Progress on Pere Marquette 1225

The Steam Railroading Institute, custodian of Pere Marquette 2-8-4 no. 1225, maintains a great Facebook Page documenting their progress in returning no. 1225 to service. They’ve posted several excellent photos of the crew driving rivets as part of the firebox repairs. If you’ve never seen this work in person, take a look – this is preservation not only of equipment, but nearly obsolete skills in today’s world.

National Public Radio report on TrainFestival

Photo by Dennis Livesy.

NPR report here.

Steam train enthusiasts from around the world are converging on Owosso, Mich., this week for a once-in-a-generation gathering. The Steam Railroading Institute is hosting a train festival it says is unlike anything since the World’s Fair in 1984.

Also, a local TV report here.

By all accounts TrainFestival attendance is exceeding expectations – great news in the current economy.

Track SP 4449 on GPS and Twitter

SP 4449 is fired up, and later today will move from Brooklyn Roundhouse to Portland Union Station in anticipation of tomorrow’s departure for Spokane. (See the Schedules Page for more information.) The train has been fitted with a GPS tracking device – you can follow the cross-country trip at the TrainFestival web site.


In addition, expect updates on Twitter. Suggested hashtags are #4449 and #tf09.


NKP 765 Summer Excursion Schedule Announced

Following over two years of research, negotiations, planning, and scheduling, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society will be highballing Nickel Plate Road no. 765 to North Judson, Indiana’s Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in May.

No. 765 will operate roundtrips on preserved Chesapeake and Ohio trackage between North Judson and LaCrosse, Indiana Memorial Day Weekend and Father’s Day Weekend this summer. The locomotive will pull three trips daily both weekends using the Ohio Central Railroad’s passenger fleet with all trips departing North Judson featuring photo runs for passengers.

Tickets for these trips are on available at or by calling 260-493-3885.

In July, no. 765 will travel to Owosso, Michigan to star alongside Lima Locomotive Works relatives PM no. 1225 and SP. no. 4449 in the nation’s largest railroading event of the year as it and seven other historic steam locomotives operate in public exhibition and recreational passenger service. The 765 will be on live-steam static display July 24th and 25th and operate a day-long passenger excursion on July 26th.

Tickets for this event may be purchased online at

SP 4449 Rides Again

It’s turning into a Lima reunion.

Ex-Southern Pacific 4-8-8 no. 4449 will depart Portland, OR, July 3 on a 2500-mile cross-country trek to Train Festival in July, where it will join ex-NKP 765 and ex-PM 1225 in Owosso, MI.

In cooperation with Amtrak, BNSF Railway, and Friends of the 261, no. 4449 will operate via the “Empire Builder” route, hauling a train of private cars to Minneapolis, MN. Then it’s on to Chicago and Durand, MI, where the Daylight will enter the Great Lakes Central tracks to Owosso.

Once at Train Festival, no. 4449 will power an excursion to Alma, Michigan, on Friday, July 24, and be on display Saturday and Sunday.

After Train Festival, no. 4449 will return to Minneapolis, where it will lay over until until fall, when the Friends of the 261 will feature it on their usual public excursions. No. 4449 will then return to Portand to fulfill its duty on “Holiday Express” trips.

It’s been 35 years since a young Doyle McCormack took on the task of rehabilitating a display locomotive for service on the American Freedom Train. No. 4449’s current boiler certification will expire in June, 2013, so this may be the Daylight’s last cross-country trip for a very long time indeed. So don’t miss this one.

Pere Marquette no. 1225 out and about

(Photo by Michael Allen.)

The Steam Railroading Institute’s Pere Marquette 2-8-4 no. 1225 was out and about this week at the request of RailAmerica. Departing Owosso at dawn on June 17, it picked up a a 15-car freight train in Durand before being turned (which required a trip onto CN’s ex-GTW main and around the landmark Durand Union Station) and heading up RailAmerica’s ex-GTW Huron & Eastern to Bay City.

On June 18, 1225 hauled a dinner train for guests of RailAmerica. Once its duties were completed, 1225 made a night-time trip back from Bay City to Owosso, arriving about 3:00am on June 19th. See more photos of the action on here and here.

Here’s hoping that TJ Gaffney, Greg Udolph, and the entire crew (including RailAmerica’s Charlie Kricher) get caught up on their sleep this weekend.

1225’s next outing will be a July 26 round trip to Alma, MI – see the Schedules page for details.

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