August 2019

Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum Store is Now Online

Want to sport some Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum merchandise or just interested in some interesting Roundhouse inspired gifts? Can’t visit the Roundhouse in person but want to show your support for our mission?

Check out our online store and order Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum logo merchandise, books, gifts, and more. New merchandise is added all the time and we’ll be offering “web only” exclusive deals!

United States Army locomotive No. 2630 leads a train of WWII-era military vehicles during the Steam to Victory event.

On July 5 and 6, 2019, the Age of Steam Roundhouse hosted Steam to Victory, an event to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and to celebrate the role that railroads played in the war effort.  This unique event brought together WWII reenactors, historic military vehicles, and the Roundhouse’s own collection of WWII-era trains.

The “star” of the railroad exhibits was US Army 2-8-0 locomotive No. 2630, which was unveiled at the event after an in-depth cosmetic restoration.  Resplendent in Army Olive Drab paint, No. 2630 was featured leading two restored Army flatcars and a Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad caboose.  Atop the flatcars, military vehicles were displayed including an M3 half-track, M8 Greyhound armored car, a Jeep, and a unique “Weasel” tracked vehicle.  This unique exhibit represented a World War II train moving important equipment off to battle.

Around the Age of Steam grounds, numerous military displays welcomed guests with immersive experiences.  Visitors learned about the living conditions of soldiers on the front lines from reenactors of both the Allies and Axis forces.  Vehicle rides and small arms demonstrations gave guests a taste of how this impressive equipment was used in war.  Twice a day, the reenactors marched off for a simulated skirmish where US troops stormed a German bunker.  The Ohio Amish countryside surrounding the Roundhouse were a good stand-in for the similar fields and hills of Western Europe.

Other components of the Age of Steam railroad collection were also on-hand for guests to view.  Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 #6325 led two restored Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad passenger coaches, simulating one of the thousands of troop trains which shuttled soldiers around the US.  One of the most colorful exhibits was a steam locomotive tender made up to represent the red, white and blue “Buy War Bonds” tenders created by the Nickel Plate Road as a means of advertisement to help in the war effort.  Another tender sported the insignia of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which Age of Steam Roundhouse founder Jerry Jacobson served in.  Finally, 0-6-0T tank engine #4 proudly displayed its heritage as a US Navy switching locomotive.

Age of Steam Roundhouse would like to thank the following organizations for their participation in Steam to Victory:

  • Crew 1944 / 5th Rangers, Co. B and Baker Co.
  • 101st Airborne / 502nd PIR
  • 100th Jager Division
  • 352nd Infantry Division
  • Marlboro Volunteers Military History Mobile Museum
  • Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
  • Forever Young Singers

Despite some hot weather and a few pop-up thunderstorms, Age of Steam Roundhouse’s first large public event was well-attended and received positive feedback.  Stay tuned to the Roundhouse mailing list, website and social media channels as we work to develop more exciting events and experiences in the coming months.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum (AoSRM) in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is excited and pleased to announce that it has successfully acquired B&LE 643, which is the only remaining 2-10-4 Texas Type steam locomotive of the 47 built for the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad.

B&LE 643 is a heavy-haul steam locomotive that was designed and built to move iron ore, coal, and other high-density commodities to and from the Great Lakes region. Built in 1944, the 643 saw an early retirement in 1952 due to the increased introduction of diesels to the Bessemer & Lake Erie’s locomotive roster. Fortunately, the 643 and two other smaller steamers were preserved by the B&LE in its roundhouse in Greenville, Pa.

B&LE 643 will become the largest locomotive in the AoSRM collection. This behemoth is just over 108’ long, stands over 16’ high, and weighs 308.32 tons without coal and water. Add 26 tons of coal, and 23,000 gallons of water, and B&LE 643 tops the scales at 908,720 lbs., or more than 454 tons!

AoSRM founder, Jerry Jacobson, nicknamed B&LE 643, “The King,“ as it is believed to be one of the largest non-articulated steam locomotives in the world. It had been Jerry’s life-long desire to acquire this historic iron giant to restore and display with the other 21 steam locomotives in his collection. The Board of Directors and dedicated Staff at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum, are deeply grateful to Glenn Campbell and The Steel City Railway Historical Society for saving B&LE 643 in McKees Rocks, Pa., and for their selflessness, by assuring the locomotive’s long-lived future at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum would like to recognize and honor the efforts of The Ernest Stern Family and his son, Rick Stern, of Pittsburgh for their direct and dedicated involvement in the critical phases of restoration of B&LE 643. Their one time ownership, and financial investment in the 643, are responsible for much of the early work performed that has greatly helped its survival for these many years!

Future official reports and updates about the movement of B&LE 643 from McKees Rocks to Sugarcreek will be posted on our website: www.ageofsteamroundhouse.org.

Bill Strawn, Board Chairman

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