Archive for February, 2011

Recalling the Day JISCO No. 3 Steamed Up Again

February 27, 2011

The first steam-up of newly restored JISCO 0-6-0 No. 3 (Baldwin Locomotive Works No. 26) on March 1, 1981, at the defunct Jackson Iron & Steel Co. plant in Jackson, Ohio. Shown are (from left to right) unknown (might be Larry Evans, who was one of Dave Corbitt's friends and partners in restoring lounge car Eagle Canon), Dave Corbitt, Bill Goslin (start of those on running board), Jerry Jacobson, unknown, unknown, unknown, Paul Woodring (sitting on air compressor), Jim Bacon, unknown, unknown, and Gary Bensman. (Photograph courtesy of Paul Woodring)

In the late 1970s, Jerry Jacobson bought and sold a couple of small steam locomotives, but had never tried to restore one to operating condition.  He came across a standard Baldwin 0-6-0 tender engine that had been the plant switcher for the Jackson Iron and Steel Co. (JISCO), in Jackson, Ohio, around 1978, where it had been stored indoors since the mid-1960s.

Because the engine had been stored indoors, it was in good shape and did not need an extraordinary effort to make it operable.  It was like finding the proverbial Model-T in a barn. 

The plant had failed under the original ownership, was revived under a new group of investors, who added new equipment and tried to make a go of it, but they also failed.  By 1978 the plant was idle and the owners were willing to sell No. 3 to Jerry.

Jerry was allowed to restore the engine to operating condition at the plant, using the building it was stored in to do the work.  He brought in professional steam mechanic Gary Bensman to lead the mix of paid and volunteer help that worked off and on for more than two years to get it to the point you see in the photo. 

Gary was also chief mechanical officer for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society at the time, working outdoors on the first restoration of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and working on No. 3 as time permitted.  The 765 restoration was largely completed in the Fall of 1979 and Gary was able to devote a lot more time to going to Jackson for this project.

The bulk of the work was done during 1980. I spent several days down there that year, after graduating from the University of Akron, mostly doing whatever unskilled dirty-work needed to be done. This included needle-scaling the firebox and scraping rust off the inside of the tender. We were all a lot thinner then. 

During this time Dave Corbett from Parkersburg, West Virginia, a long-time friend of Jerry and by this time an engineer for the Chessie System, bought his first passenger car, ex-Denver & Rio Grande Western Pullman-built lounge car Eagle Canon. This car had been built originally for Chesapeake & Ohio subsidiary Pere Marquette. The Spanish accent mark over the middle “n” was not included, which makes the pronunciation of the word KAN-yun.

He moved the car to Jackson to work on it there as well.  By the time Jerry got No. 3 operable, it had been joined by Chicago Burlington & Quincy Mike No. 4960, which was being restored to operate at a short-lived tourist line in southwest Virginia, before going west and ending up at the Grand Canyon Railway. 

This made Jackson, Ohio, an unlikely Mecca for railroad restoration projects.  One of the other mainstays of Jerry’s volunteer crew was Bill Goslin, who Jerry had met working at Steamtown in Vermont, when Jerry visited there in the early 1970s.  Bill later went to work for Jerry on the Ohio Central and today still works for the Genesee & Wyoming.  I brought Jim Bacon down to Jackson a couple of times to help in the latter months of the work. Jim was a former Akron Railroad Club member, a12-inch gauge live steamer enthusiasts, and later a primary volunteer for the Friends of the East Broad Top. At the time, Jim lived in Cortland.

The photo that accompanies this article was taken on March 1, 1981, the day that No. 3 was fired up and operated for the first time since the mid-1960s. I’ve identified as many of the people in it who I can remember, which leaves several unacknowledged.  So, if anyone recognizes himself or anyone else there, please pass that information along.

We ran No. 3 around the plant tracks for several hours that day. Further work was done on the engine from what was found out from that day and Jerry operated it a few more times on the plant grounds between then and in late 1982.  At that point, the plant was being demolished, the connection to the outside world via the Detroit, Toledo &Ironton was going to be lost and Jerry arranged to move the engine to Bellevue, to store it at the Mad River and NKP Museum. That move was made in the Spring of 1983, and Jerry operated the engine there on a short piece of track along the Norfolk Southern Toledo line a few times in 1983 and1984. 

When Jerry was researching the history of the locomotive, he discovered that it was originally built as a stock engine by Baldwin and served as the plant switcher at Eddystone for a number of years before being sold to JISCO.  Because of the engine’s history, Jerry was able to trade the operable No. 3 to the now National Park Service-owned Steamtown in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s for inoperable ex-Canadian National  10 wheeler No. 1551, which became the first excursion engine used on the Ohio Central.

No. 3 then became the shunting/short ride engine for Steamtown as BLW No. 26, where it is currently undergoing its first major overhaul since it was at JISCO.

Article by Paul Woodring

Unusual Shipment to LTEX

February 11, 2011

The Georgia Southwestern F9s have just been set off a CSX manifest train at Lordstown. Next stop is Larry’s Truck and Electric.

Larry’s Truck and Electric is a well known Northeast Ohio locomotive dealer/scrapper that  receives a lot of unusual motive power from a wide variety of carriers. Old EMD’s and switchers make up the bulk of what goes into the LTEX facility.

But every once in a while something a little out of the ordinary shows up. That was the case when word got out that two former Georgia Southwestern FP9s were making their way to Larry’s.

They had arrived in Willard on CSX from the south and had been set off there for a couple of days. Even though the weather wasn’t very good, I decided to venture to Willard to see them. As I was gassing up the Jeep on Sunday morning (February 9, 2011) to head west, the phone rang. It was Tom in Willard, and he gave me the information that the two F’s were already heading east on a Q368.

They were trailing behind several other units, I decided to stay in Akron and catch them when they passed through. As luck would have it, right when the Q368 was coming around the corner, so was a westbound and my photo of the Fs wasn’t to be had.

With nothing else going on, I decided to give chase in hopes the Q368 would set these off at LTEX. As the train was rolling right along, I headed straight for LTEX to wait and see.

While there I took some shots off the bridge of the always changing mass of units at LTEX, and noticed a set of CSX power over on the CSX/LTEX transfer track. I drove over to find that a road mate set had “walked off” on the iced-up crossing and put the lead truck on the ground.

Q137 was coming west, so back up on the bridge I went to catch him passing the old CPL signal with the derailed units in the background. Radio chatter was indicating that Q368 would set “those old engines” off at Lordstown.

Trouble was, Lordstown was west of me a good bit, so off I went. I got there just as the road power had cut away from the Fs, but they were now buried between two tracks of mulilevels.

At that point I was ready to throw in the towel and head home, but after turning around I saw the Fs were now gone. The yard job had come up, tied on, and taken them to the engine track near the yard office where they now sat wide open.

With permission given to take a few photos I did just that and really found it interesting how the snow had gathered on the nose of the 6308 and how the crew had used the wipers to clean the windows for the backup move.

Those FP9s looked good on the outside, so let’s hope they find a new owner after their visit to LTEX. I vote that CSX picks them up and uses them on its business train.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee


There is a little of everything at LTEX near Youngstown.

Images of the Season

February 4, 2011

A Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train kicks up the snow as it nears Bath Road on January 16, 2011. (Photograph by Roger Durfee)

If you saw the four seasons program at the January 2011 Akron Railroad Club meeting, you no doubt admired the winter photograph of Roger Durfee. A conductor for Norfolk Southern by day, on weekends in the winter you will more than likely find Roger track side with camera in hand.

He says winter offers more opportunities for dramatic images because of the variety of weather conditions. It is not all snow and clouds.  Posted here are few of Roger’s recent winter images. All were recorded on January 16, 2011.

BNSF power leads a coal train east of Kent eastbound on CSX.

A westbound CSX intermodal train passes the golf course on the east side of Kent.

A CSX westbound coke train passes through Kent along the Cuyahoga River. The sun was in and out on this day.

B&O No. 800 leads the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train into Peninsula.

Passing by the fountain at the motorcyle club at Smith Road just north of Akron.