News

It has been a challenging spring and summer here at the roundhouse. As our website photos have shown, the main facility buildings have been completed, but smaller details are being finished up by the numerous contractor crafts involved.

By this past July all of our steam locomotives and a few selected pieces of rolling stock had been placed into the stalls in order to protect them from the coming winter elements. Our ex-Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1293 was fired up several times to assist in the switching of equipment around the yard and to test of a few of the roundhouse’s smoke jacks. All contractors and employees who were involved that day gathered to witness the first wisps of smoke as they were drawn up through the jacks. To the enjoyment of everyone, the jacks worked properly in properly drafting the smoke out of the roundhouse.

The roundhouse was then officially christened as #1293 backed out of stall #1 onto the turntable, speckling the wooden beams, ceiling and doors with soot and cinders, and anointing the concrete floor with steam mixed with a little valve oil.

number 1293
smokestacks of the roundhouse building

Work continues on the details of the wood water tank and drop spout arrangement. The tank has been full of water since April, thus allowing the wood to soak, expand and tighten-up to a point now where all leaks have been eliminated, save for one area that has some small drips. This is being addressed and should be sealed-up within a week. The Hall-Woolford Co. of Philadelphia has done a wonderful job in the construction of this 50,000-gallon tank. In addition to filling locomotive tenders, the tank’s duties will also be to provide the roundhouse and back shop with water for boiler washing, and to supply the overhead fire sprinkler system. In addition to the water tank’s drop spout, several former C&O Railway water columns will be supplied with water from the tank, and will be installed along the turntable’s lead tracks. These water columns are currently being reconditioned by AoS shop personnel.

The machine shop now is up and running, and all major machine tools have been placed, energized and are in use. A variety of on-site machining jobs have been accomplished in support of the construction contractors, thus allowing their tasks to be completed faster.

The back shop’s administrative offices, employee locker room, restrooms, kitchen and lunch rooms have been completed, and old-looking furniture and furnishings are being acquired and installed. Our employees are starting to move into the complex as the delivery of these support items permit. The construction of the storehouse and freight dock is moving at a good rate. The wood pilings and concrete foundations have been installed, and the brick masons are mobilizing to be on site at the time of this report. Our goal is to have this new structure open by late year. The location of the unattached storehouse is at the southwest corner of the back shop.

The backshop office is complete and furniture is being moved in
The backshop office is complete and furniture is being moved in.
Roundhouse lunch room
Roundhouse lunch room.

Finally, on the drawing table is the discussion and planning of the 75-ton, concrete coaling tower. Many details are being worked out regarding present day building codes and construction methods for this important support facility. Currently, our goal is to start construction during the spring of 2012. We at Age of Steam Roundhouse wish to thank every one of you who have sent your positive comments about our efforts to construct this unique railroad facility for the present and future protection and operation of this collection of historic steam locomotives. Please continue enjoying our progress through this website
as we continue moving forward toward completion of this modern day monument of the United States of America’s Railroad Heritage.

The year 2010 is rapidly winding down as we look back the past few months and review the news here at the roundhouse. We had a few extra moves of rail equipment because of some business transactions made with the Genesee & Wyoming. These consisted of AOSR acquiring ex-Pittsburgh & Lake Erie GP7 #1501 that had been stored in Youngstown, Ohio, for the past few years.

After AOSR personnel prepared the #1501 for dead-in-tow movement, Norfolk Southern moved it to Mingo Jct, Ohio, via Conway Yard in Pennsylvania. Upon its arrival at Mingo Jct., the G&W moved #1501 to its Morgan Run Shop near Coshocton. Here, AOSR personnel pre-lubed the engine and prepared it to be started back up for service. In early November, the #1501 – under her own power – moved our recently acquired ex-P&LE wreck crane #300505, P&LE idler car #X502, ex-NS idler car #960088, and ex-OHCR boxcar #1741 from Morgan Run to the Age of Steam roundhouse site. The movement was unique in that several pieces of P&LE history had been returned together in one move. With the arrival of this equipment, AOSR now has the entire former P&LE wreck train in its collection, along with the wreck train’s former P&LE Pullman/diner White Castle and a baggage/cable car, both already on-site.

 

GP7 #1501 at the Age of Steam Roundhouse site
GP7 #1501 at the Age of Steam Roundhouse site.

In early November former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1293 and the other steam locos in the AOSR collection were winterized, drained of water, lubricated and protected from the elements. If construction continues as it has, our engines will be inside the roundhouse shortly after the first of the year.

4-8-4 #6325 and 2-8-0 #33 winterized on one of the roundhouse storage tracks
4-8-4 #6325 and 2-8-0 #33 winterized on one of the roundhouse storage tracks.

The roundhouse and backshop work has progressed well the past few months. The brick contractors have finished their work and moved on, and the cement masons have completed 99% of the concrete work. The window installers are on-site and window framing and glazing have begun in the roundhouse. This job will take some time because of the size and uniqueness of the massive thermo-pane windows. The electricians and plumbers are well underway installing the maze of piping and conduits needed to supply a large facility like this. This also includes the spaghetti-like radiant heat floor piping, and the installation of four radiant heat boilers.

Window frame installation is underway
Window frame installation is underway.

Track work has moved along at a decent rate with installation of the 18 tracks from the roundhouse stalls to the turntable. The twin turntable leads beside the shop and roundhouse have reached the turntable, and a third track is being constructed there. The application of ballast is under way, and, weather permitting, the aligning and surfacing of all tracks will continue.

Work progresses on the 50,000-gallon wood water tank, with its construction being about ¾-completed to date. In spite of the sub-freezing temperatures, our intention is to have the water tank completed by the end of 2010. This job is very weather sensitive, and delays have occurred due to wintery conditions.
Installation of pipes to supply the tank’s water delivery spout and its two lineside water columns, as well as the tank’s feed, overflow and fire protection lines, will continue when the tank has been completed. Then the tank will be filled with water so that its wood staves can swell and form a watertight structure without any need for caulking.

Installing the last of the 150 staves comrpising the wooden water tank
Installing the last of the 150 staves comrpising the wooden water tank.

Our passenger equipment is still receiving interior painting and upgrades to some fixtures and mechanical components. A few of the cars have been connected with standby power, thus aiding in providing heat to allow a comfortable working environment for our employees.

The diesel fleet has been winterized with the exception of one engine that will be available in the event that rail equipment needs to be moved during construction of the roundhouse and shop facility. As phases of track work are completed, yard moves of equipment will be needed to keep the remaining track work on schedule.

In closing, all of us at the Age of Steam Roundhouse wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year during 2011 for all of you and your families. May we also remember our Veterans, past, present and future, for what they have done to allow us to enjoy the freedoms and prosperity that we have today.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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.