Locomotive arrives at White Pine Village.

November 21, 2017


Locomotive arrives at White Pine Village.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — The railroad has come back to Buttersville Peninsula; at least in the form of an exhibit at Historic White Pine Village. Volunteers have spent the past couple of weeks preparing the western boundary of the village for its latest display, a steam locomotive, tender car, and flat car, on a 100-feet long track. The locomotive and tender car were delivered today, Tuesday, Nov. 21.

“This is one of the most exciting events that’s happened at Historic White Pine Village in years,” said Dr. Rick Plumber, executive director of the Mason County Historical Society, which owns and operates the village.

The locomotive and tender car had been on display near downtown Grand Rapids, along US 131, for many years. When a new company purchased the building it replaced the train with a parking lot and wanted it gone.

“They wanted to scrap it,” said Jeff DuPilka, president of the Coopersville & Marne Railway, a non-profit organization that operates a historical train in eastern Ottawa County. “I talked the railroad board into fronting the money to save the train and then storing it at our facility until we could find a home for it.” DuPilka is also the president of West Shore Services, Inc. of Allendale, which volunteered to move the equipment to Ludington.

DuPilka was put in touch with John Holcombe, a Mason County Historical Society board member and White Pine Village volunteer.

“This has been a process that started about a 1 1/2 years ago,” Holcombe said. “It’s always been a dream to have some kind of a train here at White Pine Village. This particular engine is a 260, which was typical of what was used on the Mason and Oceana Railroad, which had three engines similar to this.”

Plumber said that the engine, which is called the John Engler, named after former Michigan Gov. John Engler, will be re-painted to the scheme of the Mason and Oceana Railroad, which hauled lumber from Walkerville to the Buttersville Peninsula, which is where White Pine Village is located.

“The railroad actually ended about a 1/4 mile north of White Pine Village, where the lumber was brought to the sawmills on Pere Marquette Lake,” said Jim Jensen, president of the Mason County Historical Society.

See more on video.

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