Posts Tagged ‘Pere Marquette 1225’

PM 1225 to Pull North Pole Express Excursions

November 4, 2021

Former Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 will pull a series of North Pole Express excursions between Nov. 20 and Dec. 19 in Michigan.

Except for trips on Nov. 26, all excursions will operate on Saturdays and Sundays.

Trains will depart Owosso at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on all days, leaving from the Steam Railroading Institute facility.

The trips will last an hour and 15 minutes and reach the “North Pole” in Ashley. About 90 percent of the tickets were sold within an hour after going on sale.

More information is available at https://www.michigansteamtrain.com/

Steam Saturday: 1996 Pere Marquette 1225 Excursion

November 21, 2020

An excursion led by Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 ran on Great Lakes Centrals ex-Ann Arbor Railroad line from Owosso to Lake George, Michigan on May 22, 1999.

Since there were no turning facilities at Lake George, the 1225 ran tender forward on the outbound portion.

On the return trip the locomotive ran facing forward. All of the images shown with this post were made during the return to Owosso at (in sequence) Rosebush, Forest Hill, Ithaca and Carland.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Remembering the Owosso Train Festival of July 2009

July 28, 2019

Southern Pacific Daylight 4449 returns to Owosso in late afternoon after an day trip to Alma and back on the former Ann Arbor Railroad.

It was 10 years ago this month that 36,000 people flocked to Train Festival 2009 held in Owosso, Michigan.

There was something for everyone, ranging from three mainline steam locomotives in steam to excursions to a Lego model railroad layout.

The event, held at the home of the Steam Railroading Institute, had its share of glitches, including rain, long lines to tour the steam locomotive cabs and a mechanical breakdown of SRI’s own steamer, Pere Marquette No. 1225.

Aside from Railfair 1999 in Sacramento, California, it was one of the most comprehensive railfan-oriented events I’ve ever attended.

A number of Akron Railroad Club members attended the event, which was held July 23-26.

I originally wasn’t going to attend the festival until I figured out a way to do it on the cheap.

My wife had a cousin who lived near Flint, Michigan, which is about 30 to 45 minutes from Owosso.

Dan was agreeable to going with me to the festival and I could stay at his house, thus avoiding lodging expenses.

The festival officially opened on July 24, but everything was up and running on July 23, a Thursday, and the day I was there.

After parking, Dan and I walked to a location north of the festival so I could photograph the day excursion being pulled by former Southern Pacific Daylight 4-8-4 No. 4449.

Getting open view of the Daylight and its train wasn’t a problem, but rain and overcast skies were.

I was still using slide film and I didn’t have enough film speed to make good images. My photographs turned out dark and a little blurry.

Then it was on to the festival itself, which featured the 1225, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, Leviathan 4-4-0  No. 63, three 0-4-0T switchers (Flagg Coal Company 75, Little River Railroad No. 1 and Viscose Company No. 6), and Little River Railroad 4-6-2 No. 110.

The latter provided motive power at one end of the one-hour excursion trains that operated throughout the day while the tank engines took turns taking a spin on the SRI turntable.

You could also purchase throttle time behind some of the tank engines and look inside their cabs.

The Leviathan had just been completed and was making its “world premier” at the festival.

Another notable visitor was Southern Railway FP-7 No. 6133, which traveled from the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It did not operate during the festival but you could visit its cab.

There was a large-scale model of Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 on static display and a few live steamers taking passengers for rides on temporary track.

There were diesels pulling the 7.5-inch gauge trains and I spotted Akron Railroad Club member Paul Emch at the throttle of one of those.

Also on display was a Great Lakes Central freight locomotive and various pieces of rolling stock from the SRI collection.

I wanted to maximize my time seeing the exhibits and steam locomotives so I didn’t chase any of the excursions.

Another factor was that I didn’t know the territory where the excursions were operating and didn’t want to try to learn it on the fly.

But ARRC members Peter Bowler and Paul Woodring did chase. Peter, in particular, was all-in on the festival, chasing multiple trips and taking part in the night photo shoot.

Another ARRC member on hand for the festival was the late Richard Jacobs.

For some reason, the line to see the cab of the 1225 was far shorter than that of the 765, so I focused on it.

That turned out to be a good thing because the 1225 later in the day developed a problem with a flue and had to be shut down. It missed its assigned turn pulling the day excursion on Saturday.

By late afternoon the clouds had begun to break and sunlight began peeking through.

That meant the SP Daylight and its train would return in sunlight and I could, at last, get decent images of it.

The challenge, though, was the sun angle. The 4449 and its train would be coming almost directly out of the sun. At best I could get good light on the side of the locomotive.

On the flip side of that equation, it meant good light for the pair of former Milwaukee Road passengers, including a Skytop lounge-observation car, in their striking traditional passenger livery.

I hung around a little while longer to get more photographs of the 4449 after it had cut off from its train and returned to the festival grounds.

The next morning I had a long drive ahead of me. The ARRC was meeting that night and I planned to get back in time to preside at the meeting.

But I spent time that morning photographing Canadian National trains in Durand and Amtrak trains in Ann Arbor before driving home to Ohio.

As far as I remember, most ARRC members who attended the festival stayed around a few more days.

Paul tells the story of how he spent most of his time chasing the excursion trains and making video, but he did visit the festival grounds on the last day.

At one point during a chase, he became annoyed at an airplane that was circling the excursion train and making a lot of noise in doing so.

If the festival were being held today, he noted, the party that chartered the plane to get overhead video would use a less noisy drone.

“I’m glad I got to go,” Paul wrote “It will probably be the only time I’ll ever get to see the SP Daylight.”

He said a prominent memory of the festival was arriving at the motel in Owosso at which he had made a reservation months earlier and upon arriving to check in being told he didn’t have a room.

Paul said he had been quoted a great rate when he made the reservation, but the motel didn’t give him a confirmation number and he had not asked the name of the man who took his reservation.

He thinks that what happened was that once the motel owners found out about the train festival they jacked up their rates.

“So, I staged a sit-in in the lobby loudly complaining to anyone who would listen what they did to me, until they gave me a room not normally given out because it really wasn’t in very good shape.

“However, I didn’t have much choice at that point because there weren’t any other rooms available all the way to Lansing.

Paul said he learned a lesson about doing everything possible to confirm room and rate when making motel reservations.

Memories, photographs and video of the Owosso train festival were the focus of the January 2010 ARRC program.

Four of us were to present with Paul showing video of his steam train chases, Peter showing still images of the steam excursions and night photo shoot, and Jake and myself showing images of the festival displays.

The program went off as scheduled, but I never got to show my images. Two weeks before the ARRC meeting I tore the retina in my left eye in three places and had to have surgery.

I was still recovering from that surgery and couldn’t attend the ARRC meeting. So Jake, Peter and Paul presented their segments in what was the first use of the tag team program format during an ARRC program.

So with this post I am finally showing, nearly 10 years later some of the images I would have shown on that cold January night had I been able to attend the ARRC meeting.

A view of the engineer’s seat inside Pere Marquette 1225. A mechanical problem later that day would mean the Berkshire would only be in steam for just one day during the festival.

A view from cab level of Pere Marquette 1225.

The former Milwaukee Road passengers cars on the rear of the long steam excursions was a most pleasing sight.

At one end of the hour-long excursions that operated throughout the day was this Great Lakes Central GP35 while . . .

. . . Little River Railroad provided the motive power for the other end of the train.

The newly completed Leviathan made its “world premier” at the Owosso train festival.

Viscose Company No. 6 takes a spin on the turntable as seen from the cab of the Leviathan.

The 2009 train festival has proved thus far to be my only encounter with Flagg Coal Company No. 75. Ahead of it is Little River Railroad No. 1

A Southern FP7 from the North Carolina Railroad Museum made the trip to Michigan to be among the displays of railroad equipment.

Norfolk & Western 611 made an appearance in Owosso — well, at least a model of it.

Two CN trains meet on the double track in front of Durand Union Station on Friday morning.

An Amtrak Wolverine Service train arrives in Ann Arbor on July 24. It was my last railfanning experience during my visit to the 2009 train festival in Owosso.

SRI Offering Hand on Throttle Experiences

May 2, 2018

The Steam Railroading Institute of Owosso, Michigan, is offering opportunities this year to operate a steam locomotive for a half-hour.

Participants will be able to operate a steam locomotive on tracks at the SRI facility. No previous locomotive experience is required, but you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

Tickets are $160 to operate Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126, an 87-year-old coal-fired tank engine.

Operating dates are June 8, 10 and 15, July 6 and Sept. 6 and 9.

Tickets are $550 to operate Pere Marquette No. 1225, a 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive.

Tickets may be purchased at www.michigansteamtrain.com or by calling 989-399-7589.

Pere Marquette 1225 to Pull All-Day Trip in October

July 26, 2017

Pere Marquette No. 1225 will pull an all-day trip in late October.

The 2-8-4 will travel from Alma to Owosso in an excursion named the Curwood Highlander. The Steam Railroading Institute said the Oct. 28 journey would be the first time the engine has pulled an all-day excursion between those two points.

The train is expected to depart from Alma at 10 a.m. Coach tickets are $99 per person and caboose class tickets are $129 per person.

SRI Will Restore 2-8-0 to Operating Condition

June 14, 2017

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute said this week that it will restore a 2-8-0 locomotive built by Baldwin in 1920.

The locomotive served the Mississippian Railway and the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. It was built, though, for short-line Jonesboro, Lake City & Eastern.

It last served the Mississippian, where it carried roster number 76 and remained on the motive power roster until the late 1960s.

Since then, the locomotive has had a series of owners until its acquisition by SRI in spring 2005.

Once restored, No. 76 is expected to pull excursion trains.

In its announcement, SRI said the restoration, which is expected to cost $500,000 and take five years, will be conducted largely by the group’s younger members.

“As young volunteers working on restoring a steam locomotive, we are at a crucial point,” said Logan Schupp, project manager of Project 76. “Most of the first generation of steam preservationists are passing on and with them their knowledge.”

Based in Owosso, the SRI owns and operates Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225.

PM 1225 to Pull August Excursions

April 20, 2017

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 will pull nine roundtrip excursions on Aug. 19 and 20 between Owosso and Howell, Michigan.

The hour-long trips are being conducted in conjunction with Howell’s annual Melon Festival.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Caboose seating is available for $25 for adults and $20 for children.

The excursions will depart from the Ann Arbor Railroad station in downtown Owosso.

The Lima Locomotive Works Berkshire will be fired up on Aug. 18 for hand on the throttle sessions to allow participants up to 30 minutes to operate the locomotive.

North Pole Express Tickets on Sale

February 27, 2017

Tickets are now on sale for the North Pole Express trips hosted by the Steam Railroading Institute of Owosso, Michigan, to be run later this year.

Steam Railroading InstituteThe trips will be pulled by Pere Marquette No. 1225, the locomotive that was used as the prototype for the steam engine in the 2004 Warner Bros movie The Polar Express.

The four-hour trips begin on Nov. 17 and will operate through Dec. 17. Trains leave from the SRI facility in Owosso and travel to the Country Christmas festival in Ashley, Michigan. The trip includes a two-hour layover in Ashley.

New for this year will be cocoa class tickets ($79), which include unlimited hot chocolate, a souvenir mug and bell, and a 1225 collector’s item.

SRI is also introducing economy plus bi-level class ($49), which provides a seat in a bi-level coach.

Other ticket classes are economy ($39), caboose ($1,500) and coach ($59). To purchase tickets call 989-399-7589 or visit www.michigansteamtrain.com

 

PM 1225 75th Anniversary Trip set on Saturday

November 3, 2016

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 will be in action this weekend pulling a sold-out excursion from Owosso to Clare, Michigan.

Steam Railroading InstituteThe trip is in part an anniversary celebration for the 75-year-old locomotive that was built by Lima Locomotive Works in October 1941.

The train will depart Owosso at 8 a.m. and is expected to reach Clare at noon, traveling over 71 miles of former Ann Arbor Railroad trackage.

The departure from Owosso is expected to be at 4 p.m.

In Clare, actors in 1940s dress will welcome the 1225 with, a brass band, birthday cake, and tours of the town’s train station that was used by the Ann Arbor and Pere Marquette.

Volunteers Needed to Help with PM 1225

July 17, 2016
The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan, has issued a call for volunteers and mechanics who are needed to help get Pere Marquette No. 1225 ready for its annual inspection at the end of July.

Steam Railroading InstituteThe  2-8-4 is scheduled to pull steam excursions for the Mellon Festival in Howell, Michigan, on August 20 and 21 and mechanics are needed to work between Tuesday and Saturday.

Those interested should contact Keven Mayer, the SRI’s chief mechanical officer at 989-725-9464 extension 6 or to stop by the SRI’s offices in Owosso.