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Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225 Steam Excursion Alma to Cadillac ~ October 3rd, 2009

by Elizabeth Guenzler

It was announced in July that as Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225 had been sidelined with a flue problem during Train Festival 2009, it and Nickel Plate 2-8-4 765 would lead a double-headed steam excursion from Alma to Cadillac, Michigan in October. This was the first time since 1949 that the two engines had operated together. It was an easy decision to attend and Bob and I made plans to do this trip with Chris Guenzler. We would meet in Detroit on October 2nd, rent a car, drive to Alma for the excursion then visit the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn the following day.

Our flights arrived in the evening and we drove to Mount Pleasant and checked into the Baymont Hotel. It was a short night as we arose early, had breakfast and drove the half hour to Alma.

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 765 in the pre-sunrise gloom with smoke and a rain shower.

The headlight of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 765 shining through the steam on a very early morning.

Head-on view of Nickel Plate 765 at Alma on the point of our train.

Bluewater Michigan Chapter round-end observation car 6604 (ex. Global Communications 1983, exx. Amtrak 3344, nee Seaboard Coast Line 5844 1947) at the rear of the Nickel Plate 765/Pere Marquette 1225 excursion train.

My ticket for today's trip. We boarded the train and found our seats in the Ohio Central open window coach.

Observation end of observation car 6604.

Interior of Grand Trunk Western dining car 899 "Silver Lake".

Interior of Bluewater Michigan Chapter 52-seat coach 857 (ex. Amtrak 6032, exx. Amtrak 5221, nee Richmond, Potomac and Fredericksburg 857).

The Steam Railroading Institute emblem on the tablecloths in the dining car.

Looking out of one of the vestibules at the chasers.

Nickel Plate 765 and Pere Marquette 1225 putting on a show of coal smoke and steam.

Steam reaches the middle and rear of the consist.

Rounding a curve with the chasers out in full force. We arrived in Cadillac and took some pictures before going to the Blue Heron Cafe for lunch.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225 after arriving in Cadillac.

The fountain at Cadillac City Park.

Cadillac-Soo Lumber Company Shay 1 (ex. Cadillac Lumber and Chemical Company 3, nee Boyne City and Southeastern 3). It was built in 1898 and upon Cadillac-Soo Lumber ceasing operations in 1956, was donated to the City of Cadillac. It is on display in City Park near the corner of South Lake Street and West Cass Street.

Plaque beside the steam engine explaining the Shay locomotive.

Lake Cadillac. The City of Cadillac (incorporated 1877) is one of four cities in the United States that has a lake completely inside the city boundaries.

Pere Marquette 1225 leading Nickel Plate 765 and the train into Cadillac for the return trip to Alma.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225.

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 765.

Passengers ready to board.

Grand Trunk Western buffet-club car 899 "Silver Lake" (ex. Global Communications 1983, exx. Canadian National diner-bar-lounge, exxx. Grand Trunk Western buffet-club car, nee Grand Trunk Western buffet-parlour 899 "Silver Lake"). Purchased by Bluewater Chapter NRHS in 1985. The car had been used on the Maple Leaf and Mohawk Trains when in Grand Trunk Western service. The train departed on time and there was an announcement that we would be doing a couple of runbys on the return trip.

Photographers getting ready for the runbys at Lucas.

Blue Mountain Chapter coach 829 as seen during the reverse move.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225 during the reverse move.

The first photo runby.

The second photo runby.

The Ohio Central coaches bring up the rear of the train. I spent some time at the rear of the train.

Autumn colours along the Great Lakes Central Railroad between Lucas and Alma.

Forests and autumn colours.

Looking at the tracks we had just travelled on. It started to rain so I returned to my seat and enjoyed the rest of the ride. Upon arrival at Alma, the three of us returned to the car and drove to Mount Pleasant where we had a good dinner at the Lone Star Steakhouse before going back to the hotel. Tomorrow, a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

It had been a fabulous time riding the double-header and getting new mileage. The Steam Railroading Institute and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society put on an excellent excursion and everyone enjoyed themselves.