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MARP meets Nov. 12 in Lapeer

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Lapeer Amtrak Station
78 Howard Street, Lapeer MI 48446

 Map & Directions

Make your plans now to attend the November 12 MARP meeting at the Amtrak station in Lapeer. PLEASE NOTE that the meeting will begin promptly at 12 o’clock Noon and end no later than 2:30 pm.

Our speaker will be T.J. Gaffney. He will speak on passenger train history in the eastern Thumb area, particularly in the Lapeer area. Gaffney is the owner of Streamline Historic Services, and is a consultant and contract historian to the museum and preservation fields. He is the former Director of the Steam Railroading Institute and the past Curator of Collections of the Port Huron Museum. He has written several articles on rail, maritime and local history and is the author of two books. The most recent is Rails Around the Thumb, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Rail series. He lives in Port Huron with his wife, Heather, son Thomas, and daughter Phoebe.

If you would like grab a PRE-MEETING bite to eat and a chance to socialize with fellow members, we suggest stopping at Leo’s Coney Island 282 S Main St, Lapeer MI 48446. To allow plenty of time, plan to be there by 10:30am-10:45am. Leo’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  From I-69, go north on M-24/Lapeer Rd. which becomes Main St. You will see Leo’s on your left just north of Turrill Ave. From here, it is a 3-minute drive to the Amtrak station via Turrill Ave and S Court St.

If you would like to carpool to the meeting, please reply to this email. We’ll try to match you up with others in your area.

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Built by Grand Trunk Western, the Lapeer depot opened in 1906. Currently serving passengers on the Blue Water route, the depot received a complete historic restoration in 2004 led by the local transit agency which owns the depot. CLICK HERE for a photo of the station taken by MARP member Ren Farley.

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Twelve Twenty-Five: The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive

Please join us for an early evening hosted by MSU Archives and MSU Press featuring an enlightening retelling of the history of a World War II-era steam locomotive and the determination of two generations of volunteers to keep it running!

Kevin P. Keefe will be speaking October 26, in Conrad Hall, Room 102, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. regarding his new book Twelve Twenty-Five: The Life and Times of a Steam Locomotive.

Pere Marquette 1225 was built in 1941 at the peak of steam locomotive development. The narrative traces the 1225’s regular freight service in Michigan, its unlikely salvation from the scrapyard for preservation at Michigan State University, and the subsequent work to bring it back to steam, first by a student club and later by a railroad museum. Milestones along the way include 1225’s retirement in 1951, its donation to MSU in 1957, its return to steam in 1988, a successful career hauling tens of thousands of excursion riders, and its starring role in the 2004 movie The Polar Express.

The MSU Archives will host an open house featuring unique historical documents and photographs of the 1225.

Keefe will have books available to sign and light refreshments will be served.

Date and Time

Wed, October 26, 2016

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT

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Location

Conrad Hall

888 Wilson Road

East Lansing, MI 48824

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Dowagiac man leading efforts to fund repairs to local train station

From Dowagiac Daily News:

For the past five winters, the bright white lights hanging from the roof of Dowagiac’s historic train depot have shined like a warm beacon during cold evenings downtown.

That brilliant visage may soon burn out, though, without some generosity from the local community.

Dowagiac’s Ron Leatz has recently began a new fundraising campaign to pay for repairs to the 1903 train depot’s outdoor lighting system, which has begun to fail due to ongoing wiring problems. Leatz is seeking to raise $5,200 in donations to fund the work, in hopes of having it completed by year’s end, he said.

Leatz, a volunteer with the Michigan Association for Railroad Passengers who serves as the “host” for travelers
riding the Amtrak trains that stop at the depot, was responsible for organizing the initial “Light Up the Depot” campaign in 2010 that funded the installation of the lights to begin with.

The Dowagiac man was inspired to install such light fixtures on the historic train station after seeing the efforts of the Niles’ Four Flags Garden Club, which pays for the installation of Christmas lights every winter at the city’s own vintage Amtrak station, Leatz said.

In order to accomplish his goal of lighting up Dowagiac’s depot, Leatz collected $8,000 from residents and businesses throughout the Dowagiac community in 2010. The city, which maintains the depot, then used the funds to pay for a contractor to install Christmas lights atop its roof.

“They used a very low wattage for the bulbs, to make it look like the kind of lighting used at the turn of the century when the station was built,” Leatz said.

Instead of serving as temporary decorations for the holiday season, the lights placed atop the Dowagiac station were installed permanently, switching on every season at the start of daylight savings time and switching off when daylight savings time ends, Leatz said.

“I did not want to collect such a large amount of money and only have them up for only 30 or so days,” he said.

The elements have taken their toll on the more than 2,200 feet of wiring powering the light bulbs, though, with the damage causing issues to the building’s electrical system, he said. In order to fix the problem, the wiring will need to be completely replaced, though the installer should be able to reuse the 1,700 light bulbs currently in place, Leatz added.

With the winter season rapidly approaching, Leatz said he is beginning to go door-to-door asking for help with the new fundraiser.

“When we did this the last time, we had people donating just a dollar or even pocket change to the effort,” he said. “When you are trying to raise this much money, every little bit adds up.”

People wishing to contribute to the cause can write checks to “Light Up the Depot,” and can either drop them off to the city treasurer office inside Dowagiac City Hall or mail them to the city at P.O. Box 430, Dowagiac, MI 49047.

For more information, people can call Leatz at (269) 782-0635.

Source: http://www.leaderpub.com/2016/10/18/dowagiac-man-leading-efforts-to-fund-repairs-to-local-train-station/