Roundhouse News

Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 #3960
Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 #3960

After nearly a decade of discussions with the City of Canton, Ohio, the Age of Steam Roundhouse is happy to announce that it has purchased and received its latest locomotive, former Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 No. 3960. Displayed in Canton for 33 years but moved away during 1991, the 0-6-0’s stripped carcass and tender had been sitting outdoors in Minerva since 2006 while ownership issues and plans for the engine’s future were debated. To remain within the letter of the law and be fair to everyone, the City of Canton had to offer No. 3960 for sale to the highest bidder that offered also the best future for the forlorn 0-6-0. The Age of Steam Roundhouse won the bid, and No. 3960’s boiler was separated from its frame, and along with its tender, were loaded onto four flatbed truck trailers and moved to the AoSRH facilities in Sugarcreek on October 9, 2018, for unloading the next day.

The history of No. 3960 was uneventful, but an interesting one. To save about $7,000 per locomotive from the cost of commercially constructed locos, from 1928 to 1930 in its well-equipped back shop in Brewster, Ohio, W&LE built twenty 0-8-0 switchers of proven USRA design. They were so successful that between 1929 and 1940 Brewster built 30 copies of the USRA’s 0-6-0 switcher. All fifty locomotives rolled on 51-inch driving wheels, had Nicholson thermic syphons in their fireboxes and Chambers front-end throttles in the smokeboxes. As was W&LE practice, road number series reflected 10-per cent of an engine’s tractive effort, the 3951-3980-series for the B-5 class 0-6-0s, and the 5106-5125-series for the larger C-1a class 0-8-0s. It was very unusual for a small, 481-mile long railroad to construct any steam locomotives, but W&LE Brewster Shop built 50 of them!

After 7,230 manhours and at a cost of $28,686.56, on June 8, 1935, 0-6-0 No. 3960 was completed in Brewster Shop. Nearby Canton was home to the Timken Roller Bearing Co., and locomotives and freight cars of on-line W&LE were used to test the then-new idea of applying roller bearings to railroad equipment. Completed on September 25, 1935, W&LE 0-6-0 No. 3965 was the world’s first steam switcher built with roller bearings on all axles, including tenders (12.5 tons of coal and 8,150-gallons of water), as were all subsequent Brewster 0-6-0s.

All fifty Brewster-built switchers became property of the Nickel Plate Road with the December 1, 1949, leasing of W&LE by NKP. The homemade 0-6-0s were renumbered 351 to 380, with former W&LE No. 3960 becoming NKP No. 360. During its last year of active duty 0-6-0 No. 360 was used down in Zanesville and made its last run under steam on October 31, 1957, when it chugged past a corn field that—53 years later—would become the site of the Age of Steam Roundhouse, No. 360’s future home. In 1957 NKP heavy USRA 2-8-2 No. 678 (ex-W&LE No. 6008) was chosen for display in Canton’s Mother Goose Land Park, but was later deemed too heavy (i.e. too expensive) to make the short, four-block trip by truck from the nearest rail siding. So, the smaller No. 360 was pulled from the dead line, cosmetically restored in Brewster Shop and placed into the park on June 19, 1958.

By 1971 weather had taken its toll on the 0-6-0, so a local W&LE fan cut off the boiler jacket with a hammer and chisel, and removed the water-logged asbestos insulation surrounding the rusting boiler and cylinders. Repainted in a thick coat of black enamel, NKP 360 was relettered on June 12, 1973, to its original identity as W&LE 3960. Continued neglect by the city led to No. 3960 being acquired by Silver Throttle Engine And Museum (STEAM) that had high hopes of rebuilding the 0-6-0 to steam again, and on July 19, 1991, the 0-6-0 was removed from the closed Mother Goose Land. No. 3960 went to south Canton, then to Louisville before it ended up inside a Quonset hut 16 miles from Canton in Minerva where hopes were high, but funds were low. Seeing no possibility for it to be even cosmetically restored, in 2004 STEAM traded the disassembled No. 3960 (in return for a diesel and three coaches) to Jerry Jacobson, lifelong lover of steam locomotives and owner of the Ohio Central Railroad System.

In 2006 STEAM was dispersed, and No. 3960 was evicted to an adjoining Ohi-Rail track. Never owning No. 3960, STEAM had no legal right to trade it to Jerry Jacobson, and the City of Canton rightfully reclaimed possession of its wayward 0-6-0. Thus began the decade-long discussions about No. 3960’s future, including Canton’s dream for the loco’s next owner to rebuild it and operate excursion passenger trains in the city once or twice a year.

The forlorn No. 3960 will undergo a massive cosmetic restoration by Age of Steam Roundhouse to replace dozens of rusted, lost, and stolen parts, but this seemingly endless, sad saga will now have a happy ending in Sugarcreek.

Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 #3960
Morehead and North Fork 0-6-0 locomotive #12

Age of Steam Roundhouse is proud to announce the first test run of ex-Morehead and North Fork 0-6-0 locomotive #12. The engine made its first moves under steam on July 16, 2018. After slowly building steam pressure in #12’s boiler, crew members shuffled the stout little switch engine back and forth around the roundhouse yard. Prior to this test run, the locomotive had not moved under its own power since the early 1960’s.

Locomotive #12 is Age of Steam’s first complete, FRA compliant steam locomotive restoration. A partial list of repairs that have been made to #12 includes:

  • Multiple patches and replacement rivets in firebox / mudring
  • Renewed rear tube sheet knuckle
  • Renewed all 196 flexible staybolts, sleeves and caps
  • Welded in 4 new Huron-type firebox washout plugs
  • Replaced arch tubes and installed new arch brick
  • Replaced all 292 boiler tubes
  • Straightened and repaired both tube sheets
  • Designed, machined and installed new steam dome lid
  • Replaced steam dome studs
  • Replaced approximately 50% of smokebox
  • Installed newly-cast smoke stack
  • Installed newly-cast blastpipe
  • Completed all FRA Form 4 calculations
  • Inspected and cleaned driver journals
  • Rebuilt grease cellars
  • Inspected and repaired Stephenson Valve gear and slide valves
  • Repaired and chrome-plated slide valves
  • Replaced valve and piston packing
  • Inspected, cleaned and repaired side rods and crank pins
  • Inspected, cleaned and repaired all appliances, valves, water glasses, tri-cocks, and throttle
  • Built all-new welded tender tank (complete with faux rivet heads) and installed on existing tender frame

#12 is a 1905 product of the American Locomotive Company’s Pittsburgh Works. Built as #1643 for the Southern Railway, the engine later gained considerable fame on Kentucky’s Morehead and North Fork Railroad. There, it continued in freight service long after the M&NF’s larger contemporaries had retired their steam locomotives. The Age of Steam Roundhouse acquired the engine in 2011.

Locomotive #12 performed well during this initial test run, but some additional adjustments will be necessary. Further testing and fine-tuning will continue over the coming weeks and months.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Age of Steam Roundhouse.

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

The Age of Steam Roundhouse of Sugarcreek, Ohio, is happy to announce the acquisition of its 20th steam locomotive, former Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company 0-4-0F No. 2. The locomotive had been owned by Travel Centers of America, and displayed at a closed-down restaurant on TCA property in Sharon, Pennsylvania. New plans for the property did not include the old locomotive, so AoSRH offered to purchase the engine and preserve it indoors at AoSRH’s beautiful locomotive display and restoration facility in Sugarcreek.

The locomotive was tightly squeezed between a city street and an old railroad station—and, with electric power lines hanging overhead—made removal difficult. However, because the site was to be cleared, the locomotive’s removal was postponed until there were no obstructions. A highway truck was backed-up to the engine, and the 54-ton 0-4-0F was winched aboard the lowboy trailer for its trip to the Age of Steam Roundhouse. Days before loading No. 2, members of the AoSRH staff removed the locomotive’s side rods and made other preparations. After a 112-mile trip from its display site in Sharon, 0-4-0F No. 2 reached AoSRH’s facilities in Sugarcreek on January 23, 2018.

“We’ve been looking for a fireless cooker steam locomotive to add to our collection,” said Tim Sposato, chief mechanical officer at the Age of Steam Roundhouse. “We were fortunate to locate and obtain one that was in our own backyard. That saved us a lot of money in loading and transportation costs.” The AoSRH’s newest locomotive was loaded and transported by Zemba Brothers Construction of Zanesville.

Constructed by Heisler Locomotive Works in 1940, this little locomotive is a “fireless cooker” type of switcher that 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 that were supplied from a separate source. At normal atmospheric pressure, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but does not boil and will not make steam when under pressure. 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 steam pressure rises, the superheated water stops boiling and the entire process is repeated over-and-over. 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 cooker could be operated for about eight hours on a single charge of superheated water.

Before being shipped to Youngstown, former C&OSE 0-4-0F No. 2 was weighed at C&O’s Parsons Yard in Columbus, and an actual weight of 108,100 pounds was recorded on its freight waybill. This loco’s boiler had 250 psi in its boiler, which was reduced to 75 psi for use in its 21”x20” cylinders to turn small 36-inch driving wheels. As such, No. 2 developed just 14,700 pounds of tractive effort. Though not very powerful, this fireless locomotive had to move only a few loaded or empty coal hopper cars at any given time—why pay for more tractive effort than would ever be needed?

Used at C&OSE electric generating plant in Groveport, Ohio, 0-4-0F Nos. 1 and 2 were retired and donated to the Penn-Ohio Railfan’s Association. Both locomotives had their main and side rods removed, and were moved on their own wheels in freight trains during the August 27-31, 1965, trip across Chesapeake & Ohio and Erie-Lackawanna tracks to Youngstown. However, the removal of the locos’ rods caused imbalance in their 36-inch driving wheels, and while en route No. 2 developed bearing trouble and had to be loaded onto a flatcar for the remainder of the journey. 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, Pa., and moved to its diner display site on June 13, 1974. Former C&SOE No. 1 is owned by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association, and, along with historic steel mill railroad cars, is displayed in Youngstown. Additionally, a third C&OSE 0-4-0F fireless cooker—No. 3, built by Vulcan—is on exhibit today at the Dennison Depot Railroad Museum.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse will cosmetically restore its newly acquired 0-4-0 fireless cooker back to its original appearance as Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company No. 2.

Locomotive No. 19 sits outside the Age of Steam Roundhouse backshop. Cranes will arrive to remove No.19 from the flatcar early next week.
Locomotive No. 19 sits outside the Age of Steam Roundhouse backshop. Cranes will arrive to remove No.19 from the flatcar early next week.
No. 19 in-transit at Morgan Run, Ohio. The engine was moved in-train from the Norfolk Southern interchange in Columbus to Morgan Run on Genesee & Wyoming’s Columbus and Ohio River Railroad.
No. 19 in-transit at a State Route 93 crossing between Morgan Run and Fresno. A special train was run from Morgan Run north to Sugarcreek to deliver the locomotive.
No. 19 in-transit at a State Route 93 crossing between Morgan Run and Fresno. A special train was run from Morgan Run north to Sugarcreek to deliver the locomotive.
No. 19 in-transit north of Baltic, Ohio along State Route 93.
No. 19 in-transit north of Baltic, Ohio along State Route 93.

June 2, 2017 – The Age of Steam Roundhouse is pleased to announce the safe arrival today of former Yreka Western 2-8-2 No. 19. This logging locomotive was moved via a flatcar from California to Sugarcreek, Ohio, arriving in Sugarcreek on June 2, 2017. No. 19 is the 19th steamer acquired for the AoSRH collection, joining 28 diesels, two-dozen passenger cars and other artifacts.

Jerry Joe Jacobson, financier, builder and owner of the Age of Steam Roundhouse project, purchased No. 19 during an October 6, 2016, court-ordered sheriff’s sale in the town of Yreka, California. The auction was held to satisfy liens placed by creditors on the 102-year old steamer. Jacobson’s winning bid of $400,000 was placed by Dennis Daugherty, longtime friend and professional associate, who also arranged for No. 19’s disassembly, loading and transportation to Ohio. After replacing some missing rails on the Yreka Western line and repairing its diesel, the 2-8-2 and tender were moved on their own wheels 10.2 miles from Yreka to the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad interchange at Montague. There, the 2-8-2 was pushed to the end of the YW track, and about 100-feet of rails were removed from behind No. 19 to construct a loading ramp. On March 13, Mikado No. 19 and its tender were shoved up onto the Kasgro Rail Corporation heavy-duty flatcar, securely attached, and on April 3, 2017, began their cross-country journey to Sugarcreek.

A 1915 product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, this superheated 2-8-2 was constructed as No. 4 for the Caddo & Choctaw logging railroad in Arkansas, a subsidiary of the Caddo River Lumber Company. It was the 42,000th locomotive built by Baldwin, and was rolled out of the shop on April 9th wearing a coat of olive green paint on its wheels, tender, domes, pilot and cab (with mineral red-painted roof). This handsome 90-ton 2-8-2 had a planished iron boiler jacket, black smoke box and firebox, and was decorated with gold lettering and striping. Its cab sides carried the name R.L. Rowan for Rufus Lee Rowan, an engineer on the Caddo & Choctaw (who, remarkably, had another steam locomotive named for him, C&C 70-ton No. 10, which was constructed by Baldwin during July 1922).

Upon arrival at the Age of Steam Roundhouse, No. 19 and her flatcar were turned on the turntable in preparation for unloading early the following week.
Upon arrival at the Age of Steam Roundhouse, No. 19 and her flatcar were turned on the turntable in preparation for unloading early the following week.
Completion of turning the locomotive and flatcar. Note the phrase “A #1 to Ohio” scrawled on the cab window’s plywood insert, a reference to No. 19’s starring role in the 1972 film Emperor of the North.
Completion of turning the locomotive and flatcar. Note the phrase “A #1 to Ohio” scrawled on the cab window’s plywood insert, a reference to No. 19’s starring role in the 1972 film Emperor of the North.

The C&C No. 4 was subsequently sold during 1920 to the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company, where it worked out of Pachuca, Mexico, a silver mining region northeast of Mexico City. The R.L. Rowan was repainted black and re-lettered for the Cia de Real del Monte y Pachuca as its No. 105. Around the time that the engine was sent to Mexico, it was apparently converted to burn oil instead of coal, this conversion happening perhaps prior to leaving Arkansas. After a four-year career in Mexico, No. 105 was sold in 1924 to the McCloud River RR in northern California, which renumbered the 2-8-2 as its No. 19. This 2-8-2 worked in regular service at McCloud until purchased by the Yreka Western three decades later. While owned by YW, No. 19 was leased to the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern for summertime excursion service. During No. 19’s hiatus in Oregon, the 2-8-2 appeared in the 1972 feature film, The Emperor of the North, and in the 1986 movie, Stand By Me.

Returned during 1988 to the Yreka Western, No. 19 was overhauled and used in intermittent excursion service on YW until freight operations and summertime passenger excursions dwindled, and ceased altogether during 2008. As a valuable financial asset, the 2-8-2 was caught-up in a series of lawsuits, and stored at Yreka until the 2016 sheriff’s sale. That legal action permitted No. 19’s title to be cleared, creditors paid and a new owner (Jerry Jacobson) secured. Interestingly, among Jacobson’s other locomotives safely stabled indoors at his Age of Steam Roundhouse is another former McCloud River Railroad old-timer, 2-6-2 No. 9 built by Baldwin during 1901.

A more detailed history and additional photos of 2-8-2 No. 19 will be posted onto the Age of Steam Roundhouse website at a later date.

Constructed in 2010, The Age of Steam Roundhouse is a privately owned railroad facility and restoration shop designed to house and care for the historic railroad equipment collection of former Ohio Central Railroad owner Jerry J. Jacobson.

More information about the Roundhouse and the collection is available at: ageofsteamroundhouse.com.

Yreka Western Locomotive No. 19
Age of Steam Roundhouse Photo – Dennis Daugherty

October 6, 2016 – The Age of Steam Roundhouse is pleased to announce the purchase of Yreka Western Railroad steam locomotive No. 19.

No. 19, a 2-8-2 Mikado type locomotive, was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1915. After passing through a number of different owners – including the McCloud River Railroad and the Oregon, Pacific and Eastern – No. 19 last operated on the Yreka Western in 2008 before entering storage in Yreka, California. The engine gained considerable notoriety by co-starring with Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine in the 1973 film Emperor of the North.

Crew members will begin work immediately to prepare No. 19 for shipment from California to the Age of Steam Roundhouse facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio. AoSRH intends to move No. 19’s tender and other components to Sugarcreek on a low-boy truck, while the engine itself will arrive in Ohio via railroad flatcar.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Age of Steam Roundhouse, and look out for No. 19 as she treks across the country to her new home.

Constructed in 2010, The Age of Steam Roundhouse is a privately owned railroad facility and restoration shop designed to house and care for the historic railroad equipment collection of former Ohio Central Railroad owner Jerry J. Jacobson.

More information about the Roundhouse and the collection is available at: www.ageofsteamroundhouse.com