Royal Trains and Royal Occasions

The following table lists Royal Trains that have been run in the Ottawa area together with some railway details.
1860, August 25 - The Victoria Railway Bridge, Montreal is formally opened by the Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.

1860, August 30 - The Prince of Wales visits the Eastern Townships, leaving Montreal, Point St. Charles station for St. Hyacinthe and on to Sherbrooke before returning directly to Montreal.

1860, August 31 - The Prince of Wales travels from Montreal to St. Anne's where the bridge over the Ottawa river was gaily decorated with flags.  From here he travelled to Ottawa mainly by water.

1860, August 31 (from Brian Gilhuly) The Carillon and Grenville conveyed the Prince of Wales and his party westward on 31 August 1860. Here is a description of that event from a book on the tour published the same year by John Lovell. The author used the pseudonym “A British Canadian”.

At Carillon, H. R. H. and suite again took the cars. Here a Guard of Honour of Militia presented arms, and a royal salute was fired. Arches were erected, and the place generally was profusely decorated. The people also turned out in great numbers, and showed their loyalty by cheering their future king.

At Grenville, the same loyalty was shown; besides, the children sang the National Anthem. Here the royal party took the fine steamer Phoenix which had been entirely renovated and furnished.

1860, September, 3 - the Prince of Wales rides between Almonte and Brockville on the Brockville and Ottawa Railway.  The prince had travelled to Arnprior by water from Ottawa and presumably used the Chats Falls horse railway of the Union Forwarding Company.

"In front of the Brockville station platform covered with a tapestry carpet had been built and roofed in with cambric in alternate stripes of pink and blue. The sides of the pavillion thus formed were ornamented with rosettes and with crimson and white lace curtains. There were six triumphal arches, chiefly green spruce trees, in various parts of the town.  The first being just below the platform, the last being above the stemboat wharf.

"It was fortunate that preparations had also been made for illumination, for it was dark when the train which bore the Prince came into the station. Lanterns and locomotive lights were placed all around the tent."

1860, September 10 - the Prince of Wales, travels between Toronto and Collingwood, Ont and return.  The special train of two coaches and an open observation car, was hauled by Northern Railway 4-4-0 locomotive "Cumberland" and was in charge of Superintendent of Motive Power James Tillinghast with Engineer L.S. Williams.

1869, October 11 -  Prince Arthur arrives in Ottawa at the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway station at Sussex Street which was heavily decorated for the occasion.

1869, October 13 -  Prince Arthur rides the Chats Falls horse railway of the Union Forwarding Company on his way from Aylmer to Pembroke.

1884, November 1 - The Harbour Grace Railway, the first railway on Newfoundland, is opened for traffic between St. Johns and Harbour Grace. The last spike was driven by Prince George, later to become King George V, who was at the time visiting Newfoundland as a midshipman aboard H.M.S. Cumberland.

 1901, September - October - Royal Tour of Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.  Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Laggan, Vancouver.  This included a ride on the front of locomotive 683 through the Fraser canyon.  The return was via Toronto and Niagara Falls to Halifax.  There is a detailed account written by John Beswarick Thompson in Canadian Rail , December 1967.  Set out below are the parts of the tour in the Ottawa area.

   1901, September 21 - Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York arrive in Ottawa (Elgin Street station) from Montreal over the Canada Atlantic Railway behind locomotives 618 and 620.

   1901, September 21 - Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York ride in OER streetcar (Dave Knowles to supply details please).

   1901, September 24 - Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York depart Ottawa Elgin Street station (C.A.R.) across the Interprovincial Bridge into Hull and back into Ottawa via the Prince of Wales Bridge. William McFall was the Ottawa, Northern and Western pilot engineer between Ottawa and Hull West.  The Canadian Pacific train, which ran through to Winnipeg, was in charge of Engineer Harry Glendenning and Fireman George Moles as far as Chalk River.
Click below to see a description of the Royal Train in Engineering News;view=1up;seq=418;size=125

From Andrew Jeanes 13 March 2024.
The photo shows the Royal train of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, stopped at Almonte on its journey to western Canada from Ottawa. The date is the 24th of September, 1901.

Note that the Almonte station building in the background, decorated with flags but partially obscured by steam escaping from the locomotive. In 1901 it was a wood frame two-storey building with a one-storey baggage and freight shed on its north end. This had been built by the CPR in 1884 as an addition to and renovation of the original one-storey 1859 Brockville & Ottawa station building. The limestone CPR station most of us are familiar with in Almonte would not be built until 1904.

Across the tracks from the station is a large granary, originally built by merchant James Robertson in 1882. By 1901 it was operated by S.S. Merick & Co. I’m not sure when it was torn down, but possibly around the same time that the new stone station building was built, as soon after the new station opened the old two-storey wood station building was moved across the tracks to be used as a freight office.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York—who would become King George V and Queen Mary, grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II—departed Ottawa from the Canada Atlantic Elgin Street station at 12:32 pm on Tuesday, the 24th of September, 1901. Their nine-car train was hauled by CPR 4-6-0 No. 613, under charge of engineer Alexander Rogers and fireman W. Marshall. The conductor was Albert F. Chapman and the rest of the train crew comprised baggageman W.E. Booth and brakemen M. Quinn, R.A. Shannon and H.M. Baxter.

The Royal couple were actually on the second section of the train; the five-car first section, or pilot train, had departed about half an hour earlier. Its crew was made up of Conductor A. Bannerman, Baggageman J. Moran and Brakemen J. Thompson, G. Begley and A. Gambie. The engineer of the locomotive pulling the pilot train was H. Clendenning and its fireman was G. Moulds.

Ottawa Citizen 20 Sep 1901 p2 c2?
C.P.R. Crews For Royal Train

After departing from Elgin Street the Royal train took the northwest leg of the CAR wye to Deep Cut and then proceeded past the Central Depot and across the Interprovincial Bridge to Hull, then via the CPR over the Prince of Wales Bridge to the Carleton Place Subdivision. It thus used the tracks of three different railway companies to exit the city: the Canada Atlantic; the Ottawa, Northern & Western and the CPR. To cross the Interprovincial bridge, it was required to carry an engineer from the Ottawa, Northern & Western as a pilot. I'm not sure whether any Canada Atlantic train crew were involved in the movement of the train from Elgin Street to Central Depot.

Ottawa Journal 24 Sep 1901 p1 c1
Now Good Bye Has Been Said

The train made a short stop at Carleton Place, departing there at 2:00 pm. It then made another stop at Almonte, which was documented in the Almonte Gazette article transcribed below. Over 3,000 people met the train at Almonte, which in the 1901 Census of Canada had a population of only 3,023.

Ottawa Journal 25 Sep 1901 p3 c5
Progress of the Royal Party


Almonte Gazette 27 Sep 1901 p1 c6
The Royal Visit
The Train Stopped and the Duke and Duchess Receive a Great Ovation

At the request of a number of citizens Mayor Simpson telegraphed Major Maude on Tuesday informing him that Almonte was the terminus of the railway when King Edward visited Almonte in the same capacity as that in which the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York are at present doing, and asking that the royal train be stopped here to give Almonters an opportunity of seeing the representatives of royalty and giving them a hearty cheer on their journey westward. To the delight of our citizens the request was immediately granted, and the order given for the train to stop. Nearly three thousand citizens and visitors gathered at the station, and as the first section of the train passed through at a good rate of speed there was disappointment on almost every face until it was known that the royal party were not on board. About half-an-hour later the second section came along, and slowing up as it reached the station soon came to a stop amid the cheers  of the assembled crowd, among whom were a large number of school children who were gathered on an eminence near by which gave them a good view. The Duke and Duchess came out at the rear of the car, and were given a hearty greeting. His Highness asked for the Mayor, who came forward and was introduced to him, and they chatted freely during the time at their disposal, the Duke asking many questions regarding the town, and expressing the pleasure it was to him to stop there under the circumstances, and also voicing his appreciation of the loyal and enthusiastic reception accorded to them. As the train was moving off the school children, led by Mr. R.W. Haydon (who, by the way suggested the idea of sending the telegram which resulted in the stopping of the train), and joined by the vast concourse of people, sent up a cheer which must have sounded to their royal highnesses very much like what they would hear from as many British throats at their own home in the tight little isle across the sea. It was a cheer that left no doubt as to the loyalty of the citizens of Almonte, both old and young and it was graciously acknowledged by the royal party.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was on the first section of the train, and stood out on the platform and waved acknowledgement of the hearty cheers he received.

The train conveying the Duke and the Duchess was one of the finest that ever passed through Almonte. The outside appearance was magnificent and the inside appointments most luxurious.
The cowboys entertained the crowd while waiting for the royal train on Tuesday by playing pranks upon each other. They all entered heartily into the sport, and gave some wonderful exhibitions of their dexterity with the lassoo.

Had our citizens known an hour or two sooner that the train was going to stop they would have shown travelling royalty what they could do in the way of a loyal send-off. As it was there was no room left to doubt the fealty of the assembly.

Peter Kelly caused considerable merriment at the station when the royal train was here by wishing the Duke “good luck,” and informing him that he saw his father when he was here forty years ago. Given in Peter’s true Irish brogue it was amusing, and the Duke seemed to enjoy it.

It was a matter of regret to Capt. Cole that he had not time to get the members of his company together before the train arrived. However, they will have an opportunity at Toronto of letting the Duke and Duchess know what their attitude is towards the head of the empire of which we form a part.


The cowboys referred to by the Almonte Gazette were likely members of the Alberta Wild-West and Congress of Rough Riders travelling show, who were in town for the North Lanark Fair, which opened the next day.

Major Frederick Stanley Maude. D.S.O., Coldstream Guards, was military secretary to the Governor-General of Canada, the Earl of Minto, and acted as chargé-d’affaires for the Royal tour. He was born on the 24th of June, 1864 in Gibraltar. He served with distinction in Egypt in 1885, in South Africa in the Second Boer War in 1900 and 1901, and later in France, Turkey and Mesapotamia during the First World War. He died of cholera on the 18th of November, 1917 in Baghdad, while serving as commander of Allied forces in Mesapotamia.

Charles Simpson, after having served as a town councillor in 1895, 1896, 1898 and 1899, was acclaimed as Mayor of Almonte in three successive municipal elections between 1900 and 1902. Born on the 2nd of April, 1850, in Almonte, he was an auctioneer by profession. Among his accomplishments as mayor was the purchase by the town of the previously privately-owned Almonte Electric Light Company. He died on the 22nd of July, 1911, also in Almonte.

Robert William Haydon (1841-1916), who led the school children in their cheers, was an Almonte merchant tailor who served for many years on the local public school board.

Peter Kelly was born on the 10th of June, 1831 in County Carlow, Ireland, and emigrated to Canada in “Black” 1847, at the height of the Great Famine. He would have been 29 years old when Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, visited Almonte on the 3rd of September, 1860 and was 70 years old when he met the Duke and Duchess on the 24th of September, 1901. He had farmed in Huntley Township from at least 1861 until not long after his wife Mary died in 1898, after which he moved to Almonte. He died there on the 30th of January, 1905.

Captain Cole was commanding officer of the local militia company in 1901. I don’t have any additional biographical details about him at the moment.

1906 April - September - October Prince Arthur travelled across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax.
Vancouver - Calgary - Edmonton over Canadian Pacific
Edmonton - Prince Albert - Winnipeg over Canadian Northern
Winnipeg -Fort William - Ottawa over Canadian Pacific
Ottawa - Coteau - Kingston Jct - Belleville - Niagara falls - Toronto - Montreal - Halifax over Grand Trunk
Details of the visit in the Ottawa area are:

 1906, Saturday 14 April - About 2500 people assembled at the CPR station at Pembroke to see the Prince and his party.  The train arrived on time at 1.30 and the visit lasted about an hour.

1906, Monday 17 April - The Prince visited the Royal Ottawa Golf club on the Aylmer Road.  He went to the golf links in a special electric car and the party returned to Ottawa in automobiles.  The Ottawa Citizen reported:

"His Royal Highness and party left Ottawa at 11.20 for the links.  Car no. 10 was newly decorated and fitted up specially for the trip and was quite attractive with royal blue upholstering and scarlet carpets.   A large urn was in the centre of the car while all around were potted plants, cut flowers and foliage.  Mr. W.B. Taylor was personally in charge, the conductor and motorman being Mr. John Lochlan and Mr. N. Séguin.  The car had right of way to the links and the trip was made in less than twenty minutes."

1906  Thursday 19 April.  From the Ottawa Journal:  

Party left Government House at 10 o'clock.  They travelled by special street car 99 in personal charge of Mr. Thos. Ahearn and Supt. Hutchinson and run by motorman D. Duras and H. Hyndman.
The car ran out to Britannia where the visitors were delighted with the splendid improvements that the company have made in that popular resort.
Returning to Westboro they embarked at the old Skead's mill in two 35 ft. lumbermen's boats.  Shoots the chutes.
On reaching the foot of the locks the party walked to the Post Office where the special car was waiting to take them back to Rideau Hall.
The prince was much impressed with the car arrangements and when he saw the car waiting at the Post Office he exclaimes "Wonderful, really you have made splendid arrangements for us".
The special car provided for His Royal Highness and suite was decorated with flags and in front and rear with the Royal Coat of Arms, carved and gilded giving the car a regal appearance which was greatly admired.
When Prince Arthur leaves Ottawa next Friday morning at 11 o'clock for Coteau where he will take the main line of the G.T.R. for Niagara, he will be drawn over the Ottawa division by one of the most powerful engines of the company.  The iron monster, which now lies breathing in the roundhouse, is being thoroughly overhauled and dressed up for the state occasion, and when it is trotted out by Engineer Ferguson and Fireman Prindiville of Ottawa and hitched to the Royal train it will look as bright as a dollar.  The engine is No. 1,332 weighs 260,000 lbs and is capable of developing a speed of 80 miles an hour.

 1919 tour of Canada by the Prince of Wales.  Throughout the tour a CPR train was used and it was routed primarily over CPR.
August 24-25 overnight from Quebec City to a temporary station at Rosedale, Toronto.
August 27-28 overnight from Toronto, Rosedale to Ottawa arriving 11:00.
September 2-3 overnight from Ottawa to Montreal.
September 4? North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie.
September 6 Sault Ste. Marie, Oba, Franz via the Algoma Central Railway.
September 9 Nipigon to Winnipeg
September 13 Edmonton
September 19 Banff
September 28 Victoria
October 6 Swift Current
October 10 Winnipeg
October 16 Cobalt
October 17 North Bay, Gravenhurst, Hamilton
October 20 Brantford Niagara Falls St. Catharines Grimsby.
October 21 Kitchener
October 22 London
October 25 Woodstock, Creditville
October 28 Montreal
November 4 Toronto
November 5 Toronto to Ottawa
November 10 Ottawa to the USA via Rouses Point using the US President's train.

August 25, 1919 - the train stopped at Smiths Falls from 23:45 to 01:45.  It was brought in from Montreal by locomotive 2225 carrying two special flags with the royal coat of arms.   The prince walked among the crowd of several thousand people on the platform and addressed them from the platform of the business car "Killarney".
November 5, 1919  - the Prince of Wales travelled from Toronto to Ottawa behind locomotive 2231.  The Prince ran the locomotive from Flavelle to Trenton (20.9 miles).  See the account by John Beswarick Thompson in Canadian Rail March 1976.

The British Rail Modellers of North America book entitled "Canadian Pacific in Southern Ontario, Volume 2" by Newton Rossiter
on page 24, has a picture of Canadian Pacific 2301, a heavy 4-6-2.  In the story following, the 2 middle paragraphs read as follows:

"Just after emerging from its Angus building in August 1919, 2301 was one of the locomotives selected to haul the Royal Train of the visiting Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor, who was making his first visit to Canada.  There is an official C.P.R. photograph showing 2301 in gleaming black and gold trim with a pair of Royal Standards flying from the corners of the pilot beam, heading the train in the Montreal area.  Exactly where it ran on the Royal Train is lost to time, since C.P.R. records do not provide this information, and most newscopy of the time did not even mention the locomotive.

"The Royal Train itself had a most interesting consist of nine cars which comprised two new steel baggage cars; tourist car "Chinook", sleepers "Chester" and "Carnarvon", dining car "Canada", compartment car "Empire", the private car "Cromarty", owned by C.P.R. director J. K .L. Ross; and C.P.R. President Lord Shaughnessy's car "Killarney", which was used by the Prince and had his crest and motto in gold on its sides.  It was a truly beautiful train in the old standard tradition and it ran across the country in the summer and fall of 1919."
When traveling from Toronto to Ottawa in November the Prince of Wales rode the cab from Colborne
See Canadian Rail No. 290, 1976.

See also:
Old Time Trains
Queens University Archives

 1924, September 22 - a special train conveying the Prince of Wales from Long Island to Alberta leaves St. Henri and runs to Ottawa East where a 15 minute stop was made in the yard.  From there it went on via Pembroke and Brent to North Bay.

1927, August 5 - Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince George travel by royal train from Ottawa to Brockville
August 6 - The third Toronto Union Station is opened officially by Edward, Prince of Wales. It was opened to the public on August 11, but passengers had to walk across to the old station tracks. The first day on which trains used the new, elevated, tracks through the new station platform was January 31, 1930.
August 9 - Royal party in Winnipeg

 1939, May 17 - Royal Tour of Canada commences with the arrival of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Wolfe's Cove, Quebec on the Empress of Canada.  The 12 car train, (five from CP, five from CN and the two vice-regal cars), in royal blue and aluminum, left Quebec City on May 18.  A pilot train, carrying officials and the press, preceeded the royal train by one hour and no other trains were permitted to travel within this period.  The travel arrangements were shared by the two railways with CP being responsible for the westward journey to Victoria.  CP used 4-6-4 locomotives 2850 and 2851 for the royal and pilot trains respectively, except for the Ottawa to Brighton, Ont, section, which was over CN track.  2850 hauled the royal train without change right through to Vancouver, a total distance of 3224 miles.  Royal crowns were painted on the running boards of both locomotives and these were eventually fitted to the entire class (2820-2864) which, following approval from their majesties, came to be known as Royal Hudsons.
May 18 - The Royal Train tied up for the night at Caledonia Springs on the Canadian Pacific M&O subdivision.  To give the royal couple a restfull night, between 12:01 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. other trains were not allowed to exceed ten miles per hour through the area and did not whistle for public crossings which were manually protected.  Similar provisions were made at Gananoque Junction on the night of May 20-21.

See also Branchline, June 1999 also Canadian Rail July-August 1985, September-October 1989 and January-February 1990

1951, October - November.  Royal tour across Canada of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
Oct 9 - Montreal to Quebec City by train arr 09:47  having spent the night in the train in a secluded siding 20 miles from Quebec.
Oct 10 - Quebec to Ottawa by CNR, detraining at 10:00 at a special station constructed at Island Park Drive on the Renfrew subdivision.
Oct 12 - dep Union Station, Ottawa just after midnight, visit Cornwall (08:45 - 09:00), Brockville (10:05 - 10:25), Kingston, Belleville, Trenton Toronto (the train also slowed at Iroquois, Cardinal and Prescott).
Oct 14 - Toronto, St Catharines, Niagara Falls, Chatham to Windsor arriving about midnight into a siding opposite the Detroit river for overnight.
By air Windsor - Kapuskasing - Winnipeg.
Winnipeg - Regina - Calgary by train.
Oct 19 - Calgary to Kamloops by train with a stop at Banff.
Oct 20 - arrive Vancouver.
Oct 27-28 Vancouver to Edmonton by train.  The couple rode in the cab of CN 6057 from Yates (65 miles east of Jasper) to Peers (14.4 miles). Stops at Boston Bar and Edson.
Nov 4 (Sun) - boarded train in the evening at Ste. Agathe des Monts Que., and early Monday left for Maritimes with stops at St. Hyacinthe, Drummondville, Levis, Montmagny, Riviere du Loup, Rimouski and Mont Joli.
Nov 6 Fredericton, Saint John ( train arrived at sunset)
Nov 7 (Wed) arr Halifax afternoon.

 1958, July 27 - Royal train for Princess Margaret from Montreal to Ottawa using CP locomotives 1428-1904-1424.  The consist was CN15202, CN9283, CN9203, CN91, Acadia, Thunder Bay, Bedford, Burrard, Government Cars 1 and 2.  There was a return movement Ottawa to Montreal on August 5 behind CP 1428-1906-1426.

 1959 - Royal Visit.  Details needed, but the Queen visited Stratford, Ont., at least.
Ottawa Citizen 2 July 1959:
"In a driving rainstorm that sent water cascading through the leaky canopy of Union Station, the Queen and Prince Philip left by train for Hamilton last night, after a 26 hour visit in Ottawa
"The rain which had held off all day for the public functions finally came down just after eight o'clock.
During  her Ottawa visit ---omitted---
"Governor-General Massey, Prime Minister and Mrs. Diefenbaker, all in formal dress, met the couple, who appeared tired but relaxed at the Besserer Street entrance to the station.
In the station some 500 spectators pressed tightly behind naval personnel from HMCS Gloucester.
"After quiet goodbues the Queen and Prince Philip stepped inside their car and returned a few minutes later to wave their farewells.
CNR engineer Floyd Goodfellow took the 16-car royal train away with a whisper.
"Queen Elizabeth left Hamilton aboard the royal train for Brantford, Ont., at 12.36 p.m. after a 2 1/2 hour tour of the steel center."

 1974, May 13  CPR operated a special train from the Winnipeg to Brandon for the Centennial of Winnipeg.  The train was on nthe occasion of the visit of Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon.

 1977, October - The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh ride behind steam locomotive 1201 between Ottawa West and Wakefield, Que. The engine crew are A. Sabourin and R. Lamothe with conductor D. Gaw and brakemen P. Robinson and S. Palmer. Bytown Railway service crew were Duncan H. duFresne, Colin J. Churcher and Robbie Millikin.
Click below to see invitation for special guests (three pages)
Royal Train page 1
Royal Train page 2
Royal Train page 3

 1982, July 15 - A Royal train was operated between Winnipeg and Brandon, Man, when Princess Margaret visited Brandon during the city's centennial celebrations.  The train consosted of Canadian Pacific locomotives 8528 and 8517 with cars Strathcona, Killarney, VIA diner 103 and the two Government of Canada official cars.  A picture appears in Canadian Rail December 1982.

1984, September 27 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II toured the St.Lawrence Valley participating in local celebrations honouring the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists.  The train left Cornwall and travelled to Kingston with a stop at Prescott.  (See "Majesty Rides the Rails by Doug Smith, Branchline September 1984)

Updated 14 March 2024