A Visit By The CP Business Train

Canadian Pacific, like most railways, has its own business train that it uses for corporate and public relations purposes. It charters this train as the Royal Canadian Pacific – although I think that’s on hold for now – and it has been used for public events such as the Canada 150 tour. This week, however, the train was used by CP’s president and CEO, Keith Creel, as he and company officials visited facilities in Winnipeg and the USA.

The train left Calgary, Alberta on Sunday morning and rolled east toward Winnipeg, arriving in our fair city just before sunrise on Monday. I imagine they had priority over most if not all freight trains on the way. If only VIA Rail had that kind of priority over CN…

The train was parked in CP’s yard all day Monday, not easily accessible for photos, so I didn’t make any effort to go see it.

Word was that it was heading south on CP’s Emerson subdivision first thing Tuesday morning, heading to the US border and into Minnesota. Several of us decided to catch it at the steel bridge over the Floodway just south of the city.

Jim Burnside elected to catch it in St. Boniface, and posted this video. Sweet light!

Jim Burnside’s video of the CP Business Train

Jim and others let us know that it was on its way. There were about half a dozen of us waiting for the train, so we chatted from a social distance and checked and rechecked our cameras.

Eventually someone spotted headlights, and it was game time.

I launched my drone and sent it toward the bridge, turned the video camera on, and got ready for the shots.

The train rolled across the bridge as many shutters clicked.

The CP Business Train crossing the Floodway outside Winnipeg
The CP Business Train crossing the Floodway outside Winnipeg

I was panning with the drone as the train went by. Those maroon and gold F units looked great in the morning light.

Classic power and varnish
Classic power and varnish

You might be wondering why it they were arranged in an A-A-B sequence. Normally one would see the cabless “B” unit between the two “A” units.

Looking down on the units
Looking down on the units

I believe CP 1900 has been equipped for head-end power (HEP) to provide electricity for the rest of the train, so it has to be next to the passenger cars. The odd thing is that the next car, CP 95, is a generator car that would perform the same function. Curious.

The second last car, SELKIRK, was a relatively new acquisition for Canadian Pacific. This ex Southern Pacific full length dome car entered CPR service in June 2019. Apparently president and CEO Keith Creel wanted a dome in the consist, so ex SP 3605 was acquired from the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It was basically a shell at that time and has been completely rebuilt.

CP Selkirk and Sandford Fleming
CP Selkirk and Sandford Fleming

Observation car SANDFORD FLEMING was on the tail end, and several people were in the car. One of them tooted the tail end horn a few times to salute the motley group of railfans. I’m not going to post any photos of the people in the car (ethics and all that).

Students of Canadian railway history will recognize the name. Sir Sandford Fleming was a giant in early Canadian railways, being the chief engineer of the Intercolonial Railway, and the first chief engineer of the original Canadian Pacific Railway. Many also know that he invented time zones (more here).

Here’s a view of the area from my drone as the train rolls south in the distance.


For those keeping track at home, this was the full train’s consist:

  • CP 1401
  • CP 4107
  • CP 1900
  • CP 95
  • CP 3605 SELKIRK

Here’s my video of the train – from the air and from the ground.

Just One More Thing

Here are a few more videos and posts featuring the CP business train.

12 thoughts on “A Visit By The CP Business Train”

  1. Nice photos and video Steve! Really like the drone footage.
    Jim really did have some nice morning light for his video.
    Mr. Creel and the gang were probably heading south to try and secure their bid for KCS from CN and I’m hoping they do!

    • Hi and thanks Sheldon, I guess Mr. Creel didn’t have much success as KCS has officially chosen CN. We’ll see what the authorities think.

  2. Hi Steve
    Great shots! I have mixed feelings seeing Sandford Fleming on the tail end of a CP business train. I had a very memorable three day trip when it was on CN back in 1980 from Edmonton to Vancouver. The view out the “glass ass” is amazing of the right of way from well above to below the tracks especially in the Fraser and Thompson R. canyons.
    Steve you need to alert all your railfan friends in Winnipeg about your fantastic article in the latest CN LINES about the Automated Inspection Portals in the Winnipeg area. I got my member copy by mail yesterday. Warehouse should have their supply by now and they can always order more!
    Al Lill,

    • Hi Al, thanks for the nice comments. I’ve never been in Sandford Fleming but I imagine the view is spectacular… especially in an area like the Fraser or Thompson River valleys where every direction is gorgeous.

      I really should mention CN LINES and my article! I received my copy and every article is great… a high quality magazine in all respects.

  3. Seeing a consist like this – the Tuscan passenger coats always reminds me of my trip from London, ON to Banff to the cadet camp – diesel power to Winnipeg then steam – 1957! Great photos!

  4. Hi Steve,
    Its Evan (Manitoba Rail Productions), and I just want to say thanks for the mention! I enjoy reading your blogs and can’t wait to see what else you’ve got in-store for us!

  5. It was great to see the RCP on the way back to Calgary last week Saturday. I hope to have my photos done in the next day or so. Was a fun chase.

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