Before the 1923 consolidation of several disparate railroads into the unified Canadian National Railways, Montreal Locomotive Works in 1912 erected (serial #50778) for the Canadian Northern Railway a Ten-Wheeler No.1354. It was built as a lightweight locomotive to haul both passenger and freight trains, and also was assigned to the Montreal commuter engine pool. During 1956 this 4-6-0 was renumbered 1551, and until retired in 1958, it ran out its last miles on a branch line in Barrie, Ontario.
F. Nelson Blount acquired No.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, Pa.
During 1986 Jerry Jacobson acquired No.1551 in trade for his Jackson Iron & Steel 0-6-0 No.3, which originally had been the shop switcher at the Baldwin Locomotive Works (it now operates at Steamtown in Scranton lettered and numbered as BLW No.26).
Repairs to No.1551 were completed in 1988, concurrent with Jerry’s purchase of a 70-mile long, former N&W line between Harmon and Zanesville, which he renamed the Ohio Central Railroad.
Almost immediately daily-except Sunday steam tourist passenger trains began operating the seven-mile trek between Sugar Creek and Baltic with No.1551 doing the honors.
The engine was pulled from tourist train service so that an overhaul could begin, but before No.1551’s repairs had been completed Jerry decided to end the Sugarcreek steam train. The 4-6-0 was wrapped in a blue tarp and sat in outside storage along with Jerry’s other dead locomotives at Morgan Run Shop.
When Jerry sold the Ohio Central to Genesee & Wyoming, initially his diesels and steamers stayed on G&W property until tracks had been laid in Sugarcreek for the Age of Steam Roundhouse. All of Jerry’s steamers, diesels, freight and passenger cars, and other rolling stock were moved to their new home during 2011.
Today No.1551 sits in roundhouse Stall No.3, waiting its turn to enter the shop.