The Empress steam train passed through Swift Current yesterday on the return journey from a cross-continental trip. 

Also known as the 2816, the locomotive was refurbished to celebrate the first anniversary of the Canadian Pacific Kansas City Southern (CPKC) merger by way of a record-breaking trip referred to as the Final Spike Steam Tour. 

Adam Meeks, a crew member with CPKC, has been a part of the journey since the day they left Calgary on April 26. 

“This has been an absolutely incredible experience for me and for the entire crew,” expressed Meeks. “To set a new world record for the longest steam haul passenger train with a single locomotive and the first steam powered train in history to cover Canada, the United States and Mexico in a single tour, it's been an absolute privilege.” 

The train last passed through Swift Current on its way to Mexico on April 27, proving the magnitude of the nearly hundred-year-old train and its devoted crew. 

“We're uniquely positioned to be able to do something like this, and it truly is an historic occasion, so it's great to see people out to enjoy that and it's been a pleasure to be a part of,” said Meeks. “You couldn't ask for nicer weather, the engine’s running great, you can smell the sweet grass, and the people are out. It's nice to be on the home stretch.” 

Many onlookers were impressed with the state of the 1930s machine, which has wheels that are 75 inches in diameter, and runs at an operating weight of 643,000 pounds. 

“I think it's great that the 2816 engine is coming through,” stated Swift Current mayor Al Bridal. “I'm not sure when they took it out of service, but to have the steam engine here today pulling a train like that, it's just really neat. It's something you don't see every day.”