The Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) is excited to announce the complete schedule for the 2019 season; which will include the operation of steam locomotives Pere Marquette 1225 and Lehigh Valley Coal Company 126. This year will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Michigan State University Railroad Club, the first incarnation of SRI who commenced the initial restoration of the 1225 at its old display site on the MSU campus back in 1969.
The operating season will begin in late April with Lehigh Valley 126, a privately-owned tank engine and star of the Amazon series “Have Steam Engine Will Travel,” offering one-hour excursions out of Kalkaska for the town’s National Trout Festival. SRI will once again host the Summer of Steam, a series of family fun events and one-hour excursions with the 126 throughout the summer months. Destinations includes Cadillac for the Lakes Cruise & Car Show, Fife Lake during the Fourth of July, and the Steam Railroading Institute grounds in Owosso for Trains & Tractors and the Hobo Camp open houses.
October will provide unique opportunities to experience the autumn foliage of Northern Michigan in style with the annual Fall Color Tours. Passengers will take in the color drenched beauty aboard SRI’s vintage coaches or historic cabooses, pulled by a Great Lakes Central Diesel Locomotive. These thriving excursions will take place on October 12th, 13th and 19th with all-day excursions from Kalkaska to Petoskey and from Cadillac to Clare. Hour-long side trips will also be available on those days out of both Petoskey and Clare.
The highlight of the 2019 season will take place on October 5th when the Pere Marquette 1225 heads an all-day steam excursion from Mount Pleasant to Cadillac, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Michigan State University Railroad Club. As a special bonus, the trip will also operate on the 44th anniversary of 1225’s first fire up at its display site on the MSU Campus; October 5th, 1975. It was the culmination of six years of restoration work by the MSU Railroad Club as the locomotive had not known steam for twenty-two years at that time.
Hands on the Throttle at the Steam Railroading Institute will be provided on June 16th, 23rd and July 21st with Lehigh Valley Coal Co. 126, and with Pere Marquette 1225 on October 6th. This popular program is a unique opportunity to live the dream of being the honorary engineer of an authentic steam locomotive while taking a trip back in time to the golden age of steam railroading.
The 2019 season will conclude with a nostalgic journey back in time to the Christmas of yesteryear on the North Pole Express, once again pulled by the Pere Marquette 1225. Passengers will depart from the Steam Railroading Institute for a four-hour, round trip excursion to the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas. The North Pole Express will operate on Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 10am and 5pm each day, starting on November 16th and concluding on December 21st.
About the Steam Railroading Institute: The Steam Railroading Institute is the product of the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation Inc. Situated on the site of the former Ann Arbor Railroad’s steam shops and roundhouse in Owosso, SRI’s mission is to educate the public about steam era railroading in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. This includes the preservation of the skills and technology for maintaining steam locomotives by operating steam era equipment and providing the experience of steam locomotives in actual operation. This is all possible through mainline excursions, train rides, special events, demonstrations, tours, and individual and corporate donations.
Tickets are now available to purchase at MichiganSteamTrain.com or by calling (989)399-7589.