Pere Marquette 1225

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Pere Marquette 1225
Pere Marquette 1225
Pere Marquette 1225 on a May 31, 2003 excursion
Power type Steam
Builder Lima Locomotive Works
Build date 1941
Configuration 2-8-4
Gauge ft 8½  in (1435  mm)
Driver size 69 in (1.75 m)
Length 101 ft 8 in (30.99 m)
Weight on drivers 278,000 lb (126,100 kg)
Total weight 436,500 lb (198,000 kg)
Locomotive and tender combined weight 794,500 lb (360,400 kg)
Tender capacity 22,000 U.S. gallons (83,000 L) of water, 22 short tons (20 metric tons) of coal
Fuel consumption 1 short ton of coal per 12 miles travelled (1 metric ton every 21 km)
Boiler pressure 245 psi (1.70 MPa)
Fire grate area 90.3 ft² (8.39 m²)
Cylinders 2
Cylinder size 26 in (660 mm) diameter x 34 in (864 mm) stroke
Power output 3,000 hp (2.24 MW)
Tractive effort 69,350 lbf (308.5 MN)
Career PM, C&O
Class N-2
Number in class 12
Number PM 1225, C&O 2659
Locale Michigan
Retired 1951
Restored 1985
Current owner Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation

Pere Marquette 1225 is a 2-8-4 (Berkshire) steam locomotive built for Pere Marquette Railroad (PM) by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio. 1225 is one of only two surviving Pere Marquette 2-8-4 type locomotives and it is the only example in operable condition. PM used 1225 in regular service from the locomotive's construction in 1941 until the railroad was merged into Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) in 1947; it remained in use on C&O's Michigan lines until 1951. In 1971, efforts began to restore 1225 to operation using parts from sister engine 1223, an effort that culminated in its first excursion run in 1988. 1225's blueprints were used as the prototype for the locomotive image and its sounds were used in the 2004 film The Polar Express. The locomotive, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now used on excursion trains over the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway.


The locomotive was built in 1941 by Lima Locomotive Works for Pere Marquette Railroad (PM). PM ordered this type of locomotive in three batches from Lima: class N-1 in 1937 (PM road numbers 1201-1215), class N-2 in 1941 (numbers 1216-1227) and class N-3 in 1944 (numbers 1228-1239). 1225 was built at a cost of $200,000 in 1941. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be $2.5 million.

All of these locomotives remained on the roster through the PM's merger into Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) in 1947; class N-1 were renumbered to 2685-2699, class N-2 to 2650-2661, and class N-3 to 2670-2681. Part of the merger agreement, however, included the stipulation that locomotives that were acquired and fully paid for by PM would remain painted for PM after the merger. Although all the Berkshires received new numbers, only class N-1 was repainted into standard C&O livery. The majority of the class N locomotives were scrapped between 1954 and 1957, but class N-1 1223 and class N-2 1225 were both preserved.

For the first part of its service life, 1225 was used to shuttle steel and wartime freight to and from Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and northern Indiana steel mills.

Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was due to be scapped in New Buffalo, Michigan when in 1957 a group from Michigan State University bought the locomotive for $1 to use as a monument to the age of steam power. The New Buffalo yardmaster picked the 1225 for MSU because of the numeric significance of Christmas Day.

The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade. In 1969, a group of interested preservationists (some being MSU Students) formed the Michigan State University Railroad Club with the goal of restoring the locomotive to operation.

1225's restoration began in 1971. The student effort was able to fire up the boiler in 1975 and blow the 1225's whistle for the first time in two decades. In order to find parts for 1225's restoration, the team turned to sister locomotive 1223. With many of 1223's parts used to rebuild 1225, 1223 is no longer operational but it is still preserved.

However, the restoration effort had turned 1225 into an eyesore. Michigan State officials told the student group to find 1225 a new home or they'd get rid of it.

Supporters of 1225 formed the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation in 1981 and soon after was given ownership of the 1225 by Michigan State. The MSTRP moved 1225 to the former Ann Arbor Railroad shops complex in Owosso in 1983.

The 1225 moved under its own power in November 1985 for the first time since its retirement in 1951. The first excursion service occurred in 1988 on a trip between Owosso and Chesaning. In August of 1991, 1225 pulled a 31 car excursion train during the National Railway Historical Society's annual convention in Huntington, West Virginia.

Today, 1225 is operated on Excursion trains over the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway several times per year.

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