The Steam Railroad Institute takes passengers from Owosso to the village of Ashley’s Country Christmas, a late 1940’s Christmas village, offering live entertainment, music, food, games, shopping, elves, reindeer, horse drawn wagon rides and of course an appearance by Santa who will give away the first present of Christmas (just like in the movie).
This Famous Steam engines image and sounds were used to create the train which appears in the Warner Brothers Christmas classic, The Polar Express.
The 1225 has been undergoing her 15 year federally mandated rebuild since the end of 2009. This rebuild, paid for by donations from all over the world, has taken 4 years.
The Pere Marquette 1225 is a 4-8-2 Berkshire locomotive built by the Lima Corporation for the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1941. She stands 16 feet tall and is 101 feet long with a combined engine and tender, and weighs 400 tons. The locomotive produces 3000 horsepower and has pulled as many as 60 freight cars between Michigan factories and northern Indiana steel mills to support the war effort.
The 1225 was retired in 1951 and was saved from the scrap heap by Michigan State University who was seeking a static display piece as a tribute to the steam-era. In 1969 engineering students from MSU set out to restore the locomotive to operating condition. The 1225’s restoration was completed in 1988, making it the largest operating steam locomotive in Michigan. Now the Pere Marquette 1225 resides at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso Michigan.
Anyone interested in knowing more about the 1225 or the Steam Railroading Institute, its museum, excursions or programs can call 989-725-9464 between 10am and 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, or visit michigansteamtrain.com for more information.