Posts Tagged ‘Steam Railroading Institute’

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/

CN Grant to Help Restore SRI Coaches

March 24, 2021

The Steam Railroading Institute will use a donation from Canadian National to repair three passenger cars.

The Owosso-based organization said the CN grant of $2,000 will be applied toward repair the brake valves on former CN coaches Nos. 5447 and 5646, so they can be used in excursion service.

Some of the grant will be used for window refurbishment and seal replacement on former Pennsylvania Railroad coach No. 147.

 “This will allow the continuation of repairs to three of our coaches and will be a significant and important job for our volunteers to better learn the inner workings of our passenger car fleet,” said Aaron Farmer, the institute’s mechanical manager, in a statement.

SRI Cancels 2020 Excursions

September 5, 2020

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute said this week it has canceled the rest of its planned 2020 excursions.

This includes the annual fall foliage specials and the holiday-themed North Pole Express.

In an announcement posted on its website, SRI, which is based in Owosso, cited the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the operation of excursion trains is identified as being among the highest risk activities associated with the spread of the virus.

The North Pole Express will be idle for the first time in 16 years.

SRI said it will explore options for safe, outdoor events in Owosso and hopes to offer a Pere Marquette Christmas experience. The group owns Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225.

The museum is currently closed for public visits in accordance local health department guidelines.

The announcement noted that with excursions stopped and the museum closed, it has lost its traditional sources of revenue.

It is seeking donations in an effort to help make up the income void.

Information on donating is available at michigansteamtrain.com/save-our-steamer or by mailing donations to Steam Railroading Institute; P.O. Box 665, Owosso, MI 48867.

Michigan Museum Delays Opening

May 29, 2020

The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan, has announced that it is delaying its opening for the season.

In a notice posted on its website, the museum said it was acting in compliance with a state stay-at-home order as well as to protect public health and the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff.

It is the second time this year the SRI has delayed its opening. It posted a similar postponement notice in March.

The latest notice did not give any indication as to when the museum might open for 2020.

In an unrelated development, the June meeting of the Michigan Railroad Club has been canceled due to state social distancing restrictions.

The Detroit area where the club is based has been among the hardest hit in the state.

Summer of Steam Set at SRI in Owosso

June 8, 2018

The Steam Railroading Institute has set its summer slate of programming that will include a visit by Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126.

The 0-6-0ST will offer train rides and hand on the throttle experiences in Owosso, Michigan.

Hands on the Throttle will be offered on June 8, 10, 15, 22 and 23; on July 6; and on Sept. 7 and 9.

Trains rides behind the Vulcan-built locomotive will be offered on all of those dates as well as June 9, July 7 and Sept. 8.

Tickets for the train rides are $8 for coach and $12 for the caboose. The hands on the throttle tickets are $160 for a half-hour of running time. Ticket prices do not include a processing fee.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Visitors Center front desk or by calling 989-399-7589.

C&NW 175 Arriving at SRI in Pieces

June 8, 2018

It may be arriving in pieces, but former Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 175 is making its way to its new home at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan.

The boiler of the R-1 class engine was delivered separately from the running gear on the journey by truck from the Mineral Range Railroad in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Altogether, the 175 was disassembled into four components of parts. The boiler had to be modified so that it would stay beneath the 45-ton load limit of the Mackinac Bridge.

The only other alternative to using the bridge would have been to use the carferry SS Badger between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan, or to truck the locomotive around Lake Michigan through Illinois and Indiana.

Permits would have been required for each state through which the boiler passed.

No. 175 was the last steam locomotive operated by the C&NW, pulling an excursion in 1957.

Built by the Schenectady Works in 1908, it spent much of its life working on C&NW lines in the Upper Peninsula. It is one of three R-1s still in existence.

SRI, which also owns Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225, plans to restore the 175 to operating condition at an estimated cost of $750,000.

Once operating, the 175 will be able to travel to places on the Great Lakes Central that are off limits to the larger No. 1225, including north of Cadillac, Michigan.

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.

SRI Restoring ex-C&NW 4-6-0 Locomotive

January 22, 2018

The Michigan-based Steam Railroading Institute plans to restore another steam locomotive to operating condition.

The group in Owosso has acquired former Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 175 from the Mineral Range Railroad of Ishpeming, Michigan.

The R-1 class Ten-Wheeler locomotive will join a fleet that includes Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 in pulling excursions on the Great Lakes Central Railroad.

No. 175 was built by Alco in Schenectady, New York, in 1908 and worked in Upper Michigan. It is one of three R-1s still in existence

“We’re very excited about a project that’s actually doable,” said SRI executive director Kimberly Springsdorf. “The 175 will be able to go places we can’t go with [No. 1225].”
Kevin Mayer, SRI’s chief mechanical officer, told Trains magazine that the organization decided to buy No. 175 after inspecting it last summer.

The inspection team, which included institute board member Preston Claytor and steam contractor Dan Pluta, determined during an ultrasound test of the boiler and a review of the running gear that restoration was feasible.
“This fits what we’re all about and helps fulfill our mission statement,” Mayer said.

No. 175 could potentially operate on the Great Lakes Central to Petoskey, Michigan, over a 71-stretch of track has bridges that cannot support the weight of the 1225.

SRI officials said they are now exploring fund-raising opportunities to pay for restoration of No. 175, which will be moved by truck to Owosso in June

 

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.