Owosso, Mich. – The Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) has decided to not operate any excursions in 2020.
The excursions include the annual Fall Color Tours and North Pole Express. 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.
This is the first time in 16 years that the North Pole Express will not be offered. Every year, thousands of guests come to Owosso to experience this nostalgic Christmas adventure. With uncertainty in the world today, the Steam Railroading Institute continues to face many challenges.
SRI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about steam-era railroading in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. This includes the preservation of the skills and technology for maintaining steam locomotives by operating steam-era equipment and providing the experience of steam locomotives in actual operation. The North Pole Express, Fall Color Tours and other train excursions offer year-round provides us with the funding to keep our mission alive.
The lack of excursions this year leaves SRI with a financial void. With no operations scheduled in the near future and uncertainty regarding when the schedule will be taken up again, their revenue has temporarily stopped.
At this time, the Institute remains closed to the public in accordance with local health department guidelines. The Institute will reopen when it is safe for staff, volunteers and guests. If you would like future updates, please sign up at michigansteamtrain.com/notification for notifications.