Talk about a unique experience! Can you imagine the thrill of viewing Michigan's wonderful fall color show aboard the Pere Marquette 1225 steam engine? I mean, Michigan's fall colors are amazing, but to hear the chug-chugging of the steam engine and hear that wonderful whistle blow? Paradise! As a child, I once road a train (it was a diesel, but as a kid I couldn't care - I was on a train!) for a fall color tour. It was so much fun and a very memorable experience. We packed up some snacks for the ride which was, I believe, a couple of hours. I'm pretty sure the best part was riding on a train - I don't remember what the fall foliage looked like ;).
The October 3, 2009 trip aboard either the Pere Marquette 1225 or the Nickel Plate Road 765 departs Alma at 9am and returns at 7pm. Tickets start at $125 for Coach and $200 for First Class (which includes a boxed lunch). For $135 you can get an open window seat for what I'm sure will be excellent photo opportunities. Order tickets online at www.mstrp.com.
Per the Steam Railroading Institute website:
Celebrate the glorious fall foliage behind two steam locomotives! Together again for the first time since 1991, Pere Marquette 1225 and Nickel Plate Road 765 will be powering the Steam Railroading Institute's historically significant fall excursion to Cadillac, Michigan on October 3rd.
Here's some footage of the Pere Marquette 1225 from 2005 back when she was still lettered with 'Polar Express' for the movie of the same name that was released in theaters in 2004. For those who don't know, the Pere Marquette 1225 served as the model for the steam locomotive in the movie and you can hear it's whistle blowing and steam exhaust in the movie as those samples were recorded directly from the 1225 in operation. I never thought of this, but it was pointed out at Wikipedia that the road number, 1225, is also the date for Christmas - 12/25.
This November you can purchase a model of the Pere Marquette 1225 for any of the railfans in your family :).