By David F. Rooney
Railway Days may have been
formally kicked off on Thursday but it really began on Friday with CP Employees’ Day at the Railway Museum and other activities around town. The major highlight of the day? The arrival of The Empress carrying a special historical exhibit that includes the actual Last Spike that was driven at Craigellachie in 1885.
You can see the Last Spike and other historical artefacts on Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm and from 4 pm until 6 pm. Please note that The Empress — and its special cargo — will be leaving town on Sunday morning so you really only have one day to see it.
In the meanwhile, here is a selection of photos of from The Empress’ arrival and the special fund-raising banquet that was later held at the Railway Museum:
Cats and the Fiddle perform for the crowd that gathered at the CP Rail yard Friday to greet The Empress when she arrived pulling a special Museum Car containing some special historical cargo: the actual Last Spike that was driven at Craigellachie 125 years ago. David F. Rooney photo What's a major public event without a lot of speechifying? Here, MLA Norm Macdonald has a few words to say about the importance of the CPR to the development of Canada and its special relationship with the people of Revelstoke and the rest of the riding of Kootenay-Columbia. David F. Rooney photo Jennifer Dunkerson, executive director of the Railway Museum, received a special gift for its displays from CPR Vice-President Gord Pozzobon — an antique radio telephone used by CPR crews. David F. Rooney photo An IMAX film crew arrived on the Empress and pressed the crowd into service for a film they are making. David F. Rooney photo Here's another view of the IMAX crew getting the crowd to wave flags and cheer. David F. Rooney photo The Empress blows some steam that seems to be building that nearly surrealistic cloud over the valley. David F. Rooney photo The CPR's special historical exhibit occupies one car and tells what is essentially Canada's story from the 1880s on. It will be open to the public on Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm and from 4 pm until 6 pm. You will NOT want to miss this. David F. Rooney photo People under 25 may not know that Canadian Pacific operated not only rail and shipping lines, but a major international air carrier, as well — CP Air. David F. Rooney photo Travelling aboard any CP passenger train was synonymous with fine dining and style. You were served real food — not factory-prepared pseudo-food — that was served on fine china with actual silverware. David F. Rooney photo This is a sliver of wood from the tie into which the Last Spike was driven. Presented as an historical relic, it was given to the CPR by Edward Mallandine who was the boy who appears in the famous photo of the driving of the Last Spike. David F. Rooney photo How many Last Spikes were there? Let us count: one that was bent and, consequently doesn't really count, a second that was driven in at Craigellachie and is considered the true Last Spike and a third made of silver and was presented to Cornelius Van Horne. David F. Rooney photo And here, on loan to the CPR from the national Museum of Science and Technology for this special exhibit, is the actual Last Spike. It looks mutilated because it was. Pieces of it were removed and transformed into jewellery for the wives of CPR directors. David F. Rooney photo After the arrival of The Empress, the Railway Museum hosted a fund-raising banquet. It was very well-attended and featured steak, salmon or chicken prepared by Rusty Berarducci, chef at the golf course. Here, guests peruse some of the items that were on offer at a silent auction. David F. Rooney photo CPR Engineer Tom Price (center with the microphone) gave an excellent slide-show presentation called 128 Years of Mayhem to guests at the fund-raising dinner. His dry wit and in-depth knowledge of the history of disasters and near-disasters on CP rail lines was engrossing. David F. Rooney photo Railway Museum Executive Director Jennifer Dunkerson presents a special model of The Canadian to Gary Hazel of the Salmon Arm Model Railway Club at the conclusion of the dinner as Tom Price, George Hopkins and others look on. David F. Rooney photo