February 2019

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1278

Builder:Canadian Locomotive Company, Ltd. – Kingston, Ontario
Serial Number:#2435
Wheel Arrangement:4-6-2 Pacific
Driver Diameter:70″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:20″ x 28″
Boiler Pressure:250 psi
Pulling Power:34,000 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:117 tons
Length:76′ 4″
Capacity:Coal – 14 tons; Water – 8,000 gallons

Former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1278 was one of thirty class G-5-d engines built during 1948 at Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston, Ontario. The G-5 class’s lightweight construction and modern design made the locomotives perfect for light-rail, branch line duty on CP’s passenger and freight trains. Development of the G-5’s – of which 101 were built in four subclasses – allowed CP to retire numerous smaller, older, and less efficient engines. Age of Steam Roundhouse proudly owns two of these wonderful machines; see No. 1293 for more technical information about the G-5 class.

Number 1278 and its sister engines ran until the end of steam on the CP. Along with G-5’s No. 1246 and No. 1293, it was purchased by F. Nelson Blount in 1965 for use at his expanding Steamtown USA museum and tourist train operation in Bellows Falls, Vermont. Blount and his crew modified the No. 1278’s looks by renumbering it No. 127 and adding an Elesco bundle-type feedwater heater mounted transversely across the top of the smokebox. (No. 1278 was built with an Elesco coil type heater identical to the one on No. 1293.) The engine operated on a number of different excursions for Steamtown and others. When Steamtown moved to its new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania No. 1278 was traded to the Gettysburg Railroad for ex-Canadian National 2-8-2 No. 3254, a heavier and more powerful engine better suited to the steep grades Steamtown’s trains would operate on.

On the evening of June 16, 1995 while operating for the Gettysburg, a series of maintenance and operational errors combined to cause the roof of No. 1278’s firebox – called the crownsheet – to overheat and fail. Suddenly, hot steam exploded into the cab and severly burned its three crewmen. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated, determining that the modern design of the firebox with button-head staybolts may have prevented additional injuries (and perhaps deaths) from the incident. The Gettysburg firebox explosion prompted the Federal Railroad Administration to develop and introduce new rules for the maintenance and operation of steam locomotives. Thus, steam locomotive operation is safer today as a result of No. 1278’s bad experience.

Much of the former Gettysburg RR equipment was sold at auction in 1998, and Jerry Jacobson purchased the No. 1278. The engine is repairable and could be rebuilt for safe and reliable operation should the need arise. For now, the No. 1278 sits in the Age of Steam Roundhouse awaiting a major restoration and providing a reminder to all that steam power must be respected and cared for.

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh 0-6-0 No. 152

Builder:American Locomotive Co. – Brooks Works; Dunkirk, N.Y.
Built:January 1904 as Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh No. 152
Serial Number:#28753
Wheel Arrangement:0-6-0
Driver Diameter:51″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:20″ x 26″
Boiler Pressure:180 psi
Pulling Power:31,200 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:72 tons
Tender Weight:43 tons
Capacity:Coal – 6 tons; Water – 4,500 gallons

This 0-6-0 switch engine was built for the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway as No. 152. It was constructed by Alco’s Brooks Works in January 1904, and survives today as the only existing BR&P locomotive. A run-of-the-mill switch engine in most aspects, it is equipped with “inboard” piston valves and Stephenson valve gear, necessitating the somewhat rare angled arrangement.

The Baltimore & Ohio took control of the BR&P in 1932, and 0-6-0 No. 152 became B&O No. 390, and a few years later was renumbered as 1190. When retired from the B&O, it was sold to the Ohio River Sand & Gravel Company at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. When its fires were dropped for the final time, No. 1190 was donated to the city of New Martinsville for display. During 1979 the 0-6-0 was moved to the Mad River and NKP Museum in Bellevue, Ohio, where it languished in pieces and its wood cab rotted away.

In 2008, the museum sold the engine to Scott Symons of Dunkirk, New York. Mr. Symons hoped the engine could be repaired and operated, but those plans never materialized and No. 1190 was sold to the Age of Steam Roundhouse in 2014.

Due to its many years being stored outside, this 0-6-0 and its tender show significant deterioration. It survives today not only as the sole B&O steam switcher, but also as the only existing BR&P locomotive. The engine awaits an in-depth cosmetic restoration, where numerous parts will need to be recreated or replaced.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 763

Builder:Lima Locomotive Works – Lima, Ohio
Built:August 1944
Serial Number:#8671
Wheel Arrangement:2-8-4 Berkshire
Driver Diameter:69″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:25″ x 34″
Boiler Pressure:245 psi
Pulling Power:64,100 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:220 tons
Tender Weight:180 tons
Capacity:Coal – 22 tons; Water – 22,000 gallons

One of the famed 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotives of the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (better known as the “Nickel Plate Road”), No. 763 was constructed in August 1944 by the Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio. The NKP was a bridge route between Chicago and Buffalo, and made its money by providing high-speed, reliable freight service between these two cities. To ensure the NKP’s heavy trains arrived on-time against tight schedules, the NKP employed 80 of the fast, powerful Berkshires. Designed to run comfortably at 70 mph across the entire railroad, the “Berks” were finely-tuned machines that performed exactly as intended. No. 763 enjoyed a reputation as one of the best running of the NKP 2-8-4’s.

NKP and its Berks laughed demonstration diesel locomotives from EMD off the property – twice – and continued pulling freight trains until June 1958 when the realities of dwindling parts supplies and escalating labor costs finally ushered in the more efficient diesels. Most of NKP Berks were kept until official retirement in August of 1960 when they began being towed to scrap yards. Six were preserved, with No. 763 eventually being put on display in Roanoke, Virginia by NKP’s new corporate parent, the Norfolk and Western Railway.

Ten years later, No. 763 was moved to New Jersey for inspection and possible overhaul as power for the American Freedom Train, which at that time was proposed to be pulled by double-headed NKP Berks No. 763 and No. 755. However, that plan did not work out, so the engine headed back to Roanoke. The park exhibits were later transferred across town to the covered display tracks of the new Virginia Museum of Transportation, which displayed the 2-8-4 alongside N&W’s own steam locomotives.

Jerry Jacobson purchased No. 763 in 2007, and the locomotive made the trip from Roanoke home to Ohio on its own wheels in a special Norfolk Southern train. Today, this beautiful Berkshire sits in the Age of Steam Roundhouse and highlights one of the most famous classes of American steam power.

A sister locomotive, No. 765, is operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society in Indiana.

US Army 2-8-0 No. 2630

Builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works – Philadelphia, Penn.
Built:November 1943
Serial Number:#69857
Wheel Arrangement:2-8-0 Consolidation (“Yanks” in England)
Driver Diameter:57″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:19″ x 26″
Boiler Pressure:225 psi
Pulling Power:31,000 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:72 tons
Tender Weight58 tons
Capacity:Coal – 9 tons; Water – 6,500 gallons

Upon America’s entry into World War II, the United States Army Transportation Corps (USATC) commissioned development of a locomotive which could be built quickly and inexpensively in large numbers to be deployed on railways around the world. The result was the S-160 class, a 2-8-0 Consolidation locomotive limited in size and weight to ensure compatibility with Europe’s lighter construction of rail lines.

A total of 2,120 S-160’s were built by the combined efforts of the three major American locomotive builders, and the engines saw service in North Africa, Asia, Great Britain, South America and almost all of Europe. In November of 1943, No. 2630 rolled out of Baldwin’s assembly shop in Philadelphia. Unlike most of its sister engines which were sent off to war, No. 2630 remained stateside for use in railroad operation and maintenance training at the U.S. Army Transportation School at Ft. Eustis, Virginia.

Renumbered No. 612 in 1954, the engine remained on active duty for the Ft. Eustis Military Railroad for years; the Army kept operating steam locomotives to ensure no knowledge would be lost in the event that military operations began in a country still running them. Occasional weekend tourist trips around Ft. Eustis became popular stops for American railfans. The engine was finally retired in 1972 and donated to the state of West Virginia for potential use on the Durbin Branch, a state-owned line connecting to the famous Cass Scenic Railroad. Flood damage to the line ended these plans, and No. 612 was stored outdoors for many years.

In 2010, No. 612 was sold to Robert Franzen, president of Steam Services of America, and was disassembled and trucked to the Southeastern Railroad Museum in Duluth, Georgia, for storage. Age of Steam Roundhouse acquired #612 from Mr. Franzen in 2015 and shipped it via several highway trucks to Sugarcreek. In 2019 the engine received a complete cosmetic restoration, back-dating it to as-built appearance and numbering it back to No. 2630 in anticipation of AoSR’s Steam to Victory event.

Canadian National 2-6-0 No. 96

Builder:Canadian Locomotive Company, Ltd. – Kingston, Ontario
Serial Number:#937
Wheel Arrangement:2-6-0 Mogul
Driver Diameter:63″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:21″ x 26″
Boiler Pressure:170 psi
Pulling Power:26,300 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:70.9 tons
Tender Weight:64 tons
Capacity:Coal – 10 tons; Water – 5,200 gallons

Built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in 1910, 2-6-0 No. 1024 was one of a series of the small engines purchased by the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. These lightweight locomotives could be found at work all across Canada, but were used mostly on branch lines on the prairies with gentle grades and short trains. The engine went through a series of identity changes during its career, first being renumbered No. 926 by the GTR. In 1923, the GTR merged with the Canadian National Railway, becoming CN No. 96.

After retirement, No. 96 was purchased F. Nelson Blount for his growing Steamtown tourist operation in Vermont. Number 96 was not operated, but instead used as a source of spare parts to keep Blount’s other engines under steam. When Steamtown prepared to move to its new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, No. 96 was deemed surplus to the collection and sold to Horst Muller of Canada. The locomotive languished in Brantford, Ontario for many years.

In 1994 No. 96 was purchased by Jerry Jacobson who moved it to his Ohio Central Railroad System. While unlikely to be returned to operation, this venerable 2-6-0 is an important piece of the Age of Steam collection.

Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 33

Builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works – Philadelphia, Penn.
Built:February 1916
Serial Number:#43108
Wheel Arrangement:2-8-0 Consolidation
Driver Diameter:50″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:26″ x 30″
Boiler Pressure:200 psi
Pulling Power:60,484 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:140 tons
Status:Undergoing firebox work

Built in 1916 as Munising, Marquette & Southeastern Railway No. 44, this massive 2-8-0 was specially designed for service on heavy iron ore trains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. These ore trains were operated from the Marquette Iron Range to docks on Lake Superior for shipment by lake boats to lower Great Lakes steel mills. Three identical locomotives were sold to the neighboring Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad, into which the MM&S was eventually merged in 1924. As part of the merger, the engine was relettered and renumbered as LS&I No. 33.

Developing a whopping 72,309 pounds of tractive effort with its rare tender steam booster engine cut-in, this engine and tender had more low-speed pulling power than many larger locomotives. In fact, No. 33 and its sister engines were designed to exacting dimensions to fit within the railroads tight clearances and existing turntables. In other words, Baldwin squeezed in as much locomotive as possible!

After being retired in 1962, No. 33 was purchased in 1968 by Jerry Ballard for use on Ohio’s Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Rebuilt to operating condition by a flock of volunteers (who removed the tender booster and its complicated piping), No. 33 ran on the tourist railroad for many years before finally being parked in need of heavy repairs. In 2003 No. 33 was traded to Jerry Joe Jacobson and moved to the Ohio Central Railroad shop for repairs. The locomotive made its inaugural run on the OC in 2005, and operated occasionally until the railroad was sold in 2008. During the time when the Age of Steam Roundhouse facilities were being constructed, there was no opportunity to repair or operate any of Jerry’s steamers. Repairs to No. 33’s firebox resumed, and this 2-8-0 was returned to steam on November 11, 2018.