Owosso, Mich. – The Steam Railroading Institute’s (SRI) Pere Marquette steam locomotive No. 1225 will make its official 2019 debut with a series of special events the first weekend of October, which will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Michigan State University Railroad Club.
The Michigan State University Railroad Club was established in 1969 by a group of MSU students with the goal of restoring the 1225 from a displayed monument on the East Lansing campus since 1957 back to the superpower it once was. As the restoration continued, the locomotive was relocated to Owosso in 1983 and the MSU Railroad Club became the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation, also known as the Steam Railroading Institute. The now world-famous Pere Marquette 1225 has become the showpiece in the organization’s collection.
In the afternoon of Friday October 4, the 1225 heads a private excursion out of Owosso with a train full of Santa Clauses. This event is part of the famous Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School of Midland that specializes in the training of 300 Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves from around the world.
The Cadillac Limited, an all-day round-trip excursion from Mount Pleasant to Cadillac will take place on Saturday, October 5. Headed by the 1225, this sold out trip is operating on the 44th anniversary of the locomotive’s first fire up at its display site on the MSU campus. Passengers will ride in vintage coaches or historic cabooses through the fall foliage of northern Michigan with MSU Railroad Club members onboard as special guests. Kevin Keefe, former editor of Trains Magazine and author of the award-winning book Twelve Twenty-Five: The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive will also join us. Upon arriving in Cadillac, passengers will be able to explore this beautiful town and take in the different activities during the layover.
Sunday October 6th finds the Pere Marquette 1225 taking part in the Steam Railroading Institute’s Hands on the Throttle Experience. This sold out popular program is a unique opportunity to live the dream of being the Honorary Engineer while taking a trip back in time to the golden age of steam railroading.
About Pere Marquette 1225: Steam locomotive 1225 was built in October 1941 by the Lima Locomotive Works for the Pere Marquette Railroad. In 1957, the locomotive was retired and donated to the Michigan State University in East Lansing for display as an outdoor artifact to commemorate the steam era. In 1969, a group of university students commenced the restoration attempt on 1225 to operational service. Work continued in 1983 when the locomotive was moved to its new home in Owosso where the restoration was completed in 1988. Today the Pere Marquette 1225 is owned, maintained and operated by the Steam Railroading Institute, and is renowned for its role in the 2004 Warner Bros. Christmas Classic, THE POLAR EXPRESS™. 1225's blueprints were used as the prototype for the locomotive image as well as its sounds to bring the train in the animated film to life!