Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company 0-4-0F No. 2

Builder: Heisler Locomotive Works – Erie, Penn.
Built: March 1940
Serial Number: #54
Wheel Arrangement: 0-4-0 Fireless
Driver Diameter: 36″
Cylinder Bore x Stroke: 21″ x 20″
Boiler Pressure: 250 psi
Pulling Power: 14,700 lbs. tractive effort
Engine Weight: 42 tons
Weight on Drivers:
Fuel: None
Status: Non-Serviceable

Constructed by Heisler Locomotive Works in 1940, this little locomotive is a “fireless cooker” switcher. This unique engine design was popular for use in areas where flammable substances were handled, such as in textile mills, chemical plants and coal-burning power plants. Fireless locos operated without the need of a fire to heat boiler water to make steam. Instead, these engines used heavily insulated boilers to store pressurized steam and hot water, both supplied from a separate source. At normal atmospheric pressure water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but under higher pressures it does not boil. Consequently, as the fireless locomotive performs work and uses steam, the boiler pressure drops, thus allowing the superheated water to start boiling again and make additional steam. When the quantity of water and steam inside the boiler was used-up and reduced to the point where the boiler needed refilling, the locomotive would have been recharged from the separate source. Typically, a fireless engine could be operated for about eight hours on a single charge of superheated water.

Little No. 2 was built for use at the Columbus and Southern Ohio Electric Company’s electric generating plant in Groveport, Ohio. There No. 2 and fireless sisters No. 1 and No. 3 were used to shuttle hopper cars full of coal around the property. Both No. 1 and No. 2 were eventually retired and donated to the Penn-Ohio Railfan’s Association. For several years these two fireless locos were stored in a field south of Canfield, but No. 2 was acquired by the Old Express Restaurant in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and moved to its diner display site on June 13, 1974.

Over the years the building and No. 2 passed into the ownership of Travel Centers of America and went through a number of different tenants. Finally, the structure was scheduled for demolition in 2017, and the future plans for the property did not include the old locomotive. In stepped the Age of Steam Roundhouse, with an offer to purchase the engine and preserve it in Sugarcreek.

The locomotive was tightly squeezed between a city street and an old railroad station—and, with electric power lines hanging overhead—made for a difficult extraction. After some clearing work to create space, a highway truck was backed-up to the engine and the 54-ton 0-4-0F was carefully winched aboard the lowboy trailer. No. 2 arrived in Sugarcreek in January 2018.