by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

Found in a scrap yard several years ago, the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive soon found its permanent home in the city of Owosso. “This living piece of history brings visitors from all over the world,” states Steam Railroad Institute’s Associate Director Kim Springsdorf, “It has been noted to be the largest tourist attraction in Shiawassee County bringing thousands of guests each year.” Unfortunately a 75-year-old steam engine can run into a need for repairs. In January of this year, the process began to replace the friction bearings on the original axels to roller bearings.

On Wednesday, May 25, the new tires with the first ever replacement of bearings were reattached to the engine, as shown here. Using an elevator lift under the engine, the four new roller bearings on the locomotive’s trailing truck were lifted to reattach to the locomotive. Volunteers and workers say this gives the old engine, ‘a new backside.’ Pro Rail Services, Ltd. representatives were on hand to oversee the project and included Dan Pluta and Berney Gramling. The work included up to 25 volunteers and employees from Shiawassee County who just love working and being around trains. “We couldn’t do this without our volunteers,” added Springsdorf, “They are vital to our operations here.”

Keeping the steam engine ‘puffing down the tracks’ takes money. Organizers have decided to kickoff the 75th birthday celebration with the help of sponsors SLH Metals, Owosso Main Street, and the Shiawassee County Convention & Visitors Bureau during Curwood Festival, the weekend of June 3 through 5. The Steam Railroading Institute will have free admission, tours, and 7 1/5 inch gauge train rides for $5 and $10.

New Roller Bearings for the Pere Marquette 1225 was last modified: May 31st, 2016 by Karen Elford