pere marquette berkshire #1225 

It is no secret that the Pere Marquette 1225 has a special place in my heart. When I was just 6 or 7 years old, my parents snapped a 35mm photo of my sister and me perched on a temporary stairway built to access the cab of this iconic locomotive as it languished on display at Michigan State University, still in its as-donated Chesapeake & Ohio livery. Thankfully, a group of motivated students formed a club to restore this magnificent piece of machinery and brought it back to steam in the mid-1980s. 

 

Now back in its original paint scheme, Pere Marquette 1225 is  currently based in Owosso, MI, where the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation proudly operates the Steam Railroading Institute on the grounds of the ex-Ann Arbor Railroad steam locomotive shops. Interesting how things all come full-circle: it was my great privilege and honor to volunteer during the recent firebox and boiler restoration, and to be in the cab assisting with hand-firing the locomotive at Steamfest 2014.... way, way better than a stairway photo this time! 

dreaming of the future, 1973

N Scale Bachmann Sound-Value Pere Marquette Berkshire #1225 on the author's display layout: locomotive is DCC and sound-equipped

living the dream, 2014

Made famous for its connection to Grand Rapids author Chris Van Allsburg's Polar Express children's story, and used as the primary source for all of the locomotive audio and graphic files in the Tom Hanks' classic animated holiday film, the Pere Marquette 1225 now pulls seasonal excursions and photo freights (with AA cabooses, no less). The Steam Railroading Institute also operates a very successful and popular North Pole Express service each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information or to arrange a trip to see or ride behind this awesome locomotive, please visit michigansteamtrain.com.

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