Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum

The roundhouse construction continues on schedule. As you can see from the latest aerial photos, a great deal of work is completed to date. The massive size of this building is amazing as one walks through the site, watching the experienced craftsmen at their trades. They all work as a well oiled machine building this unique structure. Cement flooring is going quickly now with several stalls poured. The grading and concrete forms are built well in advance of the pour.

The bulk of steel structure of the backshop is done. The roof work and the installation of the overhead crane is on schedule. Drop pits and floor work progresses while the bricklayer’s continue erecting the walls. Electricians and plumbers are rapidly working to stay ahead of the concrete workers plus the timber framers assembling the roof. Each day reflects more work completed when walking around the project.

The movement of stores and equipment accelerated during the past 6 months. Now that we have good rail and grounds area storage sites at the roundhouse, we have been able to transport and unload with ease. The good spring and summer weather has been perfect for the completion of this work. Our heavy machinery has been moved into temporary storage. The plan is to move the machines into the back shop as the contractors complete certain areas and give the final approval for us to mount and wire them. This should start taking place by November as we try to stay ahead of the winter weather.

 

The steel superstructure of the backshop is nearing completion, and the brickwork is beginning
The steel superstructure of the backshop is nearing completion, and the brickwork is beginning.
This concrete pumping truck's arm reaches into the roundhouse stalls to pour the floors
This concrete pumping truck's arm reaches into the roundhouse stalls to pour the floors.
Another view of concrete floor being poured
Another view of concrete floor being poured.

Mid July saw the movement of six of the steam locomotives towed from Morgan Run to the roundhouse with no operational problems. They are safely stored on site awaiting the next move into the roundhouse later this year.

On September 22, steam engine #1293 was used to make the final rail equipment move from Morgan Run Shop to the Age of Steam Roundhouse. This equipment included 0-4-0 steam engine #3, Alco diesel RS18, #1800 and caboose #1880. It was a sad moment because we knew that after so many years of steam engines operating out of Morgan Run, this was the last move from Morgan Run. The positive side of this day was knowing that the new home for all the historic equipment offers so much more for the longevity of all equipment involved for years to come.

The move was slow account of towing the small drivered #3 with several stops to inspect and oil it along the route, but the result was a safe, uneventful trip. We steamed up the 1293 on the new service track for the first time. This track is close to the back shop, and as the first smell of coal smoke drifted throughout the construction site, a ll the contractors were surprised. We gave all the workers a chance to get up close and personal with the 1293 before she was banked and bedded down for the night.

4-6-2 #1293, travelling in reverse, leads the final equipment out of Morgan Run, heading north to the Age of Steam Roundhouse construction site
4-6-2 #1293, travelling in reverse, leads the final equipment out of Morgan Run, heading north to the Age of Steam Roundhouse construction site.

A great deal of passenger car maintenance has been done this summer and work will continue into the fall and winter. Even with the tight mechanical schedule, we’ve been able to stay on top of preventive maintenance that passenger equipment always requires. This work also included the repainting of two of the ex VIA, climate controlled coaches in the fleet. This will bring the total of eight out of ten of this type of car repainted in the past two years.

Some minor diesel repairs have taken place, mainly 92 day inspections and small maintenance jobs, most of the stored engines have been prepared for winter storage already with a few yet to prepare. We appreciate everyone’s interest in the Age of Steam Roundhouse growth and we’ll continue to update this website, thank you all for the favorable comments received. Stay tuned!

Welcome to the first Age of Steam Roundhouse Report!

The year 2010 is an exciting start for the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek Ohio. This project marks the beginning of a new era of steam locomotive restoration and preservation.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse (AOSR) has retained 22 diesel locomotives including models made by ALCO, EMD, General Electric and Fairbanks Morse. Last fall these engines were inspected and prepared for movement to the roundhouse site. This was a time consuming task that took several weeks of preparation.
The movements of the engines were safely made using our own EMD FP40’s and an Alco RS1800. You can see some of these locomotives stored in the AOSR yard in the Aerial Shots from November 2009.

We have two-dozen passenger cars—twelve heavy weight and 12 lightweight—as well as a wide assortment of rail freight cars for storage of larger items. All of these cars required inspection prior to their movement, and each had its air brakes cleaned, oiled tested and stenciled (COTS) which was accomplished in
conjunction with the movement of the diesel fleet out of storage at Morgan Run. All of this equipment—including ex-NKP 2-8-4 #763—made the journey to the roundhouse site last fall in a safe and timely manner.

The remainder of the steam locomotive roster will be prepared for dead-in-tow movement to the site after completion of the roundhouse’s stalls and tracks. This work will include the dropping of main rods, testing of brake systems, and lubrication to axles and other points. Replacement of wooden end beams of the tenders for ex-Canadian National H6g-class 4-6-0 #1551 and E10-class 2-6-0 #96 will be accomplished with locally grown Amish oak timbers.

Aerial view of the construction site. Note diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and #763 already on-site
Aerial view of the construction site. Note diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and #763 already on-site.
2-8-4 #763 awaiting construction of the roundhouse
2-8-4 #763 awaiting construction of the roundhouse.

The shop support equipment, such as lathes, milling machines, drill presses and a long list of other machinery will be moved by truck from their current site in the Ohio Central Railroad Morgan Run Shop to the new AOSR Backshop now being constructed. Various other parts and shop supplies will be boxed and transported to the new storehouse that is also under construction.

G5d No. 1293 is undergoing an annual inspection and some running repairs in preparation for 2010 operations. The 1293 has been the workhorse of our fleet for the past few years and has always been a favorite with crew and public alike. We’re planning to have her fired up to assist on some of the rail equipment moves to the new facility. It will be a great day when we move these fine examples of steam locomotives out of Mother Nature’s elements and into their own warm, dry stalls inside our new roundhouse.

Additionally, we are constructing a new back shop complex for the continued restoration of the collection of steam locomotives, diesel engines and passenger equipment here at the Age of Steam Roundhouse. The shop support equipment—such as lathes, milling machines, a drill press, and a long list of other machinery—
will have to be disconnected, moved and loaded onto trucks for the trip to the new back shop that now is being constructed adjacent to the roundhouse. All of these shop tools will need special foundations and precise installation before they can be used for steam locomotive maintenance and repair. Our inventory of
spare parts and other store house items will have to be boxed and transported to the site of the new storehouse near the roundhouse, also planned for construction later this year.

Aerial view of the roundhouse under construction
Aerial view of the roundhouse under construction.
Another angle of the roundhouse. The entire site has been planned out with the center point of the turntable as a reference point
Another angle of the roundhouse. The entire site has been planned out with the center point of the turntable as a reference point.

Southern Wood Preserving Co. 0-4-0T No. 3

Builder:American Locomotive Co. – Schenectady Works; Schenectady, N.Y.
Built:As stock loco January 1926 – Sold in 1928
Serial Number:#66308
Wheel Arrangement:0-4-0T Tank Engine
Driver Diameter:40″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:16″ x 24″
Boiler Pressure:180 psi
Pulling Power:23,500 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:49 tons
Weight on Drivers:49 tons
Length:54 feet
Fuel:Coal
Status:Non-Operational

 

Between major locomotive orders, the American Locomotive Company occasionally built small “stock” locomotives, knowing that such generic engines were typically in-demand and would not sit unsold for very long. Such was the case with 0-4-0T No. 3, built in January 1926 at ALCO’s Schenectady Works in New York. The engine’s small stature and “saddletank” water tank straddling its boiler made it ideal for switching small rail yards and industrial facilities.

Sure enough, No. 3 was purchased from ALCO by the Southern Wood Preserving Company in 1928 for use at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rolling on 40-inch driving wheels and weighing a beefy 49 tons, this little locomotive switched flatcars carrying raw timbers into the plant and complete, creosote-treated railroad ties back out.

After retirement, No. 3 was acquired by the then-new Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga. By 1964, TVRM’s collection also included the more famous ex-Southern Railway 2-8-2 No. 4501, renowned for its later role in the Southern Railways steam program. Paul Merriman – a Chattanooga electronics engineer and one of TVRM’s founders – eventually purchased No. 3 from the museum.

In 1994 the engine was sold by the Merriman family to Jerry Jacobson. It was then trucked to Coshocton, Ohio to be set on the rails of Jerry’s Ohio Central Railroad. The small 0-4-0T received repairs and was run numerous times at the OC’s Morgan Run shops.

No. 3 received new “Southern Wood Preserving Company” lettering in early 2020.

Sturm & Dillard 0-6-0 No. 105

Specifications
Builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works – Philadelphia, Penn.
Built:January 1917
Serial Number:#44886
Wheel Arrangement:0-6-0 Switcher
Driver Diameter:52″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:16″ x 24″
Boiler Pressure:160 psi
Pulling Power:13,200 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:60-65 tons (engine only)
Weight on Drivers:60-65 tons (engine only)
Fuel:Coal
Status:Non-Operational

Number 105, a small 0-6-0 switch engine, was constructed by Baldwin in January 1917 as No. 51, one of an order of four built for John Marsh Inc. Railroad Contractors. Records indicate that by December 1923 No. 51 had been sold to Birmingham Rail and Locomotive, a dealer who bought and sold used rail equipment. On February 23, 1929, BR&L invoiced Sturm & Dillard at Lower Elk, Kentucky, for the purchase of No. 51. S&D renumbered the engine as No. 105, and it went to work in S&D’s company-owned gravel pits located in Circleville, Ohio. Sturm and Dillard specialized in railroad construction work. Among other famous projects, the company had the huge task of constructing much of the Norfolk & Western Railway’s Big Sandy main line.

Around 1969, Art Davis purchased No. 105 from Sturm & Dillard for $1,500. In 1971, Art loaded his locomotive into a gondola and had it moved to the former PRR roundhouse in Erie, Pa. In 1983, the engine was moved again, this time to Art’s industrial property in Orrville, Ohio. At some point, Art swapped-out No. 105’s original slope-back tender with the chunky-appearing tender now trailing this 0-6-0, but neither he nor anyone else seemed to recall where this replacement came from or where the original tender went.

Art occasionally fired up his little engine for his friends to enjoy, among them Jerry Jacobson and members of his crew. After Art’s passing, an estate sale paved the way for Jerry to acquire this beloved engine. The No. 105 arrived at Age of Steam in July of 2015, and today it is proudly displayed in the Roundhouse. Art Davis would be happy to know that his little engine continues to be looked after.

Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12

Builder:American Locomotive Co. – Pittsburg Works; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Built:September 1905 as Southern Railway #1643
Serial Number:#37672
Wheel Arrangement:0-6-0
Driver Diameter:50″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke:20″ x 26″
Boiler Pressure:185 psi
Pulling Power:32,710 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight:73 tons
Tender Weight:89,740 pounds
Length:54 feet
Fuel:Coal
Capacity:Coal – 7 tons; Water – 7,000 gallons
Class:A-7 (as built for Southern Railway)
Status:Operational

 

In September 1905, the American Locomotive Company’s Pittsburg (no “h”, thank you) Works constructed A-7 class 0-6-0 No. 1643 for the Southern Railway. After over four decades of working in relative obscurity shuffling cars for the Southern, the engine was retired and parked in the scrap line. Unlike its numerous sister engines, however, No. 1643 got a reprieve from the scrapper’s torch when it was purchased by the Morehead and North Fork Railway, a small 4-mile long short line in Kentucky. Renumbered to 12, the engine was put to work hauling trains of local clay products, coal and lumber to the Chesapeake & Ohio interchange in Morehead.

The M&NF didn’t retire its steam locomotives until 1963, so railfans came from across the country to photograph this obscure steam holdout. Among the visitors was a young Jerry Jacobson, then a paratrooper in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. In 1962 while stationed at Fort Bragg, Jerry would take advantage of the occasional weekend pass and endure a 450-mile Greyhound bus trip to witness M&NF steam in service. Number 12 made quite an impression on the young soldier, foreshadowing the third act of the little engine’s career.

After the M&NF was abandoned, No. 12 was shoved into the M&NF’s ramshackle shed in Clearfield and largely forgotten. Jerry Jacobson never forgot about No. 12, however, and sought to acquire it for years. In late 2011 the locomotive owner’s widow and son agreed to a sale, and plans were made to haul the isolated 0-6-0 to Ohio by truck. What seemed like a straightforward process turned into a three-month ordeal of permit challenges and truck breakdowns, but No. 12 was finally hauled to Sugarcreek and arrived at the Age of Steam Roundhouse on February 7th, 2012.

Number 12 went into the Age of Steam backshop for inspection and the roundhouse crew developed a repair plan. The boiler was repaired and put back into compliance with Federal Railroad Administration requirements. A brand new welded tender tank was constructed (complete with imitation rivets) and placed on the existing tender frame. Countless parts were repaired or replaced, including a brand new steam dome lid and smoke stack. Finished with a coat of black paint and fresh M&NF lettering, No. 12 proudly chuffed out of the backshop during the summer of 2018. No.  12 is the first derelict steam locomotive totally rebuilt for service at AoSRH. Sadly, Jerry passed away in 2017 and was not with us to celebrate, but we’re confident that he would have been glad to see No. 12’s story come to such a happy ending.