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Cadillac Fall Colors Steam Limited Alma to Cadillac 10/3/2009

by Chris Guenzler

I learned about this trip at TrainFestival 2009 and after not getting to ride behind Pere Marquette 1225 back in July this was a no brainer for me. Bob and Elizabeth had decided to go and invited me to come along. Carole Walker of Buena Vista Travel, booked me on Northwest Airlines to Detroit where I would meet my friends. I'm still trying to find work so the days passed until it was time to pack for this trip.

To Detroit and Mt. Pleasant 10/2/2009

Up early and I drove to the Santa Ana Train station parked the Geo Metro at the parking lot then got my Metrolink ticket to Los Angeles. I walked over to Track 1 and waited for Metrolink 603 which took me to Los Angeles. I went and bought my round trip for the Flyaway Shuttle to LAX. Thirty minutes to LAX and two minutes later I had passed through security. Now I waited doing Sudoku Puzzles. I boarded Northwest Airline Flight 672 for Detroit. I listened to music the whole way as we traveled over a sea of clouds after we got to the Rockies. We landed in Detroit early and soon I was in the McNamara Terminal. I had a Popeye's Chicken Dinner and had about two and a half hours to kill.

I rode a round trip on the Detroit Airport Tram before trying to get on-line with no luck. I listened to music and did more puzzles until it was time to take the shuttle bus to the North Terminal. Detroit please put in a shuttle bus between the terminals so you don't have to pass through Security. I had to wait at the baggage claim area in a chair at the North Terminal. A little after Nine PM, Bob and Elizabeth arrived and after they got their luggage we headed to the bus to Dollar Rental Car off the airport. There we got a KIA rental car and soon we were off headed for Mt. Pleasant which we arrived after midnight. We checked into the Baymount Inn for the night.


After a MacDonalds Breakfast we drove back south to Alma and parked across the street from the boarding area for today's trip.

Our Engines for the Trip to Cadillac

The Pere Marquette 1225 was built in 1941. The engine ran through the merger with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad in 1947. The engine was used to shuttle steel and wartime traffic to and from Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and northern Indiana steel mills. In 1951 the locomotive was retired and sent to the scrap line in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955 the Michigan State University asked the C&O Railroad Chairman if they could have a steam locomotive and they received the Pere Marquette 1225. In 1983 the MSU Railroad Club and supporters of "Project 1225" formed the Michigan State Locomotive Trust for Railway Preservation was given ownership of the Pere Marquette 1225. The engine was moved to the former Ann Arbor Railroad Shop Complex in Owosso in 1983. The engine moved under its own power in November 1985. The first excursion was between Owosso and Chesaning in 1988. In August 1991 the 1225 and NKP 765 pulled a 31 car excursion train for the NRHS Convention in Huntington, West Virginia through the New River Gorge. Since then it has operated excursion trains on Great Lake Central Railroad over the years.

Nickel Plate Railroad 765 was built in 1944 and assigned to Bellevue, Ohio where it was used on fast freights. After the war it worked out of the Fort Wayne Classification Yard. The last run of the engine was on June 14, 1958. It was the donated to the city of Fort Wayne and placed in Lawton Park. In 1972 the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society was formed and the locomotive was towed to a shop in New Haven, Indiana, The group returned the locomotive to service on September 1, 1979. After years in excursion service in 1993, the locomotive was put back in the New Haven Shop to overhaul her running gear but it was then decided to perform a complete rebuilding of the NKP 765. NKP 765 steamed back to life in October 2005 and has been used in excursion service since.

The Trip

We walked across the street to the train and started at the rear end.

This will be the rear of our train for today's trip to Cadillac. We walked forward to the engines.

The two engines steaming away on a dark wet morning.

Nickel Plate 765 would be on the point of our train to Cadillac.

Pere Marquette 1225 would be the trailing engine going to Cadillac.

Nickel Plate 765 with headlight blazing this morning.

Pere Marquette 1225. I boarded the train in my open window car Ohio Central 705. Our train's consist for today's trip was Engines Nickel Plate Road 765 and Pere Marquette 1225, MTSX 5000 Auxiliary Tender, Pere Marquette #1225 Crew Car, Nickel Plate Road #765 Crew Car, Ohio Central Open Air Cars 705 and 704, CN 5226 Coach, CN 5228 Coach, MARC 147 Lounge, VIA 762 Lounge, VIA 5646 Coach, VIA 5576 Coach, VIA 5581 Coach, CLC Coach, Sou 829, GTW Diner, RF&P 857 and Observation Car. At 8:30 AM they loaded the rest of the passengers and then the engines backed onto the train. At 9:00 AM the train started forward.

Leaving Alma.

Our departure stopped the Alma College Band from practicing as they all turned to watch the train leave Alma.

The train headed out into the countryside and I started looking for trees in Fall Colors.

The engines smoking it up heading north.

Corn fields.

Red barns dot the Michigan countryside.

Trees in Fall Colors.

Another farm along our route.

A curve on the way to Mt. Pleasant.

A Dorm at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.

A curve north of Mt. Pleasant.

Myself wearing Safety Glasses and Richard Hall who sat by me in the open car.

Colors out in this field.

Now you see the engines and now you don't during a blow down by the engines in Clare as we crossed the former C&O line from Coleman.

Good view of the engines leaving Clare.

Heading north on the way to Cadillac.

Colors in the trees along our route.

The train crossed this stream.

Views of trees.

Taking another curve on the way north.

Views of trees reflecting in this lake.

The train took another curve.

Passing by another lake.

An arm of Lake George.

The train took this curve to reach Lake George.

Lake George.

I love farms and red barns.

Beautiful trees on a dark morning.

The train pulled into Marion and this scene was outside my window. Two questions, close clearance to what? and why a screen door? The train loaded a few passengers here in Marion before we took off again.

The engines blew down as we left Marion.

Grain Elevator in Marion.

Our train took another curve on its way north.

More trees as we kept moving north towards Cadillac.

Two views on an open curve.

The train went by this Christmas Tree Farm.

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