cp 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives


The Canadian Pacific Railway ordered 20 of the 4-6-4 Hudsons from the Montreal Locomotive Works (which was part of the American Locomotive Company) in the late 1920s. The design goal for these new locomotives was to improve on the Class G3 4-6-2s that were the top motive power for the CPR. A 23% larger fire grate and a boiler with a large superheater and combustion chamber were made possible because of the 4-6-4 wheel arrangement. The CPR bought these locomotives in two orders. The first order for 10, Class H-1a, (road numbers 2800 through 2809), was delivered in 1929, and the second order for 10, Class H-1b (road numbers 2810 through 2819), was delivered in 1930. The introduction of the Hudsons improved running times and reduced the number of locomotive changes needed to cross Canada from fourteen to nine.

In the late 1930s the CPR, having concluded that streamlined shrouds were not cost effective, decided that there was value in an aestheticly pleasing locomotive and ordered more Hudsons designed to have softer lines and styled with an outstanding color livery. The first 30, Class H-1c (road numbers 2820 through 2849), arrived in 1937 and in 1938 another 10, Class H-1d (road numbers 2850 through 2859) were delivered.

The fifth and final order for five Class H-1e (road number 2860 through 2864), were similar in appearance but, because they were destined for operation in the far west, were built to burn oil and were delivered in 1940.

These Hudsons were highly successful and versatile on the CPR. There were 65 built in total, the vast majority for passenger service. These machines were very reliable and regularly ran an average of 180,000 kilometers a year, a very respectable figure for a steam locomotive. They could attain speeds up to 145 km/h while hauling 15 passenger cars. When they were replaced by diesel-electric ones in the mid 50's the 2858 survived hauling freight service for CPR.

In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth toured Canada by train from Quebec to Vancouver. They used a CPR train pulled by one the very new Hudsons, number 2850. This locomotive, as well as number 2851 which led a pilot train that proceeded the "Royal" train by one hour, were specifically painted for this assignment. The special livery included Royal blue and silver paint, stainless steel boiler cladding and the royal arms painted on the tender. Also a crown was painted on the skirt just ahead of the cylinders.

After the tour, both of the locomotives used were returned to the standard livery. Later the CPR was granted special permission to use the crown on the running boards of its newer Hudsons (road numbers 2820 through 2864) and to designate them as "Royal" Hudsons.

5 CPR Hudsons survive today.

Roster by Richard Duley

ClassQtyRoad NumbersYear BuiltBuilder

CPR Hudson Specifications
 Class H-1aClass H-1c
Wheel Arrangement:4-6-44-6-4
Length:91' - 2"90' - 10"
Drivers:75" dia.75" dia.
Weight on Drivers:194,000 lbs194,000 lbs
Locomotive Weight:360,000 lbs355,000 lbs
Locomotive & Tender Weight:652,000 lbs648,500 lbs
Grate Area:80.8 sq ft80.8 sq ft
Cylinders (dia x stroke):(2) 22" x 30"(2) 22" x 30"
Boiler Pressure:275 lbs275 lbs
Tractive Effort:45,300 lbs45,300 lbs
Tender Capacity:
Water:14,400 gals14,400 gals
Coal:21 tons21 tons




Introduction and roster provided by Richard Duley. Class details and specifications provided by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media.