North Pole Express & Annual Fall Color Rides Canceled
What has been a annual holiday tradition for many in Michigan for years won't be happening in 2020.
For the first time in 16 years the North the real Polar Express, won't be making its way through mid- Michigan. The specialty excursion ran by the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) has been canceled amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic concerns. "This is the first time in 16 years that our historic North Pole Express will not be offered. Every year, thousands of guests come to Owosso to experience this nostalgic Christmas adventure and this announcement is disappointing", the SRI statement read.
The special holiday ride is one of the most popular in Michigan every year. Tickets to board the Pere Marquette 1225 train, which is the train that Hollywood modeled the Polar Express after, traditionally sells out early each year.
In addition to the North Pole Express, the Fall Color Tour and all other excursions the SRI operates have been canceled. The non-profit relies on their specialty rides each year to generate revenue. The SRI said, "The lack of excursions this year leaves SRI with a great financial void. With no operations scheduled in the near future and no idea when the schedule will be taken up again, our revenue has temporarily stopped".
The Steam Railroading Institute is hoping those who have enjoyed making family memories over the years riding the North Pole Express and the other special train rides will help with funding. If you want to donate to the SRI to keep things "rolling" you can visit michigansteamtrain.com/save-our-steamer or mail your donation to Steam Railroading Institute; P.O. Box 665, Owosso, MI 48867.