2015 Was a Busy Time at AOS With the Delivery of New Steam Locomotives and a W&LE Caboose

There is a new addition to the Age of Steam Roundhouse and it doesn’t make any smoke and can’t pull a train.

Around Thanksgiving a cat showed up at the Sugarcreek facility and soon became acclimated to the bustle of a locomotive shop.

The workers named him Felix and determined that he was about 10 weeks old. “Felix is friendly and takes great pleasure in climbing up one’s pant leg for a little attention and possibly a little treat,” the AOS wrote in its 2015 annual report.

The report, which can be viewed on the AOS website, summarizes the activities of the shop forces during the past year.

Here are some of the highlights:

Woodward Iron 2-10-0 No. 41 (formerly Alabama, Tennessee & Northern No. 401) arrived at the end of the year.

Baldwin Locomotive Works built the light 2-10-0 Decapod-type steamer in 1928

AOS owner Jerry Jacobson purchased No. 41 at an auction last May. It was last displayed at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin.

On Nov. 10, AOS took delivery of Cuban Compressed Air 0-4-0 No. 1.

Built in 1915 by H.K. Porter in Pittsburgh, it was the first such air engine used in the sugar cane fields of Cuba.

After working in Cuba, No. 1 later worked for the New Orleans Water & Sewerage Board. It is believed to be the sole remaining Porter-built, three-tank compressed air locomotive in the world.

After being stored for 14 years, Kettle Moraine 2-6-2 No. 9 found a new owner this year in the AOS. Built by Baldwin in 1901 for the McCloud River Railroad, No. 9 operated in the forests of northern California.

Although built as a wood burner, it was later converted in 1920 to burn oil. After its retirement No. 9 sat unused until being purchased in 1964 by the Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin.

The Kettle Moraine steam tourist railroad began operations in 1971 in North Lake, Wisconsin, but was forced into retirement in late 2001 after residents complained about smoke, noise and tourist traffic.

No. 9 was delivered to the Age of Steam Roundhouse on August 25, 2015.

Sturm & Dillard 0-6-0 No. 105 arrived at AOS on July 1, 2015, by truck from Orrville, Ohio. Jacobson and many AOS staff knew the locomotive’s former owner and spent many hours operating it.

Jacobson acquired the locomotive during an estate sale.

No.105 is thought to have been built by Baldwin in January 1917. It is the fourth 0-6-0 on the AOS roster, but there are no plans to restore it to operating conditions. operation.

U.S. Army Transportation Corps 2-8-0 No. 2630 arrived at the AOS on May 13, 2015.

Built by Baldwin in 1923, it is one of 2,120 standard design, 2-8-0 locomotives of its type constructed during World War II.

About 800 of the locomotives were placed into service on British rails during the first years of the war, with nearly all being sent across the Channel to the European continent after D-Day. These locomotives, nicknamed “Yanks,” were intended to last just six years, but some operatied for more than three decades.

Eight of the 2-8-0 “Yanks” s have been preserved in the United State and about 24 exist elsewhere around the world.

No. 2630 worked in the United States during the war at Fort Eustis, Virginia, remaining in service through 1972.

AOS forces plan to restore the 2630 to its original 1943 military appearance

Former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293 passed its annual inspection by the Federal Railroad Administration. It was fired-up and operated several times for special events.

Work continues slowly on Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12. Parts of its smokebox were repaired or replaced in order to eliminate several eroded areas. A newly-manufactured smokestack, smokestack base and exhaust nozzle castings were installed in the smokebox. All of No.12’s ALCO-type, flexible staybolt sleeves are being renewed.

A new tender tank body was installed in the fall on No. 12. The tank body was built from scratch with new steel sheets and rivets. The original mounting brackets, grab irons and ladders were reused.

The new tender’s exterior surfaces will be sandblasted and primer painted before the final fitting onto the old tender’s restored frame. After some detail work, the finishing coat of paint will be applied to complete this project.

Restoration of Age of Steam Roundhouse’s Niles quartering machine was completed and the machine was permanently mounted in the back shop in preparation for return to operation.

The Lucas horizontal boring mill was reconditioned and placed in service, a job that required some rewiring. New contactors were installed and the limit switches were replaced.

The reconditioning of the Putnam 80-inch wheel lathe began in October when several component parts were removed, cleaned and repaired.

The AOS general offices “Depot” opened in May. Office equipment and employees were moved to the depot from downtown Sugarcreek.

The depot has four offices, an employee restroom, a kitchenette, a waiting room and public restrooms.

To one side is a bay window with a traditional telegrapher/station agent office, complete with working train order board controls and historic, local railroad artifacts.

A paving-brick platform and walkways with concrete curbing surround the depot’s exterior. Gooseneck platform lights illuminate the passenger loading area and a Pennsylvania Railroad-inspired hairpin fence separates the railroad track from the main entrance driveway.

The positions of the lighted train order semaphore boards are changed frequently.

During 2009 AOS purchased former W&LE caboose No. 0222 at auction, but it sat for six years in a Minerva railroad yard because it was blocked by dozens of stored pieces rolling stock.

The caboose was finally moved to Sugarcreek on Aug. 4 in a special train.

Restoration has begun with much interior woodwork being done, including replacing old window frames and flooring.

The interior was repainted and seating upholstery renewed. Gary Busby donated an electric W&LE caboose lamp that was installed on the wall above the conductor’s work desk.

The exterior was sandblasted and given a coat of red paint. The roof, steps and handrails were painted black in order to replicating No. 0222’s original appearance when built in 1948 by the W&LE’s Ironville car shop in Toledo.

The caboose served as the “Christmas Caboose” next to the new depot.

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