SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A historic steam-powered engine on display at the Michigan Flywheeler’s Museum will run again for the first time in 50 years.
The House of David 902 steam-powered locomotive was built in 1948 and used to transport visitors to the Eden Springs Amusement Park until 1973. The train, now called the Hanson Express, was cosmetically restored by the Hanson Family Foundation, then donated to the Flywheeler’s Museum in 2021. Since then, museum leaders have been working to get it running again.
“I’ve been working on getting all the piping and valving and everything else up to code on the boiler itself,” said David Myers, the museum’s vice president. “We’ve got a bunch of other people that have been working steadily laying track, which is a pretty labor-intensive job.”
So far volunteers have laid about 2,000 feet of track. They plan to eventually have a 7,000-foot loop for the train to take customers around. The first step though, is getting it running again.
The train recently passed the boiler inspection and will be unveiled to the public on Thursday during the 40th Antique Engine and Tractor Show. Myers said they plan to light the engine at 8 a.m. and it will take about two hours to build up enough steam to get the train moving for the first time in five decades.
“It’s an exciting thing for me. I love steam, I love trains and I have driven the sister unit to this one, which is over in Finley, Ohio, but this is going to be an exciting moment to pull the throttle on this glorious beast for the first time in all these years.”
Myers said the thing he appreciates most about the train is the history and he hopes the community can share in his excitement.
“There’s only three of these built. They are exact replicas, one-quarter scale, but exact replicas of a full-size locomotive. Nothing modeled, nothing miniature or, fake about it. I mean everything in here is exactly right off the blueprints of the original, so it is a full size in its size Locomotive… works exactly the same as they did back in the 30s 40s 50s. It’s just it’s very unique. I can’t say enough about it.”
In addition to the train, the 80-acre museum site will feature hundreds of tractors and antique engines. There will also be food, music, karaoke, contests, games, and much more. The antique show runs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10.
You can find a full schedule and information about admission prices here.