North Pole Express not to operate in 2020

Historic steam engine inspired ’The Polar Express’ book and movie

Pere Marquette 1225,  the North Pole Express.
Pere Marquette 1225, the North Pole Express. (Steam Railroading Institute)

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

However, Pere Marquette 1225 -- also known as the North Pole Express -- won’t be running this year. In a statement released Tuesday, the Steam Railroading Institute has decided to not operate any excursions in 2020. This includes the annual Fall Color Tours and North Pole Express.

The Steam Railroading Institute said the decision was made as the operation of excursion trains is identified among the highest risk activities associated with the spread of COVID-19 which includes bringing large groups of people together in enclosed spaces for extended periods of time.

Sept. 2, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 103,710; Death toll now at 6,509

It is the first time in 16 years that the North Pole Express will not be offered.

The lack of excursions this year leaves the Steam Railroading Institute with a great financial void. With no operations scheduled in the near future and no idea when the schedule will be taken up again, the organization said its revenue has temporarily stopped and is asking for help.

Donations to the Steam Railroading Institute are tax deductible as charitable contributions to the extent allowed by law. You can donate online here or you can mail a donation to Steam Railroading Institute; P.O. Box 665, Owosso, MI 48867.

READ MORE: Coronavirus Event Changes

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