Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 #3960 Arrives




After nearly a decade of discussions with the City of Canton, Ohio, the Age of Steam Roundhouse is happy to announce that it has purchased and received its latest locomotive, former Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 No.3960. Displayed in Canton for 33 years but moved away during 1991, the 0-6-0’s stripped carcass and tender had been sitting outdoors in Minerva since 2006 while ownership issues and plans for the engine’s future were debated. To remain within the letter of the law and be fair to everyone, the City of Canton had to offer No.3960 for sale to the highest bidder that offered also the best future for the forlorn 0-6-0. The Age of Steam Roundhouse won the bid, and No.3960’s boiler was separated from its frame, and along with its tender, were loaded onto four flatbed truck trailers and moved to the AoSRH facilities in Sugarcreek on October 9, 2018, for unloading the next day.

The history of No.3960 was uneventful, but an interesting one. To save about $7,000 per locomotive from the cost of commercially constructed locos, from 1928 to 1930 in its well-equipped back shop in Brewster, Ohio, W&LE built twenty 0-8-0 switchers of proven USRA design. They were so successful that between 1929 and 1940 Brewster built 30 copies of the USRA’s 0-6-0 switcher. All fifty locomotives rolled on 51-inch driving wheels, had Nicholson thermic syphons in their fireboxes and Chambers front-end throttles in the smokeboxes. As was W&LE practice, road number series reflected 10-per cent of an engine’s tractive effort, the 3951-3980-series for the B-5 class 0-6-0s, and the 5106-5125-series for the larger C-1a class 0-8-0s. 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!

After 7,230 manhours and at a cost of $28,686.56, on June 8, 1935, 0-6-0 No.3960 was completed in Brewster Shop. Nearby Canton was home to the Timken Roller Bearing Co., and locomotives and freight cars of on-line W&LE were used to test the then-new idea of applying roller bearings to railroad equipment. Completed on September 25, 1935, W&LE 0-6-0 No.3965 was the world’s first steam switcher built with roller bearings on all axles, including tenders (12.5 tons of coal and 8,150-gallons of water), as were all subsequent Brewster 0-6-0s.

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 No.360. During its last year of active duty 0-6-0 No.360 was used down 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, No.360’s future home. In 1957 NKP heavy USRA 2-8-2 No.678 (ex-W&LE No.6008) was chosen for display in Canton’s Mother Goose Land Park, but was later deemed too heavy (i.e. too 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 0-6-0, 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 360 was relettered on June 12, 1973, to its original identity as W&LE 3960. Continued neglect by the city led to No.3960 being acquired by Silver Throttle Engine And Museum (STEAM) that had high hopes of rebuilding the 0-6-0 to steam again, and on July 19, 1991, the 0-6-0 was removed from the closed Mother Goose Land. No.3960 went to south Canton, then to Louisville before it ended up inside a Quonset hut 16 miles from Canton in Minerva where hopes were high, but funds were low. Seeing no possibility for it to be even cosmetically restored, in 2004 STEAM traded the disassembled No.3960 (in return for a diesel and three coaches) to Jerry Jacobson, lifelong lover of steam locomotives and owner of the Ohio Central Railroad System.

In 2006 STEAM was dispersed, and No.3960 was evicted to an adjoining Ohi-Rail track. Never owning No.3960, STEAM had no legal right to trade it to Jerry Jacobson, and the City of Canton rightfully reclaimed possession of its wayward 0-6-0. Thus began the decade-long discussions about No.3960’s future, including Canton’s dream for the loco’s next owner to rebuild it and operate excursion passenger trains in the city once or twice a year.

The forlorn No.3960 will undergo a massive cosmetic restoration by Age of Steam Roundhouse to replace dozens of rusted, lost, and stolen parts, but this seemingly endless, sad saga will now have a happy ending in Sugarcreek.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Appoints Executive Director


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SUGARCREEK, Ohio - The Board of Directors of The Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation, Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Noel B. Poirier as the Foundation’s and The Age of Steam Roundhouse’s Executive Director. He began his new role July 16, 2018.

Board Chairman and President of The Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation, Bill Strawn, said, "We are very fortunate and excited to have Noel Poirier join our organization. His proven leadership, museum development skills, and demonstrated forward vision will introduce Jerry Jacobson's steam locomotive collection and historically constructed facility for public viewing and appreciation. Noel's grasp of the significant importance that The Age of Steam Roundhouse offers all who visit will undoubtedly propel it toward becoming a world destination." The selection of Mr. Poirier to lead The Age of Steam Roundhouse is the culmination of a national search involving the review of many candidates. It reflects the Foundation’s desire to continue its efforts in being at the forefront of steam locomotive preservation by continuing Jerry Jacobson’s desire to share his efforts and enthusiasm with the public and for posterity.

Mr. Poirier is an experienced museum professional with a demonstrated history of success in managing museums and other not-for-profit industrial institutions. In the past, Mr. Poirier has worked for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia; two living historical farms in Pennsylvania; Historic Bethlehem Partnership in Bethlehem, Pa.; and most recently as the National Watch & Clock Museum’s Director where he guided it to being awarded the coveted accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.

“I welcome the opportunity to carry forward Jerry Jacobson’s vision for The Age of Steam Roundhouse and guide it toward becoming the premier destination for enthusiasts of railroad history and steam locomotives,” stated Mr. Poirier. “The collection, these facilities, this work occurring at the Roundhouse all make it a natural attraction for tourism, yet it will still be accessible and interesting for those visitors who have not yet caught the railroading bug. I look forward to playing an important part in attracting more visitors to this region.”

The Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation, Inc., is an educational, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that operates The Age of Steam Roundhouse, a fully-functioning roundhouse, locomotive back shop and museum that preserves, restores, displays, interprets, operates and maintains the steam locomotives, historic diesels, passenger cars and other associated railroad objects from the collection of its founder, the late Jerry Joe Jacobson, for the edification, enlightenment and entertainment of today’s public and tomorrow’s future generations. Please visit our website at: www.ageofsteamroundhouse.com


Engine #12 Completes First Test Run





Age of Steam Roundhouse is proud to announce the first test run of ex-Morehead and North Fork 0-6-0 locomotive #12. The engine made its first moves under steam on July 16, 2018. After slowly building steam pressure in #12’s boiler, crew members shuffled the stout little switch engine back and forth around the roundhouse yard. Prior to this test run, the locomotive had not moved under its own power since the early 1960’s.


Locomotive #12 is Age of Steam’s first complete, FRA compliant steam locomotive restoration. A partial list of repairs that have been made to #12 includes:


- Multiple patches and replacement rivets in firebox / mudring

- Renewed rear tube sheet knuckle

- Renewed all 196 flexible staybolts, sleeves and caps

- Welded in 4 new Huron-type firebox washout plugs

- Replaced arch tubes and installed new arch brick

- Replaced all 292 boiler tubes

- Straightened and repaired both tube sheets

- Designed, machined and installed new steam dome lid

- Replaced steam dome studs

- Replaced approximately 50% of smokebox

- Installed newly-cast smoke stack

- Installed newly-cast blastpipe

- Completed all FRA Form 4 calculations

- Inspected and cleaned driver journals

- Rebuilt grease cellars

- Inspected and repaired Stephenson Valve gear and slide valves

- Repaired and chrome-plated slide valves

- Replaced valve and piston packing

- Inspected, cleaned and repaired side rods and crank pins

- Inspected, cleaned and repaired all appliances, valves, water glasses, tri-cocks, and throttle

- Built all-new welded tender tank (complete with faux rivet heads) and installed on existing tender frame


#12 is a 1905 product of the American Locomotive Company’s Pittsburgh Works. Built as #1643 for the Southern Railway, the engine later gained considerable fame on Kentucky’s Morehead and North Fork Railroad. There, it continued in freight service long after the M&NF’s larger contemporaries had retired their steam locomotives. The Age of Steam Roundhouse acquired the engine in 2011.


Locomotive #12 performed well during this initial test run, but some additional adjustments will be necessary. Further testing and fine-tuning will continue over the coming weeks and months.


Thank you for your continued interest in the Age of Steam Roundhouse.  


Non-Group Tour Day Scheduled


Age of Steam Roundhouse's first Non-Group Tour Day has been scheduled for Saturday, June 9th 2018! Visit the Tours page for additional information on how to schedule your visit. If sucessful, we will plan additional times later this summer.


Winter 2017-2018 Roundhouse Report


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The Winter 2017-2018 roundhouse report has been posted.  Click here to view it!


Age of Steam Roundhouse Acquires 20th Steam Locomotive




The Age of Steam Roundhouse of Sugarcreek, Ohio, is happy to announce the acquisition of its 20th steam locomotive, former Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company 0-4-0F No. 2. The locomotive had been owned by Travel Centers of America, and displayed at a closed-down restaurant on TCA property in Sharon, Pennsylvania. New plans for the property did not include the old locomotive, so AoSRH offered to purchase the engine and preserve it indoors at AoSRH’s beautiful locomotive display and restoration facility in Sugarcreek.


The locomotive was tightly squeezed between a city street and an old railroad station—and, with electric power lines hanging overhead—made removal difficult. However, because the site was to be cleared, the locomotive’s removal was postponed until there were no obstructions. A highway truck was backed-up to the engine, and the 54-ton 0-4-0F was winched aboard the lowboy trailer for its trip to the Age of Steam Roundhouse. Days before loading No. 2, members of the AoSRH staff removed the locomotive’s side rods and made other preparations. After a 112-mile trip from its display site in Sharon, 0-4-0F No. 2 reached AoSRH’s facilities in Sugarcreek on January 23, 2018.


“We’ve been looking for a fireless cooker steam locomotive to add to our collection,” said Tim Sposato, chief mechanical officer at the Age of Steam Roundhouse. “We were fortunate to locate and obtain one that was in our own backyard. That saved us a lot of money in loading and transportation costs.” The AoSRH’s newest locomotive was loaded and transported by Zemba Brothers Construction of Zanesville.


Constructed by Heisler Locomotive Works in 1940, this little locomotive is a “fireless cooker” type of switcher that was popular for use in areas where flammable substances were handled, such as in textile mills, chemical plants and coal-burning power plants. Fireless locos operated without the need of a fire to heat boiler water to make steam. Instead, these engines used heavily insulated boilers to store pressurized steam and hot water that were supplied from a separate source. At normal atmospheric pressure, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but does not boil and will not make steam when under pressure. As the fireless locomotive performs work and uses steam, the boiler pressure drops, thus allowing the superheated water to start boiling again and make additional steam. When the steam pressure rises, the superheated water stops boiling and the entire process is repeated over-and-over. When the quantity of water and steam inside the boiler was used-up and reduced to the point where the boiler needed refilling, the locomotive would have been recharged from the separate source. Typically, a fireless cooker could be operated for about eight hours on a single charge of superheated water.


Before being shipped to Youngstown, former C&OSE 0-4-0F No. 2 was weighed at C&O’s Parsons Yard in Columbus, and an actual weight of 108,100 pounds was recorded on its freight waybill. This loco’s boiler had 250 psi in its boiler, which was reduced to 75 psi for use in its 21”x20” cylinders to turn small 36-inch driving wheels. As such, No. 2 developed just 14,700 pounds of tractive effort. Though not very powerful, this fireless locomotive had to move only a few loaded or empty coal hopper cars at any given time—why pay for more tractive effort than would ever be needed?


Used at C&OSE electric generating plant in Groveport, Ohio, 0-4-0F Nos. 1 and 2 were retired and donated to the Penn-Ohio Railfan’s Association. Both locomotives had their main and side rods removed, and were moved on their own wheels in freight trains during the August 27-31, 1965, trip across Chesapeake & Ohio and Erie-Lackawanna tracks to Youngstown. However, the removal of the locos’ rods caused imbalance in their 36-inch driving wheels, and while en route No.2 developed bearing trouble and had to be loaded onto a flatcar for the remainder of the journey. For several years these two fireless locos were stored in a field south of Canfield, but No. 2 was acquired by the Old Express restaurant in Sharon, Pa., and moved to its diner display site on June 13, 1974. Former C&SOE No. 1 is owned by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association, and, along with historic steel mill railroad cars, is displayed in Youngstown. Additionally, a third C&OSE 0-4-0F fireless cooker—No. 3, built by Vulcan—is on exhibit today at the Dennison Depot Railroad Museum.


The Age of Steam Roundhouse will cosmetically restore its newly acquired 0-4-0 fireless cooker back to its original appearance as Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Company No. 2.


Locomotive No. 19 Arrives at Age of Steam Roundhouse


Former Yreka Western 2-8-2 engine No. 19 has arrived safely.  View the press release.


Winter 2016-2017 Roundhouse Report


The Winter 2016-2017 roundhouse report has been posted.  Click here to view it!


Age of Steam Roundhouse Acquires Yreka Western Locomotive No. 19


Read the press realease about Age of Steam's latest addition here


Summer 2016 Roundhouse Report


The Summer 2016 roundhouse report has been posted.  Click here to view it!