After Pere Marquette 1225’s retirement, the locomotive was donated to the Michigan State University in 1957 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway with the help of Forest Akers, Dodge Motor’s Vice President and MSU Trustee, who saw it as a real piece of machinery for Engineering students to study. Displayed as an icon of the steam-era, it sat at MSU until 1969, when a group of students took an interest in the locomotive.
The Michigan State University Railroad Club was formed at that time with the ambitious goal of restoring 1225 and using it to power excursion trains that would bring passengers to football games at the university. After toiling away at the locomotive for many years, the Michigan State University Railroad Club evolved as the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation Incorporated and started its corporate run in July of 1979.
Recognizing the daunting task that was ahead of them, the early MSU students saw the necessity to form a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and in 1981, Michigan State University donated 1225 to the newly formed MSTRP. In 1982, the locomotive was moved to the former Ann Arbor Railroad steam backshop in Owosso where restoration continued until 1985 when it moved under its own power for the first time in 34 years. Since 1988, Pere Marquette 1225 has been maintained in operable condition and serves as the largest piece of operating steam equipment in the collection.