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.
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.
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.
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.
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.