's network, no matter what time of year it is.
"We're just happy to be out on the property and it's always a pleasure to be in Minot," Robinson said. "This is our main line through the U.S., it's an important part of our network, we do a lot of business in North Dakota and it continues to grow."