182_4403-Edit.jpgOwosso, Mich. – The Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) is excited to announce a Summer of Steam, featuring three weekends of open houses and special events at their grounds this summer. This June and July, the sound of a whistle will echo across the Shiawassee valley with the return of the privately owned steam locomotive, Lehigh Valley Coal Company 126.

Last year’s premier summer event is back!  We are pleased to be collaborating again with the Heart of Michigan Antique Tractor Club for Trains & Tractors on June 15. Explore antique tractors, historic steam trains, vintage equipment and more. Discover how railroading and farming affected Michigan’s agricultural industry. Enjoy unlimited rides on the miniature 7 ½-gauge railroad, behind the scenes tours of the equipment and backshop, and more. One-hour steam train excursions behind the 126 will be available throughout the day.

On June 22 and July 20, SRI hosts Hobo Camp. Join Guitar Slim and his Hobo Gang to experience the charm, songs and storytelling of a time gone by. The train pulled by the 126 will depart from the SRI grounds for a leisurely one-hour train ride through the Shiawassee County countryside. Whether you choose to ride in a vintage coach or historic caboose, everyone who rides gets a Hobo Bindle! In addition, be sure to check out the SRI Gift Shop, enjoy unlimited rides on the miniature 7 ½-gauge railroad, behind the scenes tours of the equipment and backshop, bounce houses, petting zoo, free water and popsicles, and more.

A fan favorite, Hands on the Throttle, is back on June 16, 23, and July 21. This popular event allows a ticket holder to climb into the cab and operate the Lehigh Valley 126 steam locomotive as it rolls down the tracks from the SRI grounds. It is a unique opportunity to live the dream of being an engineer and take a trip back in time to the golden age of steam railroading.

Admission to the SRI grounds and open house events is free. Tickets for the steam train excursions are $15 for caboose and $10 for coach. Hands on the Throttle is $160 for thirty minutes of run time. Tickets are available to purchase at MichiganSteamTrain.com or by calling (989)399-7589.

Also part of the Summer of Steam are two out-of-town excursions, the Clam Lake Clipper in Cadillac on June 8 and 9, and The Patriot at Fife Lake on July 4 and 5. More details and tickets are available to purchase at MichiganSteamTrain.com or by calling (989)399-7589.

About Lehigh Valley Coal Company 126: Steam locomotive 126 is a 0-6-0 tank engine that was built in 1931 by the Vulcan Iron Works for the Lehigh Valley Coal Company. Restored in 2011 to operating condition by its owners at the Gramling Locomotive Works in Indiana, the 126 has gained an impressive notoriety in offering train rides and excursions throughout the country as well as starring in the Amazon series “Have Steam Engine Will Travel.” The Steam Railroading Institute is excited to have it join again this year for the Summer of Steam.

About the Steam Railroading Institute: The Steam Railroading Institute is the face 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. All this is possible through mainline excursions, train rides, special events, demonstrations, tours, and individual and corporate donations.

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