Train Festival 2009
Owosso, MI
July 23 - 26, 2009

On July 23 - 26, 2009, the Steam Railroading Institute of Michigan (the group which restored and runs the Pere Marquette 1225) held Train Festival 2009, a gathering of steam locomotives from all parts of the country. Besides the 1225, several other steam locomotive "celebrities" were in attendance, including the SP 4449 "Daylight" 4-8-4, the NKP 765 Berkshire, Flagg Coal Co. 75, and several other locomotives. An excursion was run each day from Owosso to Alma, MI and back, and the locomotives were on display at the Institute's headquarters in downtown Owosso.

The web site for Train Festival 2009 was here:

Train Festival 2009, Displays and Exhibits
The main festivities for Train Festival 2009 were held on the grounds of the Steam Railroading Institute in downtown Owosso, MI.
The star of the show was the Institute's own Pere Marquette 2-8-4, #1225. The Festival was held to help raise funds for the 1225's upcoming inspection and rebuilding. Unfortunately, the 1225 developed a problem with a tube in the boiler, and was unable to run any excursions during the Festival. (Note: The 1225 was used as the model for the steam locomotive in the movie "The Polar Express")
The SP 4449 "Daylight" 4-8-4 came all the way from Portland, OR to attend. This is the same locomotive which pulled the American Freedom Train across the western U.S. during the nation's bicentennial celebration.
Some more shots of the SP 4449.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society brought their Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 #765 to the Festival also. The 765, 1225, and 4449 were all built by the Lima Locomotive Works. The 765 and 1225 are especially close as they are both Lima "Super Power" Berkshire 2-8-4's.
The "Leviathan" 4-4-0 #63 is unique, because it was built from scratch as a replica of a locomotive from 1868, updated with modern safety devices. This Leviathan burns oil instead of wood, and made its debut at the Festival.
Leviathan rides the turntable!
Three different 0-4-0T switchers were under steam at the Festival, and visitors could purchases tickets to have throttle time behind these engines. They included...
...Flagg Coal Co. #75, the engine which was rebuilt by a father and son team...
...the Little River Railroad #1, and...
...the Viscose Company #6.
The North Carolina Transporation Museum (former Southern Railway Spencer Shops) brought their Southern FP-7 6133 to the Festival, and people could step up and sit inside it.
Some freight cars and diesels were also on display. The hourly train ride used passenger cars pulled by a Great Lakes Central diesel.
One tent featured several model railroads, which were popular with the crowds, and included a LEGO model railroad and skyscrapers.
Near the model railroad tent, an outdoor large-scale model railroad was set up which people could ride!
This is when you're SERIOUS about your model railroading - when your locomotive is so big that it needs its own travel trailer!
The Friends of the 261 were not able to bring their Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 #261 to the Festival (except for the headlight and number boards), since it is down for maintenance. However, they did have a souvenir booth at the show.

July 24 Excursion (headed by SP 4449)
The SP 4449 was used to power the Owosso-Alma excursion on July 24. Here she sits after pulling into the Alma station.
The excursion departs Alma to return to Owosso at 2:30 pm.
The SP 4449 is about a mile out of Owosso.
The train passes by and we see the Sky Top dome car Cedar Rapids on the end.

July 25 Excursion (headed by NKP 765)
The Pere Marquette 1225 was originally scheduled to pull the July 25 excursion, but was sidelined with a boiler problem, so the NKP 765 filled in. Here she is leaving Owosso for Alma just before 10:00 am.
Once the excursions arrived at Alma and the passengers unloaded, the train was backed to a wye just outside town, where the loco ran around the train in preparation for the return trip. Here 765 pushes the train back.
765 cuts off the train and prepares for the run around move.
Now on the other end, 765 pushes the train back to the station.
Even the rural railroad crossings attracted throngs of railfans following these excursions!
NKP 765 brings the excursion home to Owosso just past 5:30 pm.

Inside the Shop Building
There were several interesting locos inside the Institute's shop building, including the extra tender used by SP 4449 on her cross-country journey.
This extra tender for the SP 4449 was being stored in the shop.
Some more equipment, including a steam locomotive frame.

Michigan State Police
The Michigan State Police helped with crowd control during the train excursions. Here are some of their unique police cars. Notice the huge push bumper on the third car!

A Side Trip to St. Louis (MI)
St. Louis, MI is just down the road from Alma, so I stopped by to visit our "sister city".
The St. Louis public high school. (They have just ONE high there's no point in asking what high school you went to)
St. Louis City Hall, and Police Department.
Welcome to beautiful downtown St. Louis!
The St. Louis water tower, and "Union Station".

Alco Switcher
Heading home, I came across this Alco S4 switcher at a grain elevator in Gilman, IL. Some googling found that it is ex-AT&SF 1528, and is now Cargill 1528.


Last modified: August 2, 2009