On Saturday 25 July, Don and I headed out from Grand Rapids to Owosso to see 8 working steam locomotives at “Train Festival 2009“. The star of the show was Southern Pacific #4449 – a monster steam engine (weighs about 433 tons with tender attached) from 1941 that had travelled from Oregon to be at this event. This locomotive was completely refurbished from 1974-1976 so that it could be “America’s Freedom Train” during the Bi-Centennial celebrations of 1976. SP4449 has its own website here, including a great video made during its cross country trip in July 2009 to get to Owosso.

Southern Pacific #4449

Southern Pacific #4449

Another large locomotive (about 400 tons) present was the Pere Marquette #1225 which is owned by the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan. This is the engine that “The Polar Express” was modelled after – down to even taking the engine out on the tracks and running it at full power to record the sounds to be used in the movie. Pere Marquette #1225 is shown on the web page here.

Pere Marquette Railroad #1225

Pere Marquette Railroad #1225

Another steam locomotive, making its very first appearance anywhere was Leviathan #63 – newly constructed based on an 1860s design. The gleaming paint, shiny brass, and gold leaf trim were quite a spectacle. Leviathan #63 has a webpage here.

Leviathan #63

Leviathan #63

There were a number of amazing model railways setup and running too – perhaps the most amazing one was the Lego train – a whole layout made out of Legos!!!!!

Still even more of the Lego Train Layout

Still even more of the Lego Train Layout

And spotted in the “food court”…

This should be Illegal

This should be Illegal

A photogallery with more photos can be found here

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