Phone: (989)-725-9464

Find Us On:


    We are sending one last reminder that the train will be leaving promptly at 3:00 pm for your Sunday, November 22nd North Pole Express trip. We CAN NOT wait for late passengers. We are running our train on a commercial rail line that requires us to stay on schedule. It is not fair to the 800+ other passengers who are on the train waiting to depart when we hold the train for people who have not made it on time. We need you to plan for inclement weather and give yourself more time than necessary.

    Please plan to arrive by 2:00 pm.

    We will be letting people in to check in at 1:30 pm tomorrow and will be loading at 2:00 pm.


    6. Q: We received eight inches of snow, are the trains still running?
    A: Yes, the trips will still be running and the eight inches of snow should enhance your trip to the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas. Please remember that tickets are non-refundable so please plan your trip accordingly. Unless there is a State of Emergency declared by local or state government forbidding us from operating, we will run your trip. We will do our best to contact you in the case of emergency. If your trip is unable to run due to an emergency, your tickets will be fully refunded or traded for the next years North Pole Express based on your preference.

    ALSO -- Please watch for private property signs posted, we have been warned that people parking in private parking lots will be towed.

  • Village of Ashley's Country Christmas 2015

    Information about the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas

    Free Activities:

    • Hands on crafts  
    • Stage Entertainment
    • Visit with Santa & Mrs. Clause 
    • Reindeer
    • Glassblowing demonstrations
    • Horse drawn wagon rides
    • Animal Petting Farm 
    • Street Entertainment 
    • Write a letter to Santa and send it from a special post office
    • Wood Carving Demonstrations


    Activities that cost extra:

    • Pony Rides 
    • Ferris Wheel
    • Carousel
    • Slide and ball pit
    • Carnival games


    Food Vendors

    Elephant Ear, deep fried Oreo cookies, hot cider, purchase cider to take home, homemade candy canes, fresh roasted nuts, turkey dinner, pizza, walking tacos, hot dogs, soups, soft pretzels, corn dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, cappuccinos, ice cream treats, Czech bake goods, plus more



    Home accents, ornaments, scarves, candles, holiday items, carved items from our wood carver, purses, candies, toys, clothing, souvenirs, train whistles, pendants, vintage 1940 ornaments, decorations, aprons, jewelry, Christmas trees, Christmas tags, Christmas packaging, kerosene lamps, blown glass,  plus more

  • North Pole Express 2015!

    Dear Passengers,  

    Thank you for joining us behind our world famous steam locomotive, Pere Marquette 1225, from Owosso to the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas for our 2015 North Pole Express (NPE) Season! 

    The NPE trips are officially SOLD OUT! This excursion will host more than 800 passengers; so first and foremost, we ask our guests to be patient as our volunteers will get you checked in and aboard the train as swiftly as possible. Please note that with the exception of three paid staff members, all the people you will see hosting the train are Volunteers. These trips would not be possible without them and we are proud to have the best group of Volunteers around! It is our goal to provide you with a wonderful train excursion experience.  Please remember to dress for the weather.  You will be walking outside from building to building to do the various activities.  Here is more general information and a timeline for your trip:

    • Tickets will be available for pickup at the Will Call table in the back room of the Museum Welcome Center located at 405 S. Washington St. Owosso, MI 48867 ONE HOUR prior to your trip departure.  We will move swiftly as our lines are sorted alphabetically, and all seat assignments for Coach & Cocoa Class will be final and available at that point.  Reminder:  Owosso, MI is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone.  If you are traveling from the Central Time Zone, please take time difference into consideration for travel time. 
    • You will find free parking in the lot adjacent from the Steam Railroading Institute property, between the Capital Bowl/J.C. Penney’s parking lot and the NCG Movie Theater parking lot. Please do not park in the spots directly next to any of the businesses in that area, as those spots are reserved for customers of those establishments.  There are various lots around the city who may charge for parking.  See the map below for directions to the free parking designated for NPE.
    • You will be able to board the train immediately upon retrieval of your tickets.  There are bathrooms on the train but only a limited amount.  We have added bathrooms this year for your convenience on the way to board the train.  There is a nice bathroom trailer located just outside the south door where you will be exiting to board the train.  In addition, in the far end of the train by the Economy Class boarding, there are four more porta jons available for use while you wait.
    • Train Departure & Return Times:
      • Fridays – Departure promptly at 6:00 pm, arriving in Ashley at approximately 7:00 pm.  The train will depart Ashley approximately 9:00 pm, returning to Owosso at approximately 10:00 pm.
      • Saturday - Departure promptly at 11:00 am, arriving in Ashley at approximately 12:00 pm.  The train will depart Ashley approximately 2:00 pm, returning to Owosso at approximately 3:00 pm.
      • Saturday - Departure promptly at 5:00 pm, arriving in Ashley at approximately 6:00 pm.  The train will depart Ashley approximately 8:00 pm, returning to Owosso at approximately 9:00 pm.
      • Sunday - Departure promptly at 3:00 pm, arriving in Ashley at approximately 4:00 pm.  The train will depart Ashley approximately 6:00 pm, returning to Owosso at approximately 7:00 pm.
    • During the trips to and from Ashley, you will be able to visit the concessions car and gift car.  We will have Koegel hot dogs, nachos, chips, candy, cotton candy, pop, water, coffee, and hot cocoa available for purchase. There are many souvenirs available in the gift shop (including a special bell for those who would like to purchase one that is not included in your package.)
    • Hot Cocoa will be served in the Cocoa Class both directions of your trip; you will receive your souvenir mugs, bells, and treats on the return trip from Ashley.  In the Coach Class you will have hot cocoa served on the way to the Village of the Ashley, and will receive your souvenir bell on the way back to Owosso.  Caboose passengers will be taken care of by your conductor.
    • The First Gift of Christmas will be drawn by Santa approximately 15 minutes prior to departure back to Owosso, from Santa Claus’s platform in the center of town, next to the tracks. (Open to children 12 years old and under.)
    • Please provide prior notification to the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) staff of any special physical needs that are required by a patron visiting the SRI property or excursion equipment. The SRI property grounds and equipment are not fully handicap accessible due to the SRI historical preservation nature of its properties and equipment.

    Some general information about the train, as we mentioned boarding and unloading can take some time so please be patient. When you board the train for your return trip we ask that you please return to your original seat. We are operating vintage train coaches and there are limited bathrooms so it may be a good idea to be mindful of that as you manage your liquid intake. While on the train you will be able to visit our merchandise car, and concessions car. When not visiting the other cars, we do ask for our passengers to remain seated. Your car hosts are available to assist you with any questions you may have.  

    Thank you for joining us for the North Pole Express! For more information on future events and happenings at Steam Railroading Institute, please visit us at or find us on FaceBook at

    Steam Railroading Institute - 405 S. Washington Street Owosso, MI  48867

    Link for Earth View Map from Google Maps with Free Parking Highlighted:

    Directions to Steam Railroading Institute

    Link for Directions via Google Maps:


  • Shop Report

    The combine car interior crew were hard at work today inside and the fab team finished up the HEP brackets on the second end of the car last Friday.  New piston rings installed on PM 1225.


  • Shop Report

    We have been doing alot of work in the shop.  In late July we finished 1225's annual inspection.  We are constiently doing preventitve repairs to the engine which makes it easy for us to do the annual inspection.  We have moved are attention to refurbishing one of our coaches to have it ready for our NPE season.

    We are always looking for more volunteers.  You do not have to be skilled in mechanical we can teach you thoughs skills.  If you would like to volunteer in the shop call 989-725-9464 or see us on our Backshop Facebook page at:

    Here are a couple of pictures of the work we are doing.

    First picture is us making a new valve stem for 1225's stoker controls.

    Second is of one of our volunteers wire wheeling loose paint off on of the coaches


  • Bio Andrew Cameron

    Name: Andrew Cameron

    Age: 56

    Occupation: Retired from Canadian Navy

    Volunteer Experience on 1225: Since summer 2015.

      I have been fascinated by steam locomotives for about ten years. We were restoring the cab of a Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2858 in Ottawa when we came to the mechanical stoker, which is the screw mechanism that feeds coal from the tender into the firebox. We could work out the piping, but not the operating procedures for the stoker controls. When I found out 1225 was running in ticket and had a stoker, I came to investigate and see the stoker in action. 1225 is quite a machine, not only in size(it would definitely blow the loading gauge of the heritage railway I fire at in England)  but the high level of technology in her at the end of the steam era.

      I found the atmosphere of the maintenance crew especially welcoming, and the variety of backgrounds and skill sets of the volunteers is quite impressive, as is their commitment and dedication to keeping steam history alive.

  • Explorier Bio

    Savanah Durling

    I am currently a freshman in High School maintaining a 3.0gpa. I play softball, along with volleyball. My first experience with trains, steam locomotives and The Steam Railroading Institute was during Train Festival 2009 as my dad and I went as something to do together. We became hooked. I started tagging along on rail fanning trips enjoying the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad #734, Cass Scenic Railroads Fleet of Shays, Train Fest 2011 in Rock Island, Little River Railroad, Huckleberry Railroad, Nickel Plate Road #765 through all of its travels, Flagg Coal #75, Leigh Valley Lumber #126 and of course the Pere Pere Marquette 1225. I have been published for my photography work in Railfans and Railroad Magazine twice already with hopes of continuing my photography as lifelong skill. We joined Explorer’s Post 1225 in March of 2014 as way to gain more knowledge into the world of steam railroading and as a father daughter activity we both would enjoy.  As in explorer I’ve helped begin the restoration of Mississippian #76 for display during Train Fest 2014 at which we used the cab as a concessions stand acting as our first fundraising effort.  I have gone on to help with the Steam Railroading Institute’s train robberies, Explorer’s Nightmare Express trains, then spending 18 trips aboard the North Pole Express working in the lounge car. Being an Explorer has provided me with social development through meeting new friends, and interacting with the public, leadership development and personal development making me more responsible for my actions. I hope to learn all aspects of steam railroading with the operational restoration of the Mississippian #76, along with its future operations of it. Beyond high school my goals are yet to be determined by possibly something in the field of chiropractics.


  • BIO: Steve Wasiura

    Name: Steve Wasiura

    Age: 29

    Occupation: Railroad Conductor

    School: University of Michigan, graduated 2010

    Having been fascinated by trains, and especially steam locomotives, my entire life, I started volunteering at SRI while still in high school in 2002.  At that time I knew almost nothing about the work that it took to keep a steam locomotive on the road, but thanks to the help and patience of several different volunteers and SRI staff I quickly began to learn.  Over time I got to try my hand at many different things, from general mechanical work to welding and machining.  Eventually I got to start firing the locomotives, starting out on Flagg Coal 75 and then 1225.

    It wasn't long before I realized that I wanted to work on steam locomotives more often than every Saturday.  The skills I gained through volunteering at SRI helped me to land a summer job firing the locomotives at Greenfield Village, and later a job at the Durango & Silverton where I worked for six years.  I also managed to occasionally work on steam in Europe and South Africa while serving in the US Peace Corps from 2011-2013. 

    What started out as a hobby for me has since turned into a career.  Though the railroad I work for today doesn't have a steam program, volunteering at SRI opened the door to many other opportunities in the railroad industry.  Best of all, though, is that every time I go to SRI I get to be a part of a truly amazing group of talented, dedicated people who all share a passion for keeping history alive.


  • Bio of Richard Sipp

    Richard Sipp

    Age 72

    Starting 4th year at SRI in 2015

    Dick is a retired Ford Motor Co. Assistant Chief Pilot,  and retired from 33 years service as an active and Reserve USAF Pilot.  Dick served combat tours in Viet Nam and Desert Storm.  At retirement Dick was the Vice Group Commander 927th Tactical Airlift Group Selfridge ANGB MI and USAF Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for the State of Michigan.  This year Dick will qualify for the Federal Aviation Administration Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award with 50 years of accident/violation free flight experience.  He has logged over 13,000 hours of flight time.

    His primary hobby interest for 35 years has been involvement with the Experimental Aircraft Association, a national organization with local chapters made up of people interested in all phases of Amateur Built, Antique, War Bird and Light Sport Aircraft.  Dick has built 3 Amateur Built Aircraft.  Dick is also a life member of  the Yankee Air Museum and past volunteer aircraft restoration technician and pilot crew member of the B-25, Yankee Warrior.

    Dick also admits to being a latent rail and model railroad fan.  When SRI was discovered he realized that it might be possible to participate in the maintenance of the real thing. 

    The exposure to so many people with a wealth of knowledge and widely varied experience has provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about the important contribution made by the people and machines of the steam railroad era.  

  • Bio of one of SRI Explorer's and a Fireman

    Name:  Taylor Moon

    Age: 18

    Started Volunteering at SRI:  June 2009

    Occupation:  Full-time student at the University of Michigan 

    School:  Graduated Lake Orion High School in 2014

    My first experience with 1225 was in 1999 when I was two years old. My dad and I rode on one of the numerous excursions throughout northern Michigan that 1225 pulled in the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s. After that trip, my dad started volunteering at SRI helping mostly as a car host on train trips. I began volunteering in early 2009 to help prepare for the Train Festival that year. I then became a Car Host and worked alongside my dad for a few years on many fun trips. During this time, 1225 was out of service due to her federally mandated boiler inspection, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of the rebuild.

    I began helping with the rebuild in 2012 with very limited knowledge about how steam locomotives work. Over the course of the following two years, I played an active role in the project and gained incredible experience along the way. I learned how hot-riveting is done, how to put in staybolts in the firebox, how to apply jacketing and insulation, and many, many other things. Over the summer of 2013 I began learning how to fire Flagg Coal Co. #75. I got a lot of practice firing for SRI’s themed summer trips, and I am now a Student Fireman learning how to fire 1225.

    When I am not at SRI I am studying at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. I am studying Civil Engineering and plan to graduate in 2018. I am an active member of the Steel Bridge team, and helped with the design, construction, and assembly of this year’s bridge. I have extensive experience with Computer Aided Design as well as limited experience with computer programming. Outside of school I enjoy travelling throughout Michigan in the summer and skiing in the winter. I have lived in Michigan my whole life and love everything this state has to offer.

    One of the main reasons I enjoy volunteering at SRI is because of all the great people you meet. I have met some of my best friends through SRI and I consider all of us volunteers to be a big family. In addition, I love to see peoples’ reaction the first time they see 1225 under steam. It truly is an impressive machine. I remember being in awe the first time I saw it back in 1999, and I love to see people experience that same excitement that I did.


  • Here is one of our Firemen

    Name: John Grembowski

    Age: 49

    Date started volunteering at SRI:  January 2012

    Occupation: Business Owner.  Michigan Landscape Lighting 27 years. Award Winner.

    School: Graduated MSU School of Horticulture 1985. Michigan Certified Nurseryman


    Hobbies. Love summers in Michigan. When I’m not volunteering at SRI we like to take our offshore boats out of Traverse City and cruise to all the ports north to Mackinac Island. Also enjoy spending a lazy day out on the fishing boat on the inlands around Traverse City.  Also love road racing. Licensed full competition racecar driver.   When not racing and time and schedule permits, im also an instructor at an SCCA sanctioned road racing school, and if more time becomes available I instruct at high performance driving schools, teaching people car control at high speeds in their own cars.   Also when time permits like to take the quads out and do some 4 wheeling thru the Northern Michigan trail system. Enjoy target shooting and have entered a few shooting contests. Love going to airshows, and a couple of summer concerts at DTE. Also try to attend at least a couple of car shows each year with a couple of our cars, and a few years ago had one of my cars in Autorama.

    Why did I start volunteering? Never knew SRI existed until I saw an ad for the 2009 doubleheader trip to Cadillac. The engine was gone before I got to State so I didn’t see it there. Thought it would be cool to take a train trip. Bought our tickets and then was sent information for the 2009 Trainfest. Figured what the heck, lets go see it. I knew absolutely nothing about steam engines then, but I’m getting better! Didn’t know what all the fuss was about that orange engine from out west.  Didn’t even get a picture of it.   I remember them telling me one of the superheaters was leaking when we got our cab tour of 1225.  So I said well just pull it out and fix it, what’s the problem. After working on the engine for the past few years, I now know the problem!  Anyways a couple of years later I got an email from SRI looking for volunteers. My business slows down in the winter and I’m reduced to a few days a week so I figured it would be good to get out and work on a piece of history. Love spending time checking out the old equipment at Greenfield Village.  Also owning and running a couple of race cars you learn real quick how to weld and repair them in a short amount of time.  I stopped out first to see what I was getting into and started 2 weeks later. What started out as a 1 day a week hobby turned into 2 days a week pretty quick. What started as a winter only hobby, quickly turned into a year round hobby. Things get pretty hectic for me between April and Jan. Usually work about 60 hours Monday thru Thursday and at SRI on Fridays. During NPE and Train Robbery and Halloween weekends it’s a 3 day volunteer weekend. I get to turn into my alter ego Longcoat and blow things up!  Learned a ton about the engine and other steam engines and last years  NPE got to be lead Fireman on a few of the NPE trips. Nice thing is it gives me a break from my business.  After doing electrical all week, its fun to come in and fabricate something, weld something and just generally work with steel.









Train departure times are prompt, please arrive at least 30-60 minutes ahead of trip departure time to get checked in and seated. Our tickets are sold by seat, all passengers require a ticket to ride.  Children 12 months and under do not require a ticket, as long as they are seated in a parent's lap.  All Sales are final no refunds, unless Refund Protection Insurance is purchased before sale is completed. (Refund Protection Insurance will allow for a full refund up to 72 hours before event.) Steam Railroading Institute reserves the right to change out motive power or rolling stock at any time. All firearms (concealed or Open Carried) are Prohibited on the property or on any Locomotive car or equipment of the Steam Railroading Institute.              

Please provide prior notification to the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) staff of any special physical needs that are required by a patron visiting the SRI property or excursion equipment. The SRI property grounds and equipment are not fully handicap accessible due to the SRI historical preservation nature of its properties and equipment.