Image Description for the Soo-Spokane Train Deluxe, 1907

  Image courtesy: Canadian Pacific Corporate Archives, BR.280, Artist: C. Cuneo, 1907.  

This promotional watercolour was done in 1907 to illustrate the tail end "brass-railed open observation cars" for the new Soo-Spokane Trains Deluxe. This international service was run by the Canadian Pacific Railway and its USA subsidiary, the Soo Line, between Minneapolis. MN. and Spokane WA, but through Canada, the Crowsnest Pass Route, and Cranbrook. It also used the Spokane International line in the USA south of Cranbrook. From Spokane, connections were available to Portland, OR. From Minneapolis/St.Paul, there were connections to Chicago as well as connections via Sault Ste. Marie to Montreal, and from there to New York City, Boston, and to Portland, ME. The "Train Deluxe" can therefore be said to run from Portland to Portland, in the USA and in Canada.

The image was used in a 1922 publication by the Canadian Pacific, titled Summer Holiday Tours. From that point on, the image was mistakenly considered to be a 1922 image, while it was originally created by Artist C. Cuneo for the Canadian Pacific in 1907 for the "Train Deluxe" - 4 cars of the total set of which are now preserved and on display at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook, BC.

There were 6 complete sets (of 6 cars each) of this train built to maintain service. Four of the sets were owned by the Line, while two were owned directly by the Canadian Pacific to maintain certain international ownership criteria for internationally used trains.

The 6 tail-end cars were all named after cities in the south-eastern part of British Columbia, which was an important part of the route since the grades were substantially lower than the American railways passes to the south and the Canadian Pacific Mainline to the north. The cars owned by the Soo Line were named Fernie, Yahk, Nelson and Curzon, while the two cars owned by the Canadian Pacific were named Spokane and Cranbrook. All names were placed on the lower wall in the centre of the car, while the top of the wall just over the windows carried the words "Soo Spokane Line". This Museum has the car Curzon (# 708), the only one to survive. The Art Nouveau style railing is unique to the Barney & Smith Co. which supplied the cars to the CPR in 1907, and the clothing style of the women indicates the time period to be close to 1907.

The Soo-owned cars had the car number placed on the wall over the wheels, while the CPR-owned cars had the name "Canadian Pacific" placed on the wall above the wheels. In this image, the fist part of the word "Can" (for "Canadian Pacific") can be seen before the image disappears, indicating this was either the car Spokane or the car Cranbrook — a very appropriate image to use as the centrepiece of the Trains Deluxe website.

Detailed information on the 1907 "Soo-Spokane Train Deluxe"

Drawing Description of the car Curzon (a sister car to the Cranbrook) - Soo- Spokane Train Deluxe 1907. Drawing created by staff at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel.

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