As a young teen, Jerry Jacobson loved to watch the Baltimore & Ohio steam locomotives operating on the Akron Division run through his hometown of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He was fortunate, as this stretch of B&O main line was the track where Steam fought its last stand in 1957 on the B&O. Jerry was even more fortunate one day when he was invited to ride in the cab of B&O Mountain-type 4-8-2 No. 710 as it switched out cars from the local freight it was pulling. Unfortunately, the B&O shut down the last of its steam locomotives later that year. From that moment on Jerry dreamed about how great it would be to own his own steamer.
Knowing that he would have to own his own railroad in order to run his own steam locomotives, in 1988 Jerry bought a 90-mile railroad and named it Ohio Central. Twenty years later his Ohio Central Railroad System had grown to ten individual freight-hauling railroads, 84 diesels, ten steam locomotives, and two dozen heavyweight and lightweight passenger cars. The highlight of the OC was the daily-except-Sunday steam-powered summertime tourist passenger trains that operated seven miles from Sugarcreek to Baltic.
Jerry employed a staff of well-trained, experienced and professional railroaders to rebuild, maintain and operate his steam locomotives. Ten-wheeler 4-6-0 No. 1551 was the backbone of the Sugarcreek summertime steam train, although 2-8-0 No. 13 operated for one entire season while cousin 1551 was in the shop. At first, all locomotive repairs (both steam and diesel) were accomplished outdoors inside the wye at East Coshocton, but Morgan Run Shop was constructed in 1995, allowing locomotive maintenance to be moved indoors.
The Morgan Run Shop was designed to hold four diesels simultaneously undergoing repairs, but curiously, one of these spaces was always occupied by a steam locomotive undergoing maintenance and repairs.
Other steam locomotives that received complete restoration at Morgan Run were ex-Grand Trunk Western (GTW) 4-8-4 No. 6325, former Canadian Pacific (CP) 4-6-2 No. 1293, and Lake Superior & Ishpeming (LS&I) 2-8-0 No. 33. It is expected that other steam and diesel locomotives will be evaluated, stored and operated in the future.