Saturday, December 24, 2011

Today's Train Of Thought- Steaming Through A Winter Wonderland- December 24, 2011

Today's train of Thought has the look and feel of a blast from the past, but is actually not even 4 years old.

Pere Marquette #1225 is a 2-8-4 Berkshire class locomotive that was built by the Lima locomotive works as part of an order of eleven that was completed in 1941. The #1225 and its sisters spent the early part of their careers shuttling steel and wartime materiel between northern Indiana and Saginaw, MI.

By 1947, the Pere Marquette had merged with the Chesapeake & Ohio although the Berkshire locomotives would remain lettered for Pere Marquette until their retirement in the early 1950s. While most of them would fall to the scrappers torch, the 1225 and sister 1223 were preserved.

The 1225 wound up in East Lansing, MI on the campus of Michigan State where the boiler and whistle were eventually restored to working order. A few years later, the title was transferred to the newly-formed Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation and was moved to the former Ann Arbor Railroad shop complex in Owosso, MI in the early 1980s. In November 1985, the #1225 moved under its own power for the first time since its 1951 retirement.

Since 2007, the Michigan Steam Railroad Association has been operating excursions over the former Tuscola and Saginaw Bay line out of Owosso- now the Great Lakes Central Railroad. In early 2010, the PM #1225 went in for its required 15 year boiler inspection and now the Steam Railroad Association is raising funds for repairs and reassembly of the Berkshire- including a $100,000 receiving matching grant.

Here, contributor Micheal F Allen catches the #1225 heading out of Owosso with a consist of vintage freight cars at King Rd in February 2008. Out of the entire Pere Marquette fleet of steam locomotives, the only two that escaped the scrapper's torch were Berkshires #1225 and sister #1223, kept on static display in Grand Haven, MI.

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