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TIMELINE for the 1939 Royal Train / Royal Tour of Canada

 
 
CITY
DATES
NOTES
This timeline is very much a work-in-progress. Any additions or corrections, please email.
Montreal - Brockville
May 1, 1939
Part of the Canadian Royal Train made a round trip test run from Montreal to Brockville, Ontario with six of the Royal Train cars. CN locomotive 6028 did the honors.
London - Portsmouth
May 6, 1939
The beginning of the Royal Tour of Canada. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their two daughters left Buckingham Palace for Waterloo Station where the Royal Train (the British version, altogether different from the Canadian version that is our subject) was waiting to take them to Portsmouth. From there, the Atlantic crossing to Canada aboard the liner Empress of Australia began. (The princesses stayed behind.) Unexpectedly heavy ice in the north Atlantic slowed their progress and arrival in the Dominion was delayed by two full days.
Montreal - Smith's Falls
May 9, 1939
The full Royal Train made an overnight round trip test run from Montreal to Smith's Falls, Ontario with all twelve of its cars. CP 2850 was the power, as it would be for the first 3,224 miles of the train's journey.
Quebec City
May 17, 1939
Their Majesties arrive in Canada, the first reigning monarchs ever to visit the New World. They disembarked the Empress of Australia at Wolfe's Cove in Quebec City to a crowd of thousands, including a contingent of Indians from the Huron tribe. After a day of receptions, the Royal Party spent the night at the Citadel.
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Quebec - Montreal
May 18, 1939
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth departed Quebec City on the Royal Train at 8:30AM enroute to Montreal, stopping at Three Rivers to pick up officials. After dinner in Montreal, the train departed at 10PM for Ottawa.
Ottawa
May 19, 1939
Ottawa suffered the brunt of the delay in Their Majesties' Atlantic crossing, seeing their visit shortened from four days to two. This first day was a day of receptions followed by a state dinner.
Ottawa
May 20, 1939
The King's birthday was celebrated in Ottawa (though it actually falls in December) and Her Majesty officiated at the laying of the cornerstone of the new Supreme Court Building.
Ottawa
May 21, 1939
After the unveiling of the National War memorial, the Royal Train traveled via Coteau Jct, Cornwall, and Brockville, making brief stops at Kingston and Cobourg on the way to Toronto.
Toronto
May 22, 1939
Their Majesties attended the running of the King's Cup at Woodbine Park.
Port Arthur
May 23, 1939
Travel was via Carley, MacTier, White River, Schreiber, Port Arthur and Fort William (where Their Majesties visited with a settlement of Ojibway Indians near Port Arthur and with the Cippewa near Ft. William), Raith, Ignace, before spending the night at Busteed.
Winnipeg
May 24, 1939
Travelling via Rennie, Their Majesties arrived in the morning for a day of receptions and speeches. In the evening the train left for Portage La Prairie, Brandon, and Kemnay where they spent the night.
Regina
May 25, 1939
Arriving via Elkhorn and Broadview, Their Majesties had tea at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police barracks. In the evening they departed via Moose Jaw and Waldeck where they spent the night.
Calgary - Banff
May 26, 1939
Arriving via Medicine Hat, Suffield, and Bassano, Their Majesties were greeted by 2,000 Indians of the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Stone, and Sarcee tribes.
Banff
May 27, 1939
Rest day in the Rockies.
Banff - Craigellachie - Salom Arm - Kamloops - Keefer
May 28, 1939
Left in the AM via Field, Beavermouth, Stoney Creek, Glacier, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Monte Creek, Kamloops and Keefer (night). To make it over the mountains, locomotive 2850 had help from class T1a 2-10-4 Selkirk #5919. The Queen even rode in the cab, sitting behind the fireman. The fireman's seat is now preserved in the Revelstoke Railway Museum.
Vancouver - Victoria (via CP ferry boat)
May 29, 1939
Arrived in the morning with receptions following. Took an automobile tour of the city. Left in the evening by ship for Victoria escorted by HMC ships Fraser, Ottawa, Restigouche, and St. Laurent, and by aeroplanes of the RCAF. Stayed at Government House.
Vancouver - Jasper
May 31-June 1, 1939
Left Victoria and travelled via Vancouver, New Westminster, Mount Lehman, Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Mount Robson, and Red Pass Jct to Jasper for a half day stay.
Edmonton
June 2, 1939

Travelling via Edson, the Royal Train arrived in Edmonton to the usual reception, plus 1200 Cree Indians who sang the National Anthem in their native tongue. The Royal Train departed in the evening to spend the night in Clover Bar.

Prairie Provinces
June 3, 1939
The next few days included brief stops in many towns. Among them: Wainwright, Artland, Biggar, Saskatoon, Watrous, Touchwood,and Melville.
Prairie Provinces
June 4, 1939
Rivers, East Tower, Winnipeg, Decimal, Redditt, Niddrie, Siuox Lookout, Savant Lake.
Prairie Provinces
June 5, 1939
Hornepayne, Fire River, Foleyet, Gogama, Laforest, Capreol, Sudbury Jct, Sudbury, and South Perry (night).
Ontario Points
June 6, 1939
Zephyr, Toronto, Guelph, Kitchener, Stratford, St. Mary's Jct, Glencoe, Chatham, and Windsor.
London - Niagara Falls
June 7, 1939
London, Ingersoll, Woodstock, Brantford, and Hamilton. Their Majesties had a front balcony room at the General Brock Hotel. The Royal Train entered the US at Suspension Bridge enroute to Washington, DC for a meeting with President Roosevelt. It would be the first state visit to the US by a reigning British monarch. Two sleeping cars were added to the pilot train for the American press corps. A diner, PRR 4500, was added for meals.
Washington, DC
June 8, 1939
In the early morning, the royal train got ahead of the pilot train after the latter developed a hotbox near Williamsport. The pilot train was 20 minutes behind at Baltimore. The press corp was not happy they'd miss the royal couple's arrival in Washington. The pilot train ran at 80 MPH and retook the lead over the Royal Train in Washington yards. The press got their coverage. Their Majesties later moved on to a reception at the White House.
New York City/New York World's Fair
June 10, 1939
The Royal Train traveled to Red Bank, NJ behind GG-1 4838, changing to steam at Jamesburg. From Red Bank, Their Majesties traveled by motor car to Ft. Hancock on Sandy Hook. They then traveled by a US Navy destroyer to the Battery at NY and then by car to the New York World's Fair. After spending the day at the fair, the royal couple traveled by car to Hyde Park to spend Sunday with President Roosevelt and the first lady. The royal and pilot trains deadheaded to Penn Station and then via Hell Gate Bridge to Poughkeepsie and on to New Rochelle where they awaited the return of Their Majesties.
Hyde Park - Montreal
June 11, 1939
In the evening the King and Queen left Hyde Park on the Royal Train for Montreal via the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Canadian Pacific. Their visit to the USA had ended.
Quebec Province
June 12, 1939
The Royal Train re-entered Canada at Rouse's Point, NY, then headed on to Sherbrooke, Leeds Tank, Joffre, Levis, St. Charles, L'Islet, Ste. Helene, Riviere du Loup and Trois Pistoles.
St. John
June 13, 1939
On arrival at Newcastle, Their Majesties motored to Fredericton. Between Fredericton and St. John (Fairville), the track was not sturdy enough to take the weight of the royal train, so a smaller, lighter train consisting of a locomotive, four day coaches, and a drawing room car was used instead. At St. John, they again boarded the Royal Train and headed to Moncton and Cape Tormentine.
Charlottetown
June 14, 1939
Arriving on board HMC Ships Skeena and Saguenay, the Royal Party visited the Province Building for a reception and speech. The Royal Party landed at Pictou in the evening and after visiting New Glasgow and Truro, arrived at Halifax.
Halifax
June 15, 1939
After lunch, His Majesty broadcast his farewell address to the people of Canada from the Nova Scotia Hotel. The Royal Party departed Hailfax for St. John's by boat on June 15, ending the run of the Royal Train after a journey of 8,377 miles.
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June 17, 1939
The flagship of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, the Empress of Britain, departed taking the king and queen back to England.
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