Owosso, Michigan

Steam Railroading Institute, Owosso, Michigan

42 59' 38" N, 84 9' 56" W

July 23, 2009 8:54 EDT

When three of the largest names in preserved steam visit your state, you don't pass up the opportunity. Just that happened in Owosso. Southern Pacific 4449, Nickel Plate Road 765, and host Pere Marquette 1225 were the main attractions at the Steam Railroading Institute's grounds, along with a number of smaller, but not any more insignificant examples of pain-stakingly restored steam locomotives. While the day I went was terribly wet, I soon discovered that, with steam locomotives everywhere you turned, the rain didn't matter much (in fact, my sweat-jacket was soaked by the end of the day). Unfortunately, my budget (in money and timing) didn't allow for me to ride behind 4449, which was the excursion of the day, seeing such a beautiful machine from fifteen feet away in certainly an awe inspiring sight.

Railroad Model Number
SP GS-4 (4-8-4) 4449
SOU FP-7 6133
NKP S-2 (2-8-4) 765
PM N-1 (2-8-4) 1225
HESR GP40-2W 9712
LRRR (0-4-0) 1
CPRR (4-4-0) Leviathan
FCCo. (0-4-0) 75
GLC GP35 385
TSBY NW2 1977
TSBY GP35 390
GMTX GP38-2 2675
LRRR (2-6-2) 110

I'm a tad annoyed by the choice of weather (not that anyone had a say in that...) but I...um...weathered...through it. I can't say enought how enormous the steam locomotives you normally see on your TV screen or computer monitor are in real life! I kinda want my own steam locomotive now...

Final Review: 11/10 [sic]. I wish this type of event would happen more often, but until the United States goes through a railroadiana revolution, I strongly urge anyone who finds themselves close to one of these to go without hesitation. For many a railfan, seeing a mainline steam locomotive is an increasingly rare opportunity (look at the locomotives we've lost in the last 20 years: NW 611, NW 1218, C&O 614, Cotton Belt 819, SPS 700 hasn't been out in two years, Milwaukee Road 261 is in restoration/being juggled between organizations, PRR 1361, Frisco 1522 (twice), among others). Coming in 2011 to Rock Island, Illinois is another one of these events.