This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
Royal Tour 1939
CN 6400 achieved the peak of its fame in 1939 when it carried King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the Royal Tour across Canada and then went on display at the “World of Tomorrow,” the New York World’s Fair.
The Face of Modern Rail Travel: Sleek and Streamlined
Manufactured at the Montreal Locomotive Works for Canadian National Railways (CNR) in 1936, this steam locomotive featured a semi-streamlined body — designed by National Research Council of Canada engineers — and a state-of-the-art steam engine. CN 6400’s sleek lines also made it a favourite in the CNR’s promotional material where it became the face of modern rail travel. By the late 1940s, though, the age of steam was coming to a close. CN gradually withdrew and scrapped most of its steam locomotives. It spared CN 6400 because of its technical and symbolic importance.