In 1939 King George VI, accompanied by his wife Queen Elizabeth, became the first reigning British monarch to visit Canada. For 31 days Their Majesties toured their Canadian Dominion from coast to coast in a 12-car train described by the Canadian Pacific as "regal in appearance, luxurious in interior decorations and appointments," and "in every way a home and a castle." The King, being something of a railroad buff, occasionally rode in the cab, and after one such cab ride the Queen was heard to remark, "That was a thrilling experience." The Canadian National used four different locomotives to handle the eastbound leg of the trip. The Canadian Pacific, however, handled its 3,224-mile westbound leg with a single locomotive, streamlined Hudson No. 2850, except for some assistance over mountain passes. In recognition of 2850's flawless performance, the Canadian Pacific was granted permission to designate its entire class of streamlined Hudsons as "Royal Hudsons," with the engines wearing the royal family crown on their running boards. If ever a locomotive was granted knighthood, this was it.
The Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson rejoins the RailKing Imperial lineup for 2009 in four authentic paint schemes. Engine 2850 wears the blue livery and royal coats of arms applied for Their Majesties visit. Matching cars with royal crowns and coats of arms are listed in the RailKing passenger car section. Hudson 2851 led the pilot train that preceded the royal train on its journey, bearing members of the press and other personnel. Canadian Pacific cars for the pilot train are also offered. Engine 2839 was retired by the CP in 1960 and restored for service in the Southern Railway's steam program, where it hauled excursions in the late 1970s and early 1980s and performed in the movie Coal Miner's Daughter. Restored once again, it resides today in the Nethercutt Collection Museum in San Sylmar, California. Royal Hudson 2860 became a tourist icon of British Columbia, leading steam excursions for 25 years until a forced retirement in 1999. Restored in 2006, it steams today at West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, BC.