When the ARRC Used to Ride the Ohio Central

Sunrise at Dennison

The boilers are cold now. Smoke no longer billows from the stacks and steam doesn’t escape and create enormous clouds during a blow down.

The steam locomotives of Jerry Jacobson are now clustered in a roundhouse in Sugarcreek after he got out of the railroad business by selling the Ohio Central System to Genesee & Wyoming.

G&W is a massive corporation and has no need for the kind of down-home ways that Jerry’s railroad used to do business by.

Between 1991 and 2006 Jerry would allow the ARRC to use his railroad once a year in the fall, allowing the club to travel behind one of his steamers.

The last of those trips occurred on Oct. 7, 2006, and it was one of the best. It was an all-day affair featuring the 1293, a 4-6-2 that was built for Canadian Pacific.

The day began at dawn in Dennison and by the time we returned on a sun-splashed late afternoon we had enjoyed seven photo runbys at five locations.

But my favorite image of the day wasn’t made during any of those runbys.

It was made just after sunrise as the 1293 patiently waited to go to work that morning. On the other end of the train was RS18 No. 1800, which would lead the ARRC excursion train east out of town on the former Panhandle mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Those ARRC excursions on the Ohio Central are just memories now, but oh what memories they are.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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