Memories of the Steam Train Festival in 2009 at the Steam Railroading Institute

I think I was born about fifteen years too late. I would have loved standing along the tracks watching huge steam locomotives roll by, pulling long lines of freight or passenger cars. Steam was almost completely replaced by diesel by the time I was born. There were still a few steam engines working in various places, but the main roads were all powered by diesel.

Thankfully, the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan, and other groups like them provide opportunities for train enthusiasts to see real steam locomotives in action.

Photo of small steam engine with people looking at it

In July of 2009, my grandson and I went to the Steam Train Festival at the Steam Railroading Institute. It was a fantastic experience, being able to see so many steam locomotives in one place.

The Southern Pacific “Daylight” #4449 steamed all the way across the United States to the Train Festival in Owosso. The locomotive is absolutely beautiful. Pictures cannot fully express the majesty of these incredible powerhouse locomotives.

We were excited to see the Steam Railroading Institute had several miniature trains operating and we took advantage of the opportunity to ride them. My grandson loved it. Who am I kidding? I loved it, too!

This vintage 4-4-0 steam engine is an exact replica of the kind of locomotives used on the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s difficult to describe the amazing beauty of the locomotive, but it’s easy to picture it steaming across the plains of the U.S.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to own an operating model of a steam locomotive like this. Sitting in the cab and setting the throttle, feeling the engine beginning to chug along the tracks would be amazing.

There were two or three of these small steam locomotives in operation which gave folks an opportunity to sit at the throttle. I pictured myself as the engineer, covered with soot, and loving every minute of it.

My grandson and I rode the passenger train pulled by #110. It was an incredible day at the Steam Railroading Institute. I really can’t explain my fascination with these amazing machines, but I have always loved them. I’m just like so many others who can’t get enough of steam trains.

I hope the Steam Railroading Institute is planning to one day have another great train festival.

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