Once again another year has completed its journey, and, reflecting back over the past 11 months, the accomplishments at the Age of Steam Roundhouse facilities have been outstanding. In the back shop we have seen completion of the smaller contractor details, mainly extra jobs that we determined to be
completed once we laid-out the work areas and placed the heavy machinery.
The installation of numerous safety devices to detect fires and equipment failures, and security cameras to spot and record unwanted intruders, are good investments at the roundhouse and shop in today’s worrisome world.
Another big accomplishment was completion of the new freight house/storage building adjacent to our back shop. It was loosely based on PRR and C&O designs that were tailored to our needs, yet it retained the traditional railroad look, including a full length unloading dock with an adjacent rail siding. The tedious tasks of moving, unpacking and inventorying many of our spare parts have just begun. We know that this will be an on-going wintertime project, along with the initiation of mechanical repairs and restoration of our steam and diesel locomotives that also are on our “to do” list.
We have just about completed a massive clean-up of our exterior grounds. As one can imagine, the leftover building materials and debris generated by the construction of our new facilities had left our property in an advanced state of disarray. We have gone through and salvaged as much of that as possible, as well as all leftover track materials such as rails, wood ties, plates, spikes, joint bars and so forth that needed to be centralized, sorted and stacked. The area is looking very good and the clean-up will be completed before the Holidays, just in time to avoid our employees having to work in the freezing weather.
Our biggest steam locomotive job during 2012 was completed in August with the Federal Railroad Administration-mandated, 5-year inspection of the flexible staybolt caps and sleeves in our ex-Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1293. At the same time we also did its Annual Inspection, and repainted the locomotive and
tender in a gloss black finish. In order for our AoS rolling stock to have an assigned company name and official reporting marks for their movement across other railroads, #1293’s tender was relettered with the name of our new railroad subsidiary company, the Central Ohio Railroad. This winter will see some
preventive maintenance performed on #1293, including to some of its appliances.
Operationally, with #1293 we made a few short test runs on the Ohio Central Railroad (Genesee & Wyoming) prior to our September 2012 trip up to Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway. The CVSR excursions were very popular, and we operated steam during three weekends. We are thankful for having fine railroad
neighbors in the Ohio Central and Wheeling & Lake Erie who worked with us in allowing our steam train movements over their systems in order to reach the CVSR and return home safely.
Earlier this year AoS made a good decision with the purchase of auxiliary water tender #1522-A from the Museum of Transport in St. Louis. Originally this was an Illinois Central locomotive tender that was converted by the IC into company sand-hauling service for a diesel facility. The work done by the #1522 group was of exceptional quality in turning this old tender into a water-carrying “canteen car.” Along with the normal, required COTS (Clean, Oil, Test, Stencil) car inspection, we had to only clean out the interior and update its brake system,. Our new auxiliary tender accompanied #1293 on the round trip to CVSR and
This past summer our AoS tool car Conneaut received a thorough cleaning and reorganization of its interior, as well as a shiny new coat of paint. The beautiful Conneaut departed our shop sporting the “Central Ohio Railroad” name on its sides, and received many compliments during its trip north. Winter work will include a close inspection of Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 #12 as to the possibility of its restoration back to service. Any such rebuilding will require a lot of time, including extensive boiler work and the installation of all new boiler tubes. Its tender will require an entire restoration, possibly including the complete replacement of the heavily rusted-out tender body.
Discussion continues about several of our other steam locomotives in order to formulate a timetable for either their repair to service or cosmetic restoration. Numerous scenarios are on the table at this point. Meanwhile, several diesels have received light repairs and have been operated around the roundhouse
property. The AoS diesels will not be neglected, our goal being to have them in operating condition as well to round-out the historic locomotive collection. In other words, we have a lot on the table and our goals are high, but that’s how we make things happen. We just roll up our sleeves and dig in!
We do appreciate the wonderful website comments that come in to us. They are an inspiration for us to read—especially Jerry Jacobson—giving each of us a great feeling of how far-reaching the Age of Steam Roundhouse project has spread. With today’s computer technology, we are able to tell the story of old-time
steam and reach out to the entire rail enthusiast world.
In closing we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, as well as the best to all for the coming New Year. During the Holidays please remember our Veterans, both past and present. We can never thank them enough for all they have done to defend our many freedoms.