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Age of Steam's Ferrequinologist Tour 8/20/2022

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I awoke at the Village Inn and following our morning Internet browsing, we checked out and went back to the Dutch Valley Restaurant for a very good breakfast, then drove to the Age of Steam Roundhouse for our three-hour tour.

Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum History

The roundhouse was built by Jerry Joe Jacobson, former CEO of the Ohio Central Railroad System (OCRS). In October 2008, Jacobson sold his interest in OCRS to Genesee & Wyoming, including the track, modern equipment and most of the workshops and depots. Jacobson kept a collection of vintage steam and diesel locomotives, other old equipment and a depot at Sugarcreek, Ohio. He bought 34 acres in Sugarcreek and began constructing a roundhouse to house his collection. The roundhouse building was completed in 2011 and all of the steam locomotives, along with a few other select pieces of rolling stock in Jacobson's collection, were moved inside the roundhouse that same year. It was the "first large roundhouse built in the United States since 1951", with the previous building being Nickel Plate Road's roundhouse in its Calumet Yard.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum has three roles: maintaining its roster of 23 steamers, teaching future generations these fast-disappearing job skills, and bringing America's railroad history alive.

The project was paid for by Jacobson and his wife, Laura. They set up an endowment to support the museum. Architect F. A. Goodman says the building is 48,000 square feet and of "solid masonry walls" and "heavy timber framing". It has 18 stalls, each of which is large enough for a locomotive and its tender. The Goodman Company says the roundhouse is one of the largest heavy timber structures in America.

The goals are to a) engage, educate and inspire the public and community using the wide scope of diversity of its holdings reflecting the art, history and science of the era of steam railroading, b) build, preserve and promote the nation's foremost collection of objects representing the art, science and history of the era of steam railroading, c) display the best collection in an immersive and experential permanent exhibition and arrange temporary exhibitions illustrating aspects of the art, science and history of the era of steam railroading; and d) present exhibitions of steam-powered science and technology that educate and involve visitors of all ages in discovering the historic innovations of the era of steam railroading and provide visitors with a unique opportunity to view and experience these innovations.

The Ferroequinologist Tour

An extended three-hour long guided tour of the Age of Steam Roundhouse including our collection of Steam Locomotives, Restoration Shop, Turntable, Machine Shop and Store House. This tour is an in-depth look at the technical aspects concerning steam engineering, locomotive mechanics, industrial heritage, railroad history and roundhouse architecture.

The Ferroequinologist Tour is a more in-depth version of our regular guided tour designed for the knowledgeable railroad enthusiast.

Our Visit

We checked in with a nice lady in the gift shop before we both used the restroom as we were advised that there were none available during the tour. Glenn, a volunteer who comes from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area each week, introduced himself and showed the Age of Steam safety video which reinforced that this was a working, industrial roundhouse and safety was paramount. Glenn was the tour lead and another volunteer, Dave, brought up the rear. We went outside and headed to the Storage Building and started our tour.

Cross-compound air compressors.

Turbo generators.

Glenn held up a headlight switch.

The Jacobson family owns this 14 gauge locomotive, 1029, which used to be in a park in Tuscarawas.

A Montour Railroad speeder and neatly organized shelving of parts.

Everything here is labelled, in boxes and indexed.

Jacketing sheet metals and boxes of soda block grease.

Glenn opened one of the soda block grease boxes and unwrapped part of one, passing it around so we could all see, and smell, it. It had a surprisingly nice aroma and did not smell grease-like at all.

A Montour Railroad speeder project that is in progress.

Glenn shows us all a stoker motor.

Water glasses and cylinder cocks blowdowns.

Journal seals and a newly-made window, as a spare for the windows in this building..

Cylinder cocks blowdowns and journal seals.

Glenn showing everyone a fire brick, the first time Elizabeth had seen one.

Lubricators and injectors.

Staybolts ridged and ridgid staybolts.

Passenger car supplies.

Rubber materials of locomotive seats.

Locomotive seats and other parts of engines.

Pittsburgh and Lake Erie dispatching boards from one of the towers.

Enough materials to build a steam engine.

One of Jerry Jacobson's automobiles is a 1938 Oldsmobile Sedan, which is in operating condition.

Electrical wiring and facility supplies.

All the parts that could be removed from Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4 643 are here, which came from McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. They are waiting to acquire the locomotive, cab and boiler which are too large to be moved by rail, as they are too large by road.

Outside were more parts of Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4 643 built by Baldwin in 1943. It was designed and built to move iron ore, coal and other high-density commodities to and from the Great Lakes region. 643 saw an early retirement in 1952 due to the increased introduction of diesels to the Bessemer & Lake Erie's locomotive roster. Jerry Jacobson, nicnamed it "The King", as it is believed to be one of the largest non-articulated steam locomotives in the world. It was once owned by Glenn Campbell (no relation to the singer) and previously stored at the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Yard in McKees Rocks, PA. It was acquired by the Age of Steam Roundhouse on August 5, 2019.

Ohio Central combine "Conneaut" built by American Car and Foundry in 1925 as Wabash Railroad combine 609. Some years later, the passenger space was converted to a Railway Post Office and its number chagned to 450. Mail was picked up by this car and transferred between railway stations. During the trip, postal clerks sorted mail to ensure it went to the proper destination. The car continued in this service, transferring to the Norfolk and Western Railway after the Wabash was merged into it in 1964.

In the 1960's after its mail-carrying career was over, the car was acquired by the High Iron Company (HICO) and converted for use as a crew car. High Iron pioneered the operation of steam locomotives on excursion trains, and modified one end of the car with racks and a workbench to carry the numerous spare parts, tools, and other equipment needed to perform repairs away from the home shop. In the central section, showers, lockers, a washer and a small vanity was installed to give crew members some of the comforts of home. Finally, a small galley, washroom and sitting area were included to give the steam crew a spot to relax between runs. As HICO had rebuilt Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 locomotive 759 in Conneaut, Ohio, the car was named after that location.

Jerry Jacobson purchased the "Conneaut" in the late 1990's, continuing to use it for support of his steam locomotives. Many Ohio Central steam excursions included the "Conneaut", with steam crew members enjoying the view provided through the open baggage doors when they were not taking their turn operating the locomotive. The car was transferred into the Age of Steam fleet with Jerry’s collection of steam locomotives.

Pullman 12-1 sleeper "Auckland" (White Castle) built by Pullman in 1920, rebuilt to 12-2 "White Castle", as Ohio Central 5011. When built, this car included a drawing room, men's and women's washrooms and twelve open sections, each section comprising an upper and lower sleeping berth. During the day, porters would convert the lower berth to passenger seating while the upper berth was tilted up and into the wall to provide more space. After an extensive renovation in 1936 which removed the drawing room and added two double bedrooms, the car was renamed "White Castle" and assigned to first-class sleeping car service on the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.

Pullman eventually came under increased scrutiny by the United States Government for monopolizing the sleeping car industry, and in 1944 was forced to divest its operations arm. As a result, the Pullman cars -- including "White Castle" -- were sold off to the railroads on which they operated. This car continued in sleeper service with the P&LE until 1958, when it was transferred to wrecking train duty. Again the car was heavily modified, with six of the sleeping sections, both double bedrooms and one of the washrooms removed. In this empty space, a large kitchen dining area was installed to feed the wreck train crew. With six open sections remaining the car could still sleep twelve crew members.

When the declining P&LE sold off large amounts of equipment in the early 1990's, Jerry Jacobson bought the entire McKee's Rocks wreck train for his Ohio Central railroad. Spotted outside the Morgan Run Locomotive Shop, the "White Castle" provided accommodations for volunteers working to rebuild and operate Jerry's growing fleet of steam locomotives. After being transferred to the Age of Steam Roundhouse, the car was repurposed yet again as the field office at the Roundhouse construction site.

Over the Winter of 2018-2019, "White Castle" was cleaned up and repainted in a proper coat of Pullman green. New windows were installed, including recreations of the etched "P&LE" glass windows at the ends of the car.

Outside braced box cars.

Some of Jerry's collction of diesels.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy coach 7158 built by the railroad in 1930 and later became Ohio Central 705.

Yard scene.

Water tower has a capicity of 50,000 gallons and plugs and was erected in one morning by Amish workers.

The sanding tower.

The coaling tower.

Montour SW9 82 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951. It was most recently Flats Industrial Railroad 82; ex. Ford Motor Company; nee Montour Railroad 82. Next we headed into the Back Shop.

McCloud River Railroad 2-8-2 19 built by Baldwin in 1915 as Caddo & Choctaw 4, a logging railroad in Arkansas. 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. This handsome 90-ton Mikado also 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.

The C&C sold the steam engine to the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company, where it operated in 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, with this conversion possibly even happening prior to leaving Arkansas.

After a four-year career in Mexico, it was sold again to the McCloud River Railroad in northern California, which renumbered it to 19. The engine worked in regular service at McCloud until purchased by the Yreka Western three decades later. While owned by YW, No.19 was leased for summertime excursion service in Oregon. During a hiatus in Oregon, it famously appeared in the 1972 feature film "The Emperor of the North" and the 1986 movie "Stand By Me". After returning to Yreka in 1988, the locomotive was again overhauled and ran in intermittent excursion service on YW until operations dwindled and ceased altogether in 2008. As a valuable financial asset, the 2-8-2 was caught-up in a series of lawsuits, and stored at Yreka until a 2016 sheriff's sale. That legal action permitted 19's title to be cleared, creditors paid and a sale to Jerry Jacobson. The 19 was shipped across the country via railroad flatcar and arrived at AoSR in 2017. Crews are currently replacing portions of the engine's firebox in preparation for a return to operation.

The tender of McCloud River Railroad 2-8-2 19 is really that from McCloud 18.

Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 3960 built by the railway's Brewster shops in 1935. 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!

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 360. During its last year of active duty, No. 360 was assigned 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. In 1957, ex-W&LE 2-8-2 No. 6008 was chosen for display in Canton's Mother Goose Land Park, but was later deemed too heavy and 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 engine, 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 No. 360 was relettered to its original identity as W&LE No. 3960. The engine continued to sit outside and slowly deteriorate in Canton, eventually being acquired by the Silver Throttle Engine Association and Museum (STEAM), a group which had formed to restore it. In 1991, the engine was removed from the park, and after stops in south Canton and Louisville ended up in Minerva, Ohio. In the mid-2000's, with STEAM low on funds, Jerry Jacobson attempted to acquire the engine, even sending a diesel locomotive and three coaches to Minerva to trade for the 3960. However, STEAM soon disbanded, and it was determined that Canton still had legal claim to the engine, setting off a decade-long discussion over number 3960's future.

After years of communications, the city finally placed No. 3960 up for auction, and Age of Steam Roundhouse was the high bidder. The wayward switcher is badly deteriorated and in need of significant work, but it is finally home in Sugarcreek and will eventually receive a full cosmetic restoration.

Steam Shop equipment.

Chesapeake and Ohio box car 13049 built by American Car and Foundry in 1957 has been painted, but not yet lettered as of August 20th. This box car would be part of the Steam into Victory event taking place September 10th and 11th.

The wheel sets for McCloud River Railroad 2-8-2 19.

The back shop overhead crane.

The Monarch wheel lathe from the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range.

A part of the wheel lathe.

Looking into the roundhouse.

Reading 0-4-0 Camelback 1187 built by Baldwin in 1903. After a long career switching cars in yards for its owner (and its successor, the re-organized Reading Company), the engine was sold into industrial use with the E&G Brooke Iron Company in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania and re-numbered 4. The Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania acquired the engine in 1962, and it was run to Strasburg under its own power. The little Camelback proved too light for most of Strasburg's trains, and it last ran in 1967. After being displayed in the Strasburg yard as well as at the neighboring Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the engine was eventually deemed surplus. Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum purchased 1187, and the engine arrived at the Roundhouse on August 3rd, 2020.

Moorehead and North Fork 0-6-0 12 built by American Locomotive Company in 1912 as Southern Railway 1643. The M&NF did not retire its steam locomotives until 1963, so railfans came from across the country to photograph this obscure steam holdout. Among the visitors was a young Jerry Jacobson, then a paratrooper in the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division. In 1962 while stationed at Fort Bragg, Jerry would take advantage of the occasional weekend pass and endure a 450-mile Greyhound bus trip to witness M&NF steam in service. Number 12 made quite an impression on the young soldier, foreshadowing the third act of the little engine's career. After the M&NF was abandoned, 12 was shoved into the M&NF's ramshackle shed in Clearfield and largely forgotten. Jerry Jacobson never forgot about this steam engine, however, and sought to acquire it for years. In late 2011 the locomotive owner's widow and son agreed to a sale, and plans were made to haul the isolated 0-6-0 to Ohio by truck. What seemed like a straightforward process turned into a three-month ordeal of permit challenges and truck breakdowns, but it was finally hauled to Sugarcreek and arrived at the Age of Steam Roundhouse on February 7th, 2012.

The author at the control of Moorehead and North Fork 12. Everyone was offered the opportunity to climb into the cab, four at a time, with Dave showing the main controls to all.

The controls of this steam engine.

Southern Wood Preserving Company 0-4-0T 3 built by American Locomotive Company and Cooke Locomotive Works in 1926. After retirement, it was bought by Paul Merriman, a Chattanooga electronics engineer who was one of the founders of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. By 1963, Paul's collection also included the more famous ex-Southern Railway 2-8-2 4501, renowned for its later role in the Southern Railways steam program. Needing a home for both engines, Paul was happy to display them at TVRM. Number 3 was eventually deemed surplus for TVRM, and in 1994 the engine was sold to Jerry Jacobson.

New York and Pennsylvania Paper Company 25 ton switcher 2 built by General Electric in 1951 for use on the 36" gauge railroad inside its plant in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania. Later purchased by John Uher and modified to standard gauge, the engine ran on John's private Coshocton, Otsego and Eastern Railroad. While only 175 horsepower, number 2 is frequently used to move much larger engines around the AoSR site.

Turntable ride

A feature of the Ferroequinologist Tour is riding one revolution around the 115 foot turntable.

Our ride around the turntable was very enjoyable and a lot of fun.

McCloud River 2-6-2 9 looks out of the roundhouse.

Alabama, Tennessee & Northern 2-10-0 No. 401 in the roundhouse.

Coshocton, Otsego & Eastern bobber caboose 0100 peaks out of the roundhouse.

Jerry's diesel collection could be seen on this ride.

Glenn demonstrated locking the turntable in place while Dave operated the controls. We continued our roundhouse tour.

Canadian National coach 5443 built by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1954 then as Ohio Central 5443.

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 763 built by Lima in 1944. Most of NKP Berks were kept until official retirement in August 1960 when they began being towed to scrap yards. Six were preserved, with 763 eventually being put on display in Roanoke, Virginia by NKP's new corporate parent, the Norfolk and Western Railway. Ten years later, 763 was moved to New Jersey for inspection and possible overhaul as power for the American Freedom Train, which at that time was proposed to be pulled by double-headed NKP Berks 763 and 755. However, that plan did not work out, so the engine headed back to Roanoke. The park exhibits were later transferred across town to the covered display tracks of the new Virginia Museum of Transportation, which displayed the 2-8-4 alongside N&W's own steam locomotives Jerry Jacobson purchased 763 in 2007, and the locomotive made the trip from Roanoke home to Ohio on its own wheels in a special Norfolk Southern train.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 6325 built by American Locmotive Company in 1942. It hauled both wartime freight and passenger trains between Detroit and Chicago. The smallish Northern Types were well-suited for the GTW’s needs; they were powerful and quick and handled such trains as the Maple Leaf and the International Limited.

In September 1948 this locomotive was chosen to pull President Truman's re-election campaign special. This assignment would lead to No. 6325's eventual preservation; in 1959 it was put on outdoor display next to GTW's depot in Battle Creek, Michigan.

While No.6325 was set aside for display, some of its sister engines famously continued racking up miles until March 1960 when GTW officially dieselized its freight and passenger trains.

In Battle Creek, a group of local railroad enthusiasts started a project to rebuild No.6325 for operation, but enthusiasm and funds waned and by 1992 the 4-8-4 faced possible scrapping. The following year Jerry Jacobson purchased the loco and moved it to Coshocton, Ohio, for safe storage until he had the time and place to begin its rebuilding. That time came six years later, when the Northern was pulled into the Ohio Central's Morgan Run shops for a complete rebuild. After nearly three years of reconstruction, No.6325 first steamed under its own power on July 31, 2001. This 4-8-4 pulled numerous fantrips and photographers' specials on Ohio Central rails, but in 2005 it was sidelined with a hot driving axle bearing and has not operated since.

Carnegie Steel 0-4-0T saddletank 14 built by H.K. Porter Company in 1897 as for the steel plant in Cochran, Pennsylvania. It was later transferred to U.S. Steel in Duquesne as that mill's No. 727. It is believed that its small tender was constructed and added to the 0-4-0T during its duties in Duquesne. When retired from active duty, this privately-owned 0-4-0T was displayed at the Station Square complex in downtown Pittsburgh. After an expansion project pushed it out of Station Square, Fred W. Okie, a retired executive with the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, donated this locomotive to the Borough of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Nicknamed Tom Thumb, this tiny engine was enshrined outdoors in Riverfront Park along with its small locomotive tender and a 4-wheel bobber caboose.

Eventually the Borough grew concerned about the safety of children playing on and around the engine, and decide to find a new home for the little switcher. The Borough did not want this railroad rolling stock to be scrapped, and desired for it to be maintained for historical and cultural preservation. Potential buyers had to agree to purchase all of the railroad equipment, with a collateral promise that nothing would be used for scrap material. Several offers were received, and on November 15, 2013 the Age of Steam Roundhouse was announced as the winning bidder.

Only five days later, the 47,000-pound 0-4-0T was lifted from its display track and loaded onto a lowboy trailer, bound for Ohio.

Alabama, Tennessee and Northern 2-10-0 401 built by Baldwin in 1928 and acquired from the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in Wisconsin. The Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad was a 220-mile long short line railroad in Alabama. The AT&N retired all of its steam locomotives by 1946, being one of the first railroads of its size to do so. During that year, 401 was sold to the Georgia Car & Locomotive Company, a dealer in used railroad equipment. On May 13, 1948, the engine was sold to the Woodward Iron Company and re-numbered it 41. Woodward's facilities covered 80,000 acres that were served by a 50-mile in-plant railroad. Number 41 was put to work pulling trains of coal and limestone from outlying company mines and quarries to WIC's pig iron mills in Woodward, just outside Birmingham, Alabama. Woodward produced merchant pig iron, a material used for casting pipe, iron stoves, farm implements and machinery parts.

Number 41 was in operation at Woodward Iron Company until 1959 when the locomotive was retired from active duty. In 1964 Mid-Continent Railway Museum purchased it and shipped it to their museum in Wisconsin. Plans to rebuild and restore No. 41 never materialized, and the 2-10-0 sat outdoors slowly rusting. After determining that the engine was no longer needed, Mid-Continent put it up for auction in May 2015. Due to the railroad bridge connecting North Freedom to the outside rail network being out of service, moving No. 41 out of North Freedom was an expensive and challenging exercise. As a result there were just two bidders. Jerry Jacobson won the auction, and had No. 41 moved to Sugarcreek.

Glenn was our excellent tour guide and is demonstrating the safety and aesthetic features of the various steam engines and the folding knuckle couplers.

Museum view.

Buffalo Creek and Gauley 2-8-0 13 built by the Brooks Works of the American Locomotive Company as No. 6 built for Kelly's Creek & Northwestern Railroad, a remote lumber hauling line deep in the mountains of West Virginia. After an unremarkable KC&NW career, No. 6 was sold for scrap to Midwest Steel Corporation. Luckily, the nearby Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad needed additional power and still operated steam, so in 1954 it was purchased and renumbered No. 13. Thanks to this twist of fate, No. 13 embarked on a second career as most steam locomotives were being cut up for scrap. Number 13 and its fellow BC&G steamers pulled a million tons of coal for their owners on the 18.6 miles of track between Dundon and Widen, and each year legions of railfans ventured to West Virginia to see steam's last gasp. Finally retired by the BC&G in 1964, No. 13 went through multiple owners, operating infrequently on a few different tourist railroads. In 1993 it was purchased by Jerry Jacobson as back up for engine No.1551 on Ohio Central Railroad steam trains.

Museum view.

Velocipede and hand car.

Museum view.

Firebox door of Baltimore and Ohio 417.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1293 built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in 1948. In 1964, 1293 was purchased from the Canadian Pacific by F. Nelson Blount and moved to his Steamtown USA museum in Bellows Falls, Vermont. The 16-year-old 4-6-2 needed only minor repairs to get it under steam again, and soon 1293 (relettered Green Mountain RR) was pulling short tourist trains at Steamtown. It also was used to pull the Vermont Bicentennial Train during 1976, and, temporarily renumbered "1881" to appear in the 1979 horror movie "Terror Train". In 1984, the engine was moved to the new Steamtown site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but never operated at that location. Jerry Jacobson acquired this steam engine in 1996. I rode behind this engine twice at the 2006 National Railway Historical Society convention in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Canadian National 4-6-0 1551 built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1912 as Canadian Northern Railway No. 1354. In 1923, it became the property of the unified Canadian National Railway system after Canadian Northern and a number of other railroads were consolidated into the CN. Number 1354 and its sisters were lightweight locomotives designed to haul both passenger and freight trains, and No. 1354 spent years assigned to the Montreal commuter engine pool. In 1956 this 4-6-0 was renumbered 1551, and ran out its last miles on a branch line in Barrie, Ontario before being retired in 1958.

F. Nelson Blount acquired 1551 for his fledgling Steamtown U.S.A. Museum, and after his 1967 death the extensive collection of steamers was moved from Vermont to the museum's new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was acquired by Jerry Jacobson in 1986 and first steamed in 1988. At nearly the same time, Jerry closed on the purchase of a 70-mile long, former N&W line between Harmon and Zanesville, which he renamed the Ohio Central Railroad. Almost immediately, Jerry began operating steam tourist passenger trains on the seven-mile trek between Sugar Creek and Baltic. Hundreds of thousands of visitors rode behind 1551, and the engine set the stage for Jerry's steam collection to grow over the following years.

Canadian National 2-6-0 96 built by Canadian Locomotive Company in 1910 as Grand Trunk Railway 1024. These lightweight locomotives could be found at work all across Canada, but were used mostly on branch lines on the prairies with gentle grades and short trains. The engine went through a series of identity changes during its career, first being renumbered No. 926 by the GTR. In 1923, the GTR merged with the Canadian National Railway, becoming CN No. 96. After retirement, it was purchased F. Nelson Blount for his growing Steamtown tourist operation in Vermont. Number 96 was not operated, but instead used as a source of spare parts to keep Blount's other engines under steam. When Steamtown prepared to move to its new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the steam engine was deemed surplus to the collection and sold to Horst Muller of Canada. The locomotive languished in Brantford, Ontario for many years. In 1994 the 96 was purchased by Jerry Jacobson who moved it to his Ohio Central Railroad System.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1278 built by Canadian Locomotive Company in 1948 and is another of the original Steamtown engines. On the evening of June 16, 1995 while operating for the Gettysburg Railroad, a series of maintenance and operational errors combined to cause the crownsheet of 1278's firebox to overheat and fail. Suddenly, hot steam exploded into the cab and severly burned its three crewmen. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated, determining that the modern design of the firebox with button-head staybolts may have prevented additional injuries (and perhaps deaths) from the incident. The Gettysburg firebox explosion prompted the Federal Railroad Administration to develop and introduce new rules for the maintenance and operation of steam locomotives. Thus, steam locomotive operation is safer today as a result of 1278's bad experience. Much of the former Gettysburg Railroad equipment was sold at auction in 1998, and Jerry Jacobson purchased this engine.

McCloud River Railroad 2-6-2 9 built by Baldwin in 1901. Operating through the forests of northern California, it was designed to burn wood, which was in abundant supply. But wood-burning boilers had several drawbacks (not the least of which was their tendency to start trackside fires during the dry season), so No.9 was converted to burn oil in 1920. It was retired in 1934, rebuilt in 1937 and stored until purchased by Yreka Western Railroad in December 1939.

After five years of service on the YWRR, No. 9 was again sold, this time to the Amador Central Railroad. The former YW 2-6-2 was not relettered to reflect its new ACRR ownership, and also retained its road number. During the following year (1945) No.9 was sold to the Nez Perce & Idaho Railroad, and continued to wear its YW identification. It has not been determined just when NP&I No. 9 was retired, but this 2-6-2 sat derelict until 1964 when it was purchased by Richard Hinebaugh and moved to Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin. The museum rebuilt No.9 for operation the little steamer was put back to work on tourist trains.

During the summer of 1971 the new Kettle Moraine steam tourist railroad began operations on four miles of track in North Lake, Wisconsin. Initially, KM used other privately-owned steamers, but eventually No.9 (then nicknamed Sequoia) was moved to North Lake. The Kettle Moraine became an unfortunate victim of real estate development of former farm land. New residents complained about smoke, noise and visiting tourist traffic in town, and the steam train ride was no longer wanted in the upscale village. October 28, 2001 was the the KM's last day of operation. Number 9, by this point owned by KM's Steve Butler, was stored indoors at North Lake until it was sold to Jerry Jacobson in 2015. The well-traveled 2-6-2 arrived in Sugarcreek in 2015.

Builder's plate of McCloud River Railroad 2-6-2 9.

Lake Superior and Ishpeming 2-8-0 33 built by Baldwin in 1916 as Munising, Marquette & Southeastern Railway No. 44 and was specially designed for service on heavy iron ore trains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. These ore trains were operated from the Marquette Iron Range to docks on Lake Superior for shipment by lake boats to lower Great Lakes steel mills. Three identical locomotives were sold to the neighboring Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad, into which the MM&S was eventually merged in 1924. As part of the merger, the engine was relettered and renumbered as LS&I 33.

After being retired in 1962, 33 was purchased in 1968 by Jerry Ballard for use on Ohio's Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Rebuilt to operating condition by a flock of volunteers, this steam engine ran on the tourist railroad for many years before finally being parked in need of heavy repairs. In 2003 it was traded to Jerry Jacobson and moved to the Ohio Central Railroad shop for repairs.

Glenn walked by the front of Canadian National 2-6-0 96.

Baltimore and Ohio 0-6-0 1190 built by American Locomotive Compay in 1904 as Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway 152. The Baltimore & Ohio took control of the BR&P in 1932 and No.152 became B&O 390, and a few years later was re-numbered 1190. When retired from the B&O, it was sold to the Ohio River Sand & Gravel Company at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. When its fires were dropped for the final time, 1190 was donated to the city of New Martinsville for display.

During 1979 the 0-6-0 was moved to the Mad River and NKP Museum in Bellevue, Ohio, where it languished in pieces and its wood cab rotted away. In 2008, the museum sold the engine to Scott Symons of Dunkirk, New York. Mr. Symons hoped the engine could be repaired and operated, but those plans never materialized and 1190 was sold to the Age of Steam Roundhouse in 2014. Due to its many years being stored outside, this 0-6-0 and its tender show significant deterioration. It survives today not only as the sole B&O steam switcher, but also as the only existing Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh locomotive.

I looked out of the window at this point and saw Wheeling and Lake Erie caboose 0222 built by the railroad in 1948. After serving the W&LE and its corporate successors, the Nickel Plate Road and Norfolk and Western, this caboose became the property of a tourist train operator in Minerva, Ohio. After that organization went out of business, Age of Steam acquired the car. After a multiple-year wait, 0222 finally moved by train to the Roundhouse in 2015. Age of Steam crew members carefully sanded and repainted the caboose following the original paint blueprints. While numerous former W&LE steel cabooses still exist, 0222 is among very few restored to as-built condition and paint.

United States Army 2-8-0 2630 built by Baldwin in 1943. Unlike most of its sister engines which were sent off to war, 2630 remained stateside for use in railroad operation and maintenance training at the U.S. Army Transportation School at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. Renumbered No.612 in 1954, the engine remained on active duty for the Ft. Eustis Military Railroad for years; the Army kept operating steam locomotives to ensure no knowledge would be lost in the event that military operations began in a country still running them. Occasional weekend tourist trips around Ft. Eustis became popular stops for American railfans.

The engine was finally retired in 1972 and donated to the state of West Virginia for potential use on the Durbin Branch, a state-owned line connecting to the famous Cass Scenic Railroad. Flood damage to the line ended these plans, and No.612 was stored outdoors for many years. In 2010, 612 was sold to Robert Franzen, president of Steam Services of America, and was disassembled and trucked to the Southeastern Railroad Museum in Duluth, Georgia, for storage. Age of Steam Roundhouse acquired 612 from Mr. Franzen in 2015 and shipped it via several highway trucks to Sugarcreek. In 2019 the engine received a complete cosmetic restoration, back-dating it to as-built appearance and numbering it back to 2630 in anticipation of AoSR's Steam to Victory event.

Libby, McNeil and Libby insulated box car 26571 built by General American Transporation Corporation in 1931 for United Reefer Transit, and was leased to Libby, McNeill & Libby. It carried canned fruits, vegetables and meats to market from Libby's manufacturing facilities. United Reefer Transit was one of numerous railcar leasing firms at that time, a business that continues to this day. Companies -- such as Libbys -- found it more economical to lease cars to carry their products instead of owning their own fleets or using railroad-owned cars. Leased railcars were frequently painted with the lessee's logo or corporate colors.

Compressed air engine 0-4-0 1 built by H.K. Porter in 1915 for the Palma Sugar Company in Cuba after being ordered by Dibert, Bancroft & Ross, a large Louisiana iron foundry that manufactured, among other things, machinery for the processing of sugar from cane. With its first attempt at standardization, during 1915 the company designed, constructed and completely equipped four ingenios azucareros (sugar mills) in Cuba for the Palma Sugar Company, whose principal owner at that time was none other than General Mario G. Menocal, el presidente of Cuba. He nixed the use of old-fashioned, steam-powered machinery of any kind on the ingenio, and ordered that electric motors be used throughout the new sugar processing installation.

On November 6, 1915, number 1 was placed onto a flatcar at the H.K. Porter shops in Pittsburgh, and went directly to New Orleans where it was loaded aboard a ferry for the sea voyage to Cuba. Delivered to the ingenio on December 16, this was the first compressed air locomotive of its type used anywhere in Cuba. A three-inch pipeline was laid along the seven miles of track out in the cane fields so that this lokie could be recharged whenever it needed a fresh supply of compressed air. For the first time fears of fires consuming contiguous fields of cane were unfounded, as the new compressed air locomotive performed flawlessly with no flying sparks because there was no fire.

The engine returned to the United States sometime after 1921, and during 1935, was working for the New Orleans Sewage & Water Board where it switched freight cars. After being retired, 1 was placed on display in Mel Ott Park in Gretna, Louisiana. This compressed air locomotive was acquired by the Louisiana Steam Train Association before being sold to the Age of Steam Roundhouse.

United States Navy 0-6-0T 4 built by H.K. Porter in 1919. It spent three years with the Navy before being sold to the neighboring Brooklyn East District Terminal Railroad. For the following three decades, the BEDT's diminutive steamers chuffed around the Brooklyn docks. In fact, the BEDT was 100% steam until Christmas Day 1963 when the line finally retired its fleet of steam locomotives. Following its retirement, 13 was sold to George Hart and moved to Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1977, the engine was transferred to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where it was displayed until being deemed surplus to the core collection in 2010. In October 2011, the Age of Steam Roundhouse took ownership of this engine.

Columbus and Southern 0-4-0F 2 built by Heisler in 1930 and used at the electric generating plant in Groveport, Ohio. 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. It was eventually retired and donated to the Penn-Ohio Railfan;s Association. For several years this and another fireless locomotive were stored in a field south of Canfield, but 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 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.

Sturm and Dillard 0-6-0 105 built by Baldwin in 1917. It was one of an order of four built for John Marsh Inc. Railroad Contractors. Records indicate that by December 1923 No. 51 had been sold to Birmingham Rail and Locomotive, a dealer who bought and sold used rail equipment. On February 23, 1929, BR&L invoiced Sturm & Dillard at Lower Elk, Kentucky, for the purchase of No. 51. S&D renumbered the engine as 105, and it went to work in S&D's company-owned gravel pits located in Circleville, Ohio. Sturm and Dillard specialized in railroad construction work. Among other famous projects, the company had the huge task of constructing much of the Norfolk & Western Railway’s Big Sandy main line.

Around 1969, Art Davis purchased 105 from Sturm & Dillard for $1,500. In 1971, Art loaded his locomotive into a gondola and had it moved to the former Pennsylvania Railroad roundhouse in Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1983, the engine was moved again, this time to Art's industrial property in Orrville, Ohio. Art occasionally fired up his little engine for his friends to enjoy, among them Jerry Jacobson and members of his crew. After Art's passing, an estate sale paved the way for Jerry to acquire this beloved engine and it arrived at Age of Steam in July 2015.

Coshocton, Otsego & Eastern bobber caboose 0100 built in 2005. This line was a little-known coal hauler which served a coal mine in central Ohio. In 1917, the CO&E became part of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, but was eventually abandoned after the mine shut down. The obscure little railroad faded into the history books and W&LE's corporate records. During the 1990s and 2000s, train enthusiast and Ohio Central Railroad employee, John Uher, relaid one mile of standard gauge track on the CO&E's former right-of-way near Coshocton, Ohio. He acquired a small GE diesel switching locomotive – now also part of the AoSRM's collection – and ran short trips for family and friends along his little railroad. For rolling stock, Mr. Uher built his own caboose, primarily referencing a single photo of a similar one for guidance! Displaying a strong attention to detail, he outfitted his very accurate bobber caboose with all of the tools and fittings one would find inside the real thing. Sadly, Mr. Uher passed away in 2010. Jerry Jacobson acquired John's railroad equipment and moved it to Sugarcreek.

Age of Steam SW1 211 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1949 is former Detroit Edison River Rouge Power Plant and originally Marysville Power Plant.

That concluded our tour. The time had flown by and both Elizabeth and I were very impressed and completely enthralled by the level of detail and knowledge that Glenn imparted on everyone, and everything we saw. We both highly recommend it to anyone who loves trains; the tour is offered the third Saturday of the spring, summer and autumn months.

On the Terre Huate

Leaving Sugarcreek, I drove us to our first covered bridge of the trip toward home.

Stutzmann's Crossing Covered Bridge across Walnut Creek built in 2009. It was named after Jonas "Weiss" Stutzman, Holmes County's first official white settler.

The Amish Mast family were settlers here just three years after Mr. Stutzman, and this history board explains the unexpected surprises of an unbarred log cabin door and their amicable encounters with Indians in the area, which would become Holmes County.

Stutzman's Crossing at Walnut Creek. I drove us west to Millersburg.

Baltimore and Ohio/Cleveland, Akron and Columbus Railway (CA&C) station built in 1853. The depot was moved in two pieces from its original location and set on a new foundation at the end of W. Clinton Avenue in April 2005. Its new location is still along the abandoned CA&C line (which is now the Holmes County Rail Trail). It is now a visitor center at an access point to the rail trail. We continued on to Killbuck.

Cleveland, Akron and Columbus Railway Killbuck station. I drove to our last covered bridge.

Bridge of Dreams.

Bridge of Dreams Covered Bridge built in 1998 over the Mohican River in Knox County. It is a pedestrian and bicycling bridge and part of the Mohican Valley Trail, a nature trail built on an abandoned railroad bed from the 1920s, belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad. The bridge is closed to motorized traffic but is often used by Amish buggies. By the early 1990s, the line had been abandoned and a group of local residents and businesses developed a plan for converting it into a multi-use trail stretching from the Holmes County line near Brinkhaven to Danville. The most ambitious aspect of the plan was to cover the 370 foot railroad bridge. Skeptics of this expensive plan claimed that its proponents were "dreaming", which led backers to adopt the name "Bridge of Dreams" for the project. Eventually planners were able to raise the almost $90,000 through contributions and a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The "Bridge of Dreams" was completed in December 1998 and dedicated in April 1999. The Mohican Valley Trail officially opened on June 15, 2001. Today the trail extends from East Street in Danville to the Holmes County Line, connecting the Kokosing Gap Trail and the Holmes County Trails.

Elizabeth then drove us to Jersey Mike's in Mount Vernon for linner then onto Terre Haute where stayed at Pear Tree Inn for the night.