VIDEO: North Pole Express nearly hits photographer too close to tracks, tears jacket

Historic steam engine inspired “The Polar Express” book and movie

CARLAND, Mich. – For many Michiganders, the holiday season doesn’t start until the Steam Railroading Institutes’ Pere Marquette 1225 holiday schedule begins.

Pere Marquette 1225 -- also known as the North Pole Express -- runs Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 16 to Dec. 21.

The historic train was a major influence on the holiday children’s book “The Polar Express,” written by Grand Rapids-native Chris Van Allsburg. In 2002, Warner Brothers Entertainment purchased the blueprints of the Pere Marquette 1225 to accurately recreate the train in Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 movie adaptation.

The Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to those wishing to see the steam train on its holiday trips after a photographer suffered a close call with the nearly 450,000 pound locomotive engine.

The 5,000 horsepower steam engine overhangs the tracks by three feet on both sides. Video captured a photographer standing too close to the tracks in Carland while getting her shot. She steps away from the tracks as the massive train passes but the train still manages to snag her jacket, tearing it at the shoulder.

“We are very fortunate to have the legendary Pere Marquette 1225 steam locomotive here in Shiawassee County. This Christmas season, the 1225 will again be pulling coaches full of people to the ‘North Pole.’ Unfortunately, people don’t always use good judgement when watching or photographing her along the way,” the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. “For your safety, it is illegal to be on the tracks unless you are at a designated crossing. Railroad tracks, trestles and yards are all private property where trespassers are subject to arrest and fines.”

Video of the incident can be seen above.

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