End of the Rainbow along the Breezeway

The End of the Rainbow

The End of the Rainbow, photo by T P M

Thomas says that he got to the end of the rainbow, but no Pot ‘O Gold. He took it along the Breezeway in northwest lower Michigan near East Jordan Michigan. According to the Breezeway website, which Thomas is involved with and links to from his Flickr profile:

The “Breezeway” – a rural ride along C-48 from Atwood (U.S. 31) through Ellsworth & East Jordan, and ending in Boyne Falls (U.S. 131) – boasts scenic overlooks, great motorcycle & bicycle rides, recreational amenities galore, working farms & orchards, artist galleries & studios, resale shops, lodging facilities (cottages, campgrounds, B&Bs, motels, and a resort), retail and service businesses with superb customer service, and an epicurean’s selection of dining choices along the route.

View his photo background bigtacular and see more in his Sites Along the Breezway slideshow.

Lots more about rainbows on Michigan in Pictures!

How Pere Marquette 1225 inspired the Polar Express

Pere Marquette 1255

Pere Marquette 1225, photo by Bob Gudas

The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso is home station for the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive aka the Polar Express:

Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive. When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day.

Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade. While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.

Lots more about the Michigan’s largest operating steam locomotive at Wikipedia and information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute.

View Bob’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Eastbound from Autumn

Eastbound Tracks along Huron River Drive by Lawrence Lazare

Eastbound Tracks along Huron River Drive, photo by Lawrence Lazare

It’s hard to leave fall behind…

Lawrence took this with an iPhone 4s using VividHDR. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Autumn 2013 slideshow.

There’s more fall wallpaper and more trains on Michigan in Pictures.

It Calls To Me…

Sunrise on the Rails

It Calls To Me…, photo by Kenneth Raymond

The Sunrise, Like Flight To The Bird, It Calls To Me…

View Kenneth’s photo bigger and see more in his Sunrises & Sunsets slideshow.

Get your Polar Express aboard Pere Marquette 1225!

Pere Marquette 1225

Pere Marquette 1225, photo by Mi Bob

Every year, the Steam Train Railroading Institute in Owosso operates an annual North Pole Express that takes you to the North Pole and back. Over on Absolute Michigan, The Polar Express Comes to Michigan from Michigan History Magazine explains that author Chris Van Allsburg his well-known children’s book, The Polar Express, on train experiences he had as a boy in Grand Rapids:

The book’s popularity led to a movie released in November 2004. Michigan railroad buffs recognize the sound of the movie’s train whistle, which comes from one of the nation’s few working steam locomotives.

Built in 1941, the Pere Marquette 1225 is an enormous steam locomotive, measuring one hundred feet long and sixteen feet high. Replaced in 1951 by a more efficient diesel engine, the 1225 was saved from the scrap heap and decades later, ended up in Owosso as the star of the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI). Shortly thereafter, the 1225 was restored to its former glory.

As researchers prepared the movie version of Van Allsburg popular book, they were drawn to Owosso and the 1225. Technicians recorded the sound of the whistle, the clatter of the wheels and the rumble of the four-hundred-ton locomotive rolling down the tracks. The sounds were merged with the animated Polar Express.

Check the photo out bigger and see more in Bob’s slideshow.

More trains on Michigan in Pictures and also check out the Pere Marquette 1225 slideshow in the Absolute Michigan pool!

In like a lion … a very confused lion at least

Plow Extra Grant

Plow Extra Grant, photo by amtrak_russ.

March roared into Michigan a (leap) day early, dumping up to 16 inches of snow in parts of the UP. The Lansing State Journal reports that while the UP was buried, southern Michigan was boiling:

The National Weather Service says 10 to 16 inches fell in the Iron Mountain area, while the Ironwood area got up to 14 inches and the Menominee area up to 13 inches.

Icy road conditions were reported in parts of the southern Lower Peninsula early Wednesday, but warm winds pushed highs to spring-like levels. The weather service says Three Rivers hit 64 degrees, Kalamazoo 63, and Coldwater and South Haven 62.

The rules of folk wisdom dictate that with such a ferocious beginning, the month will end lamb gentle … but is that only for folks in the UP?

About this photo from last year Russell writes Marquette Rail ran a plow extra after the 2011 blizzard that dropped over 2 feet of snow and 50+ MPH winds. Here it is seen busting through the crossing in downtown Grant. Check it out bigger and in his Trains 2011 slideshow.

There’s a yard-full of trains on Michigan in Pictures!

Durand Union Station & Durand Railroad Days

Durand Train Station, HDR

Durand Train Station, HDR, photo by friday1970.

This weekend (May 13-15) is Durand Railroad Days. This annual event is in its 36th year and was established in 1975 to pay tribute
to the rail industry that helped develop the nation and was responsible
for the settlement of Durand late in the 1870s. The Michigan Railroad History Museum at Durand Union Station says:

The village of Durand was built up around the railroads in the late 1870’s. Durand Union Station was designed by Spier and Rohms and originally built in 1903. Eighteen months thereafter it was almost completely destroyed by fire and was rebuilt in 1905.

This was a very busy station as the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor Railroads crossed at grade there. During the early 1900’s when the railroad industry was at its peak, 42 passenger trains, 22 mail trains, and 78 freight trains passed through Durand daily. Durand Union Station handled approximately 3,000 passengers per day, making it a prospering hub of the industry.

Read about the event & museum using the links above and definitely put the museum on your list of places to visit!

Check Tim’s photo out bigger. He writes that he was inspired by an old black & white photo from nearly the same spot.

You can see a similar photo right here and learn a lot more about Michigan’s railroading heritage from the Michigan Internet Railroad History Museum. There’s also a cool wallpaper sized photo of the station in the Absolute Michigan pool and (of course) you can learn a lot more about Michigan Trains & Railroads on Michigan in Pictures!