Winter 2016 / 2017

The year 2016 has quickly passed, and as we sit back to review all the work performed at the Age of Steam Roundhouse, it is apparent that plenty has been accomplished, but the list of uncompleted work is still long. We pride ourselves in doing each job properly and thoroughly, not quickly just to say that it was accomplished.

 

Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 steam locomotive #12

Whenever we were able to free-up manpower from other jobs, this engine was given additional attention during the past few months. The driver journals have been inspected and cleaned, with the addition of newly rebuilt grease cellars and new grease. Shoes and wedges were inspected and repaired, where necessary, as well as No.12’s pedestal binders and binder bolts. The Stephenson Valve gear was disassembled, repaired and reinstalled, and steam cylinder slide valves were completely gone over and repaired as needed. This 0-6-0’s valve rods were reground and chrome plated for a better fit of the valve rod packing. For easier maintenance in the future, the loco’s old-fashioned rope-type, valve rod packing was changed to the newer, better King Metallic design. Work on the main driver crank pins and side rods has been completed, and all of these parts have been reassembled. The locomotive’s main rods are still being rebuilt, and will be re-installed back onto No.12 when repairs have been completed. Work continues on its boiler, appliances and other smaller fixtures.

 

The boiler work includes replacement of broken and worn studs, as well as replacement of the majority of the flexible stay bolt sleeves. Blending these jobs with some firebox side sheet repairs took more time than we anticipated, so the boiler tube replacement has been delayed as we focused on the jobs mentioned above.

 

12boiler

 

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2 steam locomotive #1293

This beautiful locomotive saw a few days of operation on several occasions, the most notable being some time spent under steam out on the Ohio Central main line. The short trips were operated for employees and some friends of Mr. Jacobson for some enjoyable days of steam and relaxation. No.1293 received a few minor adjustments throughout the year, and is maintained in perfect operational condition and physical appearance.

1293stall1

 

Yreka Western 2-8-2 No.19 will soon be shipped from California to Ohio

After purchasing No.19 at a sheriff’s auction in October 2016, preparations by AoSRH have been underway to transport the 87-ton steam locomotive and tender from the town of Yreka to the village of Sugarcreek. Because this Mikado was essentially landlocked in California, removed rails had to be replaced there, a diesel locomotive repaired and a special heavy-duty flatcar reserved and, when available, moved empty from Chicago to the West Coast for the loading of the locomotive. Please watch our Age of Steam Roundhouse website for details and photos of No.19—our 19th steam locomotive—as they become available.

 

Sturm & Dillard Construction Company 0-6-0 steam locomotive #105

After acquiring this engine at AoSRH during 2015, we saw that years of prior outside storage had resulted in heavy weathering, the most notable being to the severely rotted, wooden, front pilot beam. In anticipation of doing a repair, we ordered a wooden timber in order to fashion a new pilot beam, allowing it to sit inside the roundhouse for more than a year to permit proper curing of the freshly-cut oak. This heavy beam was fitted to the No.105, and cosmetic touches were applied to the front of the engine. These minor repairs will allow for a better visual appearance of this 0-6-0 for those people who will be touring the roundhouse this summer. (Please see our announcement later-on in this edition of the Roundhouse Report about pre-scheduled, escorted group tours that AoSRH will be offering on certain summertime Saturdays.)

105rh

 

Putnam 80-inch wheel lathe

Repairs, restoration and assembly of our Putnam 80-inch wheel lathe have been completed. This lathe was one of our bigger projects on which we concentrated during 2016. We did not want to slow our momentum in its restoration, and that persistence paid off in November when we tested the finished machine. Practicing on an old tender wheel set, we energized the lathe and did some initial cutting as we discovered and learned how the completely rebuilt lathe would respond to all the new parts, controls and changes that we had given to it. This test was a great success, and in the ensuing days we fine-tuned this lathe a little more and got a better feel for its operations and limitations. We did not acquire many cutting and profiling tools in England with the purchase of this American-manufactured lathe, so we created homemade cutters here at the roundhouse.

wheellathefinished

 

lathespacer

 

Baltimore & Ohio gondola #451091

One of our spare-time projects during 2015-16 was restoration and painting of ex-Baltimore & Ohio gondola No.451091. This old car was built originally during 1959 as a coil-steel carrying gondola; its last use was in CSXT maintenance-of-way service before being retired and sold to a man in Orrville, Ohio. During 2015 AoSRH purchased this car and trucked it to the roundhouse for eventual restoration. Gon No.451091 was sandblasted and repainted back to its “as built” appearance when it first entered service. Work was done on a sporadic basis using part-time and volunteer workers, who also hand-cut stencils for the numerals, lettering and B&O logo. The finishing touch was the hand-painting of all the reporting marks based on the builder’s photo of this class of car. These guys did a great job of giving back to the gondola its dignity for the enjoyment of everyone.

bogon

 

Libby’s food company insulated boxcar URTX #26571

The piece of rolling stock that we are currently restoring was built in 1931 as an insulated boxcar, and used primarily by the Libby’s Company to haul fruits and vegetables to its canning factories. This wood-sided steel car was not a reefer and carried no ice or mechanical refrigeration units, instead using its thick insulation to protect its precious cargo of perishables. Retired during the 1960s, this car was donated to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa. We acquired the car during 2014, and had it moved by truck to Sugarcreek where it has sat warm and dry inside the roundhouse. The deteriorated sections of wood sheathing are being replaced, de-scaling of the exterior metal sections and a final paint job will restore the appearance of this car to how it would have looked when in regular service.

reeferrestoration

 

United States Army flatcar #38358

The second of our US Army flatcars received its turn in the restoration shop using AoSRH part-timers and volunteers to do the work on a time-available basis. They came through again with a wonderful looking revitalization of the 1954-built product. Our flatcar was meticulously hand-sanded and prepared for the final painting with a heavy coat of olive drab. Replacing the original wood decking was discussed, but we decided to retain the beat-up lumber as it added to the heavily-used look of the car. This decking may be replaced in the future. All stencils and logos were hand-cut to the original design, and meticulously painted by hand.

armyflatcar

 

Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad sanding tower

Mentioned in the Summer 2016 Roundhouse Report was our acquisition and rebuilding of a retired sanding tower from the Akron, Canton & Youngstown engine facility in Akron, Ohio. This tower was sand-blasted and painted, and had missing parts fabricated and applied. During July 2016 it was completed and set up between our Ash Pit Track and Turntable Lead. Directly across the track from the tower we began construction on an all-new sand house and sand storage area, which will be completed this year. A conveyor belt will be installed to load coal into loco tenders; at $1M and $2M, respectively, wooden or concrete coaling towers would be too expensive.

sandtowerfinished

 

Erie-Lackawanna Wig-Wag grade crossing signal

Each year we like to add unique railroad items to the Age of Steam Roundhouse facility, not only rail-bound equipment, but also wayside items, as well. The latest such addition is an Erie-Lackawanna Wig-Wag grade crossing signal. This signal is under restoration by the shop crew, and was installed just as the first snow flew this winter. It is fully operational and protects the road crossing leading to the AoSRH depot-office building. This signal was used in Ohio, but we do not know the exact location where it spent its career. The addition of the top, mast-mounted bell was done by us, using an old Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway crossing bell from the nearby village of Baltic. We are finishing restoration of the original crossbuck warning signs, using the “Cat’s Eye” type of clear-glass, marble reflectors. These will be installed this spring as the final touch of this rebuild.

wigwagfinished

 

The Storehouse at the Age of Steam Roundhouse is filling-up with parts

The filling of the storehouse has been an ongoing project that will continue as time permits. Most of the boxcars that we had been using for storage during the past 28 years finally have been unloaded. Inventory removed from the cars is being sorted, organized and transferred into its respective storage locations inside the storehouse. This sorting allows the disposal of those items deemed neither usable nor collectable.

 

Pre-arranged group tours at the Age of Steam Roundhouse were popular on summer Saturdays during 2016

For the fourth year in a row our pre-arranged roundhouse tours were popular with various groups that wanted to visit, see and photograph the inside of our back shop repair facility and 18-stall roundhouse with its collection of 18 steam locomotives. Because AoSRH was never intended to be a museum or an amusement park open to the public, various fire code ordinances, insurance rules and government regulations stipulate that we are not permitted to allow visitors to just wander around the property on their own. For safety, visitors must be in escorted groups. Since we cannot stop working during the week to shut down the machine tools and rope-off work areas for visitation, we provide group tours only on some summer Saturdays when shop employees and trained volunteers are willing to give up their day off to come back to work and escort groups of 40 or more people on guided tours. Because we keep open the roundhouse’s and shop’s huge doors to provide exits in the event of an emergency, guided tours are offered only during May through October when the weather is warm. (We heat the roundhouse’s interior to reduce moisture and rusting during the cold winter months, and will not open those doors to serve as emergency exits because all the heat will escape.) We’re not a Disneyland-type of attraction, so we do not admit children under the age of 10, and all visitors must sign a liability release. Compliance with all regulations to provide full, open access would cost us $4 million in modifications, so group tours are the best that we can do for now. For information and to schedule summertime Saturday group tours, contact the Age of Steam Roundhouse at: http://www.ageofsteamroundhouse.com/index.php/contact-us.

Many thanks to our readers for the warm wishes and favorable comments that you send to the Age of Steam Roundhouse website. We appreciate every one, and share them with the staff and crew here in Sugarcreek. 

Finally, as usual, we close the Roundhouse Report with a big THANK YOU to America’s active military service personnel and to our military veterans for all that they have given—and continue to give—to ensure the protection of our great nation so that we all may carry on our lives in freedom. Without these patriots, we can be sure that our way of life would be drastically different. Please remember America’s defenders, and thank them whenever you can with a small compliment (or more, if you so desire).

 

 

Below you'll find links to previous Roundhouse Reports:

 

Summer 2016

Winter 2015-2016

Winter 2014-2015

August 2014

December 2013

April 2013

November 2012

March 2012

October 2011

December 2010

October 2010

February 2010