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Diesel Excursions



Throughout the year, the Steam Railroading Institute offers special excursions that use Diesel powered locomotives. This reduces the cost of the excursion making an all-day excursion more economical.
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Steam Excursions







The Steam Railroading Institute is best known for All-Day Steam powered excursion all over Michigan. Excursions are offered throughout the year. The North Pole Express is a favorite of many.

North Pole Express








We look forward to seeing you again for more fun and festivities in 2014!

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Steam Excursions

The Steam Railroading Institute is best known for their all-day steam excursions. Every year trips are scheduled and carry thousands of passenger around Michigan behind one of the largest operating steam locomotives in the United States. What are you waiting for? Hop aboard for a trip back in time when life was a little simpler!

Diesel Excursions

Throughout the year diesel locomotive powered excursions are being offered. Take a look at our schedule to book the trip that is right for you.

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Our Collection

MOTIVE POWER

PERE MARQUETTE #1225

Pere Marquette 1225, the largest and most impressive locomotive in the Steam Railroading Institute’s collection is the largest operating steam locomotive in Michigan. Built in October of 1941 by the Lima Corporation for the Pere Marquette Railway, 1225 was designed for “fast-freight” service. Most of 1225’s short career in freight service was spent hauling steel and wartime freight between Michigan’s factories and northern Indiana steel mills. In 1941, the construction cost for the locomotive was $200,000 or roughly $2.5 million by today’s standards. Since its restoration and subsequent entrance into passenger service, approximately $1 million has been spent over the last 30 years to keep the locomotive up and running.

The locomotive is one of thirty-nine 2-8-4 Berkshire types ordered by the Pere Marquette Railway. The 2-8-4 classification refers to the wheel arrangement of 1225. It has a 2-wheel pony truck up front to guide the larger set of 8 driving wheels into curves, and a 4- wheel trailing truck to support the weight of the boiler’s massive firebox. 1225 is sixteen feet tall, 101 feet long with a combined engine and tender weight of 400 tons. It produces 3000 horsepower and in the 1940s, was able to pull one hundred loaded freight cars at sixty miles per hour. It takes about eight hours to generate a full head of steam on the locomotive’s boiler, which in turn operates at 245 pounds per square inch. The tender holds 22 tons of coal and 22,000 gallons of water, consuming one ton of coal for every twelve miles and 150 gallons of water per mile. The Pere Marquette Railway merged with the Chesapeake & Ohio in 1947 ending 1225’s corporate run with the PM. The locomotive continued in regular service until its retirement in 1951 in favor of newer and less costly diesel locomotives. In 1957, 1225 was saved from the scrap yard by officials at Michigan State University who sought an outdoor monument to commemorate the steam-era. In 1969, a band of students set out to restore the locomotive to operable condition but eventually lost favor with university administrators who grew tired of looking at a torn-down locomotive on their property. As a result, the growing team of MSU rail enthusiasts began searching for of a new home and in 1983, 1225 was moved to the site of the former Ann Arbor Railroad’s steam shop. Restoration work continued until 1988 when the locomotive was reborn and ready for service, making it the largest operating steam locomotive in Michigan. Today, former PM 1225 is used for excursion service and during other special events to help educate the public about steam railroading in Michigan and the greater United States. PM #1225 is currently undergoing her Federal Railroad Administration 15 -year inspection. For further information on this work, please go to:  http://michigansteamtrain.com/project1225.org/

MISSISSIPPIAN #76

Builder: The Baldwin Locomotive Works
Built: December 1920
Construction No. 54265
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-0 (Consolidation)
Cylinder Bore & Stroke: 19×24
Driver Diameter: 51-inch
Boiler Pressure: 200psi
Tractive Effort: 29,050Lbs.
Engine Weight: 136,000Lbs.
Weight on Drivers: 121,000Lbs.
Fuel: Coal

Built for: Jonesboro, Lake City & Eastern Railroad Company as #40
Lease: 11/1925 to St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company and numbered 76
Sale: 02/1947 to Mississippian Railway as #76 at Amory, MS
Sale: 09/1967 to Sloan Cornell (Penn View Mountain #76) at Blairsville, PA
Moved to Gettysburg, PA (Gettysburg Railway #76) in July 1976

Originally built for the Jonesboro, Lake City & Eastern Railroad as number 40, she was renumbered 76 when leased to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company, commonly known as the FRISCO.

In 1947, this 68-ton 2-8-0 was sold to the Mississippian Railway and was one of two ex-Frisco locomotives on the 24-mile all-steam railroad. Its two consolidations were kept in topnotch condition by a unique team of two brothers. Each brother had his “own” engine. Jim Carlisle normally operated No. 76, while his brother Frank operated No. 77. Depending on whose locomotive was in service on any given day, one man was engineer and the other served as the conductor. The Mississippian ran from Amory to Fulton, MS in the northeast corner of the state and was known as “the Bentonite Road” in reference to its primary freight, a clay bonding material used in foundry work.

In 1967, Sloan Cornell purchased #76 for his Penn View Mountain tourist line in Blairsville, PA. Later, in 1976, Cornell moved his operation including #76 to Gettysburg, PA and started the Gettysburg Railroad.

The Ohio Central purchased #76 from Cornell in 1999 and trucked the consolidation to Newcomerstown, OH that summer. There the 2-8-0 was returned to the rails and towed to the Ohio Central’s Morgan Run Shops. 76 sat on the Ohio Central deadline waiting its turn in the shop for restoration until the spring of 2005 when the SRI purchased it to power its excursion trains over the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Co.

GE 25-tonner “Mighty Mouse”

Built in the 1940’s by General Electric of Erie, PA, this type of locomotive was used in light switching at industrial centers and elevators. The locomotive was used most recently by an elevator at Shelby, Ohio. Purchased at auction in August 2008, it is the primary switching locomotive in SRI’s yard, and for pulling the #1225 onto the turntable when not under steam/ when its on outdoor display.

GE 44-tonner Detroit & Mackinac #10

Built in 1942 by General Electric of Erie, PA, this type of locomotive was used in light switching moves and branch lines settings. Original purchased by the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway and #D-842, it was sold to the Detroit & Mackinac Railway after the M& St.L. was merged into the Chicago & Northwestern in 1960. There it remained, spending much of its life switching the gypsum plant at Alabaster, Michigan until 1980, when the failure of one of her prime movers permanently side-lined. She remained stored in the roundhouse at East Tawas, Michigan, until 2005, when it was purchased by the Steam Railroading Institute as backup power for #1225. With the purchase of “Mighty Mouse,” the need to restore the #10 is a less pressing issue, and she remains stored pending future use.

FREIGHT CARS

Ann Arbor PS-1 Box Car #1314

#1314 is one of more than 76,000 40’ PS-1 box car built by Pullman-Standard built between 1947-1967. Although these cars did not arrive on the Ann Arbor until 1957, #1314 represents one of the most important standard postwar railroad designs. The delivery of these cars allowed the Ann Arbor to demote the rebuilt ex-Wabash cars of the #1100-series (like or X4633 and X4646) to Maintenance of Way service.

Chesapeake & Ohio/ Pere Marquette Gondola (#31262)

Built in December 1939 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, it was converted to a wheel car at Russell, Kentucky in 1969. Used for many years in Maintenance of Way by successors Chessie and CSX, Bluewater NRHS acquired the car in the late 1980’s. It came to us in 2007, and was restored to a dual Pere Marquette/ C&O scheme in winter of 2008.

Detroit & Mackinac Gondola #3514

Built in 1947 for pulp wood, coal, and other uses for the Detroit & Mackinac Railway, this car and its sisters saw a variety of service over the years. One of the most unique was as idler cars for years in which the Detroit & Mackinac operated the Mackinac Transportation Company’s Chief Wawatam Carferry between Mackinac City and St. Ignace, Michigan. When the last of these cars were scrapped by RailAmerica in 2007, this car was saved and donated to SRI to become part of our photo freight fleet.

ex-Detroit & Mackinac X-127 and x-128/ nee-US Dept. of Defense Tank Cars

Not much is known of these cars prior to their purchase by the Detroit & Mackinac in the middle 1960’s. Markings on the cars an trucks seem to indicate their construction sometime just prior to World War II for either GATX or others. D&M used these as fuel oil storage at a facility in Bay City, Michigan for many years. They were donated to SRI by RailAmerica in 2007, and now operate as part of our photo freight fleet and as eventual auxiliary water cars for our steam locomotives. One car has been restored to represent a Pure Oil tank car, and the other will soon to be restored to a Dow Chemical scheme, thanks to a recent grant from the Gerstacker Foundation.

Pere Marquette Automobile Car #72332

Built as part of a 100 car-order by the Ralston Steel Car Company, these cars were constructed between August and December of 1946, and were nearly identical to cars constructed by Greenville Car Company in 1940. As such, these cars were the last new cars to be ordered by the Pere Marquette Railway before their merger with Chesapeake & Ohio in June of 1947. Used in regular service through the 1970’s, it was found by MSTRP members being used for storage on a siding in Wayne, Michigan. It was donated to the society by Chessie System in 1981, and moved with caboose A909 to Owosso in 1982. It currently serves as storage and as part of our photo freight fleet.

Wabash Box Cars (later Ann Arbor X4633 and X4646 (nee -#1138 & 1128))

Originally Double-sheathed wood cars built to the World War I standard designs of United States Railway Administration, these cars were delivered to the Wabash Railway as series 23000-24000, consisting of two groups of similar cars built in 1922 and 1923. These cars were later rebuilt during World War II by the Wabash Decatur, Illinois shops to meet the demands of World War II, and re-numbered into the Wabash 82000-82512 series. The Ann Arbor purchased 50 cars from the above series in 1954, renumbered them in the 1100-series, and used them in regular service until the delivery of their first postwar order of PS-1 boxcars in 1957 (of which our #1314 is an example). After the delivery of the PS-1’s, these cars continued to be used in Maintenance of Way service through the Ann Arbor Railroad Bankruptcy. Wabash X4633 (nee-#1138) was donated to MSTRP by the State of Michigan in 1983 as part of the dissolution of assets of the Ann Arbor Railroad bankruptcy. It has been restored to Wabash number and paint scheme. X4646 (nee-#1128) remained in use by TSBY and GLC until 2007, when it was donated by GLC to the SRI. Both cars retain their Ann Arbor 1954-renumbers on the interior of the upper door frame.

PASSENGER EQUIPMENT

C&O/ C&GW/ C&NW Baggage/Combination Car #462

Built 1931 by the Pressed Steel Company for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, it was sold shortly thereafter to the Chicago & Great Western due to declining Depression-era passenger revenues. Chicago & Great Western and successor Chicago & North Western, continued to use it until the 1970’s, where it ended it life in commuter service. It is classified as a “combine” because the coach combines passenger seating with a baggage area. The draft gear and much of the vestibule has been structurally rebuilt and updated under the direction of SRI in order to make it roadworthy. Currently, it is used as our tool and crew car for #1225 during our steam excursions.

Canadian National/ VIA Coaches #5576, #5581, #5646, Buffet/ Lounge #762

In February of 2005, the Steam Railroading Institute purchased four coaches from the Tuscola & Saginaw Railway Co. These were ex-VIA Rail Canada, ex-Canadian National cars that had been bought by the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway. Co. for passenger operations. The TSB modernized the cars with Diesel generators and new heating and air-conditioning. One similar car was retained by TSB.

All four cars were part of two orders in 1952 and 1953 for 218 80-seat coaches for the modernization of Canadian National Railways passenger service, and delivered from Canadian Car and Foundry in early 1954.

Cars 5576, 5581 and 5646 were converted to 76-seat coaches in the 1960’s with the addition of luggage racks, and redecorated by VIA after 1977.

Car 762 was originally coach 5567, and was converted to coach-café car 3025 in 1965. In 1969 its vestibule was removed and it was converted to café-lounge car 762, with 22 lounge seats, 20 dining-room seats, and 5 counter seats.

The cars were used on the Canadian National’s premier trains of the 1950’s. They were delivered in the distinguished green-and-black “maple leaf” paint scheme, and were changed to the grey-and-black scheme in CN’s 1966 image makeover. The cars may have operated through Michigan on the International and Maple Leaf as well as other through trains between Toronto and Chicago. (text by Aarne Frobom)

Chesapeake & Ohio Pullman Sleeper “City of Ashland” #2624

Built by the Pullman Car Company in 1950, this car was dubbed a ‘sleeper’ since it provided berthing areas for passengers. While in service on the C&O it carried the number 2624 and has a classification number of 10-6. Use until the formation of Amtrak in 1971, the car was stored for many years along with sister car “City of Ludington” at a cement plant in Lima, Ohio, in the early 1990’s. Three people purchased the car: Steve Zuiderveen, John Baldwin and Max Smith. Upon Max Smith’s death, the other two individuals donated the car to the Steam Railroading Institute in 2003. The car has since been restored and is used on long excursions for crew members and as an interpretive car for museum visitors, revealing what overnight travel was like during the twilight of steam.

PRR #8275 “Norristown Inn”/ SEMTA/ MARC #147

Built by the Budd Company as 21-roomette sleeper “Norristown Inn” for the Pennsylvania railroad in 1950. With the discontinuance of Pullman service on many trains, PRR-converted many of these cars to coaches in the 1960’s. This car was sold to the Southeast Michigan Transit Authority in the 1970’s by Penn Central, who in turn sold it to MARC after SEMTA ended commuter service in 1983. These cars were completely rebuilt by MARC in the early 1990’s, and many of these cars were sold our donated to other entities. Our car was given to the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Museum in 2001, and it has been long term lease to SRI since 2005.

US Army # 89639/ Amtrak #1363

Built in 1950 by St. Louis Car Company as streamlined troop kitchen car for U.S. Army for the Korean War Effort. These cars were later sold in the 1970’s to several different entities, including Amtrak. This car was used by Amtrak as their #1363 Baggage Car until the mid 1990’s, when it was sold to private ownership. It was purchased by SRI in 2000, and now serves as a concession/ gift shop car. It is named in honor of William Berkompas, past Board President of the MSTRP/ SRI.

MAINTENANCE OF WAY/ NON-REVENUE EQUIPMENT

Rock Island #5000-series tender/ Auxiliary Tender #5000

A former Rock Island Railroad 5000-series 4-8-4 steam locomotive tender, it was converted to an oil storage car an auxiliary water car for use behind 1225 on longer excursions. It has an approximate water capacity of 30,000 gallons.

Detroit & Mackinac #7/ Pere Marquette #361: Former Troop Sleepers

In late 1943 the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation contracted with the Pullman Company to build 2,400 troop sleepers, due to a shortage of sleeping cars brought about by World War II. As built, these cars housed soldiers in wartime as a cheap alternative to passenger type sleeping cars as they traveled to seaports. Troop cars saw service though 1947, after which many were sold by the U.S. Army Transportation Corp. to several different railroads who subsequently converted them into mail cars, express service boxcars, caboose or refrigerator cars, while others remained in sleeper configuration for use in maintenance of way (MOW) service as bunk cars for maintenance workers.

Detroit & Mackinac #7 was purchased as war surplus by the Detroit & Mackinac Railway in 1948, who converted it to a baggage car by plating over several windows, and adding a baggage door and vestibules. After passenger service ended on the D&M in 1951, the car was made into a caboose, allowing D&M to retire several aging wooden cars in their cabooses fleet. In the 1970’s, a Detroit-Diesel generator was added to the car, in order for it to serve as a power car for D&M’s business-car fleet. In 2004 the Steam Railroading Institute purchased the car for use as an auxiliary power car.

NCC #1701/ C&O #361 was purchased as war surplus by the Pere Marquette Railway in 1947, who converted it to a baggage car by plating over windows and adding a baggage door. It was used by Pere Marquette-successors Chesapeake & Ohio and Chessie System in Maintenance-of-Way service until 1985, when it was donated to MSTRP/ Project #1225, who used it for many years as a tool and utility car that traveled with 1225 on excursions. At present, it is used for storage.

Detroit, Toledo & Ironton/ Grand Trunk #15027 Burro Crane

Built by the Burro Crane Company in the 1940’s for the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railway, these were designed for light lifting duties and hauling a single car of rail, spikes, etc. for Maintenance of Way purposes. When the DT&I was purchased by GT, this crane was transferred to the Grand Trunk Corporation, who then donated to SRI in the 1990’s. it is used for demonstration purposes and light lifting jobs by SRI.

Grand Trunk Western Track Foreman’s/ Bunk Car #58332

Constructed as an Automobile Car for transporting Model A’s and Model T’s. Several of these cars were rebuilt by the Grand Trunk Western’s Port Huron Car Shops in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s for Maintenance of Way service. This car was stationed at Pontiac, Michigan for a number of years, and initially saved by the Bluewater NRHS before being sold to the Steam Railroading Institute in 2007. In July of 2008, MSTRP/ SRI received a National Railway Historical Society Grant to re-do the wood exterior of this car. This is being done in coordination with Andrew Munerance, as part of an Eagle Scout project.

Pere Marquette Caboose #A909

Built by the Magor Car Company in 1937 as part of an order of 25 for the Pere Marquette Railway, A909 went on to serve the Chesapeake & Ohio and Chessie System Railway until its retirement in July, 1983. After retirement it was donated to MSTRP/ Project #1225, who put in on display on a spur in “Westtown” Owosso, before moving it to the Steam Railroading Institute in 2004. It was then overhauled by the TSBY shops, and debuted on the first Polar Express Train in 2004. Today it is used on special excursions and as a display, but it is most often seen on the rear of our 1940’s/ 50’s Photo Freight Specials for photographers.

Ann Arbor Cabooses #2838 & #2839

Built in January and March of 1952 respectively, these two cabooses served the Ann Arbor Railroad between Toledo, Ohio and Frankfort, Michigan. During their career with the railroad, these cars were serviced in the adjacent Ann Arbor Railroad shops, now operated by the Great Lakes Central Railway.

Caboose #2838 had a bit of a rough life during her year’s on the Ann Arbor. Sometime in the 1970’s, the car suffered an extensive interior fire after rolling down an embankment during a derailment near Farwell, Michigan. The interior of the car was completely redone, hence its very different appearance from the #2839. #2838 was auctioned off by the State of Michigan in 1985 as part of the proceedings of the Ann Arbor Railway’s bankruptcy. The caboose was purchased the Bluewater Chapter, NRHS, who moved it to Pontiac and then Saginaw, Michigan, where it remained in storage. In 2007, the caboose was sold for $1 to the Steam Railroading Institute, who promptly wrote and received a grant from the Krauss Foundation of North Carolina, as well as donations from the Marsh and Wilson families for its restoration. Restoration was completed in October, 2008, in time for our Fall Color Trip to Cadillac, Michigan. Caboose #2838 has been restored to the “DT&I/ Compass” scheme, an appearance it had during the mid-1960’s.

Caboose #2839 was kept in railroad service after the Ann Arbor Railway’s bankruptcy, and was purchased by the reorganized Ann Arbor Railroad and used until the early 1990’s, in and around the Toledo, Ohio area. It was then purchased by SRI member Steve Zuiderveen, who had it moved to the Western Maryland Scenic to repair damages from a collision while still on the AA. The car came to the SRI in late December of 2004, and was restored by SRI volunteers over the course of 2004/05, and debuted in service on the 2005 Polar Express Train. In October 2008, Mr. Zuiderven donated the #2839 to the Steam Railroading Institute. Caboose #2839 has been restored to the “Wabash/ Flag” scheme, the appearance it had when delivered in 1952.

Speeder/Gasoline Motor Car

Built in 1983 by the Plasser American Corporation for the U.S. Army. These types of vehicles replaced hand pump-cars for track gangs as they performed inspections along the line.

STRUCTURES AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

SRI Visitor Center

The SRI visitor center is located in a renovated freight warehouse that was originally serviced by the Ann Arbor Railroad. Its construction date is unclear but a structure sat on its current foundation as early as the late 1880s. It is speculated that this structure burned down and the current one was built in the 1920s on the original foundation. The building was originally used as a creamery, then as a warehouse for storing sacks of grain. Bruckman’s Moving and Storage then leased the building from the railroad and used it for storage. In 2004, the building was purchased by the Steam Railroading Institute from the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Co. and was renovated for use as the museum’s visitor center. It contains exhibits, a model train layout, and the museum’s collection of archival materials and artifacts.

Owosso was traditionally a furniture and casket making city, known for its master woodworkers and the SRI visitor center is an example of this facet of city history. The building’s floor is incredibly solid, capable of handling heavy loads and the ceiling is of solid wood trusses with king post supports on the ceiling.

New Buffalo Turntable

Built in 1919 with a 90-foot length, it was put in service on the Pere Marquette Railway at the New Buffalo yard. There, it serviced a 16-stall roundhouse and continued operations until 1984 when the Chessie System, the successor to the PM through a series of mergers, ceased operations at the New Buffalo site. Today, the relocated turntable functions much as it did during the steam era. SRI uses it to turn steam locomotives, provide service to the equipment barn (and will eventually service the proposed roundhouse), and for demonstrative purposes for visitors. Locomotive 1225 used this turntable during its service years on the PM, despite its short length. SRI, upon purchasing the New Buffalo Turntable, added an additional ten feet to the length of the bridge making it easier to accommodate 1225 and other large steam locomotives and pieces of rolling stock.

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