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.
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.
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.
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!!!!!
And spotted in the “food court”…
A photogallery with more photos can be found here