Sunday, March 16, 2014

Watching the Pere Marquette 1225

I have been waiting for this for a while.  I found out that the Pere Marquette 1225 would be making a trip from Owosso (which is near Flint) to Clare (which is roughly in the middle of the state).  It was supposed to be a two and a half hour trip and I was hoping to catch it at points along that trip.
 I arrived at the Steam Museum in Owosso a little early so that I could get some pictures of the train preparing for the event.  It was pretty cool to see a living and breathing steam engine about to embark on a journey like that.
 The Pere Marquette 1225 was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio in 1941.  She is a 2-8-4 locomotive.  This is also known as a Berkshire locomotive.
 This is actually the second Pere Marquette engine of this configuration that I've taken pictures of.  The other is the 1223 engine in Grand Haven.  These are the last two Pere Marquette engines like this.
 They pulled the Steam Engine away and then attached this diesel to the cars.  I was not sure why they were doing this.  I thought maybe they were backups in case the 1225 had issues since she just had some pretty serious work done on her.
 Diesel engines are cool but not as cool as a steam engine.
 The 1225 was brought over to the Chesapeake and Ohio when the Pere Marquette railroad was acquired.  She remained in service for another four years and then was destined for the scrap heap.  In 1957, a Michigan State University trustee was asked if the University would like a steam engine.  The trustee asked the Dean of Engineering but he didn't think that students would be interested in obsolete technology.  The engine was then given to the MSU museum.
 The Locomotive stayed on display for 10 years and then a Michigan State Railroad club took it over.  They repainted the engine and did some other work.
 In 1975, they restored the boiler and got the whistle working. 
 Eventually the engine ended up in Owosso.
 The blueprints for the 1225 was used for the train in the Polar Express as were it's sounds.  The author of the book the movie is based on was from Grand Rapids and would go to Michigan State home games and played on the train.  I can't understand why a dean of Engineering would say that Engineering students wouldn't be interested in a steam engine.  Even though it is old technology, it is an important chunk of our history.
 Sadly, I had the wrong lens for this part.  They were blowing out the boilers.
 I could crop the picture though but it doesn't look nearly as cool.
 And then the train pulled up to pick up the passengers.
It turned out that the diesels were added for another reason.  They would end up pulling the cars to Clare.  This is a picture of the 1225 heading back into the barn.  Evidently, they didn't file the proper paperwork or something.  She did end up meeting the train again at Carland later but I was well up north at that point.

I had mapped out the route in the hopes of catching it in other places.  Since it wasn't going to be covering that route, I ended up heading up north.  I was still happy to get the pictures I did get though.

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