Posts Tagged ‘Age of Steam Roundhouse’

AOS Forces Busy Over Winter, New Tours Planned for Summer

April 10, 2021

The shop forces at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum have spent the winter working to restore former McCloud River Railroad /Yreka Western 2-8-2 No. 19.

In a report, AOS said the locomotive has been undergoing heavy repairs for quite some time that have involved taking the locomotive apart and repairing  or replacing worn out parts.

AOS said the overhaul of No. 19 will include a boiler inspection and rebuild that is expected to extend the locomotive’s life for another 15 years.

The boiler has been stripped of such external appliances as piping, jacketing and insulation, and its large flues and smaller tubes have been removed.

In addition to working on the boiler, workers have been inspecting and repairing running gear parts and components, including valve, main and side rods and their bearings.

Repairs have been made to the locomotive’s piping, spring rigging and brake rigging, and the electrical system has been rewired.

Other locomotives that received attention from the shop included former Southern Railway/Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12,

Last month No. 12 passed its Federal Railroad Administration annual inspection, including a required hydrostatic test of its boiler.

Former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy commuter coach No. 705 received minor mechanical repairs and a cosmetic make-over.

Built in 1920, the car will have its original CB&Q road number of 7158 restored when the final exterior painting occurs.

AOS said its tour season will begin on May 1 and extend through Nov. 20.

New this year is a three-hour Founder’s Tour, which provides a three-hour, behind-the-scenes exploration that will highlight the life, locomotives and legacy of AOS founder Jerry Joe Jacobson.

Also new this year is a special exhibit titled “Tools of the Trade” that will feature original artifacts and tools used by railroad shop workers.

Family-oriented events that have been added to this year’s schedule include a series of special 45-minute events most of which will begin every Saturday at 1 p.m.

The first of these family events, titled  “Story Book and Explore,” is scheduled for June 10 at 1 p.m., and will feature a museum volunteer reading aloud from Watty Piper’s classic children’s book, The Little Engine That Could.

The shorter Saturday afternoon family tours will include a presentation about how steam locomotives operate.

Participants will also get to see how a locomotive is turned on the roundhouse turntable and touring the back shop.

 “Railroad Heritage Career Day” on July 8 at 1 p.m. will involve visiting stations located throughout the museum to learn about old-time railroad workers, their tools and their skilled trades as engineers, machinists, blacksmiths and Carmen.

AOS Offering Hands on Tour on April 30

March 17, 2021

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek will offer an expanded tour on April 30 that will enable participants to help with the preparation and firing of a steam locomotive.

The Blue Flag tour will be led by Chief Mechanical Officer Tim Sposato and feature a tour of the roundhouse and collection as well as firing Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12.

Tickets are $175 and can be ordered at

The tour will be limited to 25 participants. The ticket price includes a box lunch at the Roundhouse Depot and a special gift. Participants must be at least 18 years of age.

Numerous COVID-19 pandemic procedures will be observed and are detailed at the museum’s website.

AOS Selling Tickets for 2021 Tour Season

March 4, 2021

Tickets are now being sold for public tours of the Age of Steam Roundhouse and Museum in Sugarcreek.

Tours are offered on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in May through October.

Prices are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and veterans, and $12 for children (ages 3 to 16). There is no admission charge for children under age 3 or for active duty military members who present an identification card.

All tickets must be purchased in advance and can be ordered from the museum’s website

No walk up visitors will be allowed and the tour group sizes will be limited to 10 people.

Tour participants should wait in their vehicles or the parking lot until 10 minutes before their tour time.

Visitors and staff must adhere to social distancing requirements as determined by the State of Ohio with visitors encouraged to adhere to all state-mandated requirements, including the wearing of facial masks.

Public areas such as the gift shop and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day. A deep clean is performed once a week by an outside, professional cleaning service.

AOS Sets Tours for February

February 11, 2021

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum will offer ferroequinologist tours on two Fridays during February.

Tickets for the three-hour guided tours are $75 per person. Tour dates are Feb. 19 and 26 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The tour will provide a more detailed and technical tour of the roundhouse and its collection.

This will include the collection of steam locomotives, restoration shop, machine shop, and store house.

Tour guides will provide in-depth commentary about the technical aspects concerning steam engineering, locomotive mechanics, industrial heritage, railroad history, and roundhouse architecture.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and group size is limited to 10.

Dates of the tours are subject to change due to weather conditions and may be cancelled or rescheduled.

Attendees should wear comfortable, closed- toe footwear and sign a liability waiver.

AOS Honors 2 Volunteers

December 2, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum has honored two men by naming them to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award and Master Mechanic’s Award.

Akron Railroad Club member Mike Costill of Canal Fulton won the mechanic’s award while the volunteer award went to Matt Arnold of Bolivar.

Costill is a regular member of the back-shop team and was a longtime friend of museum the late Jerry J. Jacobson.

A news release issued by the museum said Costill is often at the roundhouse for regular hours and has helped with numerous projects.

Arnold was recognized for his work as a videographer and digital media volunteer.

He contributed to several short social media videos and other virtual media during the spring and summer when the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the museum’s focus away from on-site programming and events.

Steam Saturday: A Roundhouse Full of Steamers

October 3, 2020
McCloud (Kettle Morain) 2-6-2 No. 9.

It was during a an Akron Railroad Railroad Club event – maybe the former December banquet the used to be held at the Martin Center at the University of Akron – that the late Jerry Jacobson said during an impromptu speech that there was no better site than a steam locomotive in steam sitting in front of a roundhouse.

He pledged that when ARRC came to visit his Age of Steam Roundhouse in the not too distant future that he would have a locomotive in steam for us sitting out front.

Alas, when club members made that tour on June 1, 2013, the staff was unable to have a steam locomotive steamed up for us. But it did place a locomotive on the turntable.

But we got the second best sight, which is a roundhouse full of steam locomotives.

Thousands have had the opportunity to see that for themselves since the roundhouse opened in 2011.

Occasional tours are offered and Ed Ribinskas went on one of those tours on Sept. 19 with his friend Jeff Toutman and neighbor Dan Patterson.

Here is a portfolio of photographs of what sits inside the roundhouse that Jerry built.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Wheeling & Lake Erie 0-6-0 No. 3960.


Baltimore & Ohio 0-6-0 No. 1190.
McCloud 2-8-2 No. 19.


Reading -0-4-0 (Camelback) No. 1187.
Morehead & North Fork 0-6-0 No. 12 (operational).
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 763.


Alabama, Tennessee & Northern 2-10-0 No. 401.
Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 13, Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293 and Canadian National 4-6-0 No. 1551.

AOS to Offer Events Marking Anniversary of 1950 Troop Train Collision in West Lafayette, Ohio

September 5, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum will pay tribute to soldiers who were killed in a 1950 Ohio rail disaster with a virtual event that begins on Sept. 11.

The collision on Sept. 11, 1950, between a westbound troop train and the Spirit of St. Louis of the Pennsylvania Railroad near West Lafayette killed 33 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard en route to Camp Atterburry in Indiana.

AOS said in a news release that visitors to its website will be able to view a series of posts and videos exploring aspects of wartime railroading, historic materials related to that history, and information and images depicting the 1950 collision.

The posts will begin on Sept. 11 and be completed the next day.

The event is being undertaken in partnership with the West Lafayette Historical Society, which has an extensive collection of historic materials relating to 1950 crash.

These include original newspaper accounts, historic newspaper press photographs, personal photos, and artifacts from the wreck site.

These items will be displayed in the Roundhouse’s Depot exhibit building on public tour days of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during September and October.

What It Used to Look Like

August 6, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse and Museum this week took delivery of a former Reading Camelback steam locomotive that it won in an auction conducted by the Strasburg Rail Road. Here is a photo of that locomotive made on Aug. 24, 1985, at Strasburg during the 1985 National Railway Historical Society convention. The Camelback was on display with its cab intact.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

AoSRM Takes Delivery of ‘Camelback’ Locomotive

August 5, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek this week completed delivery of a rare Reading Railroad “Camelback” steam locomotive.

No. 1187 is the 23rd steam locomotive acquired by AoSRM and one of only three Camelbacks still existing.

The museum acquired the locomotive during a closed bid auction conducted by the Strasburg Rail Road.

The locomotive and its tender were moved to Ohio by truck. A third truck carrying parts is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

“This Reading 0-4-0 Camelback is a unique, unusual and significant type of steam locomotive that is a welcome addition to the Age of Steam Roundhouse,” said William Strawn, chairman of the board of directors of the Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation.

“This tiny switch engine rolled on just 4 driving wheels and was able to negotiate tight curves to move railroad cars at factories or waterfront docks,” he said.

Built in 1903, No. 1187 was the last Camelback used in regular freight railroad service before its 1962 retirement. It last operated under steam in 1967.

The locomotive began service as a Philadelphia & Reading Railroad 0-4-0 steam switcher that was specially designed to burn the smokeless anthracite “hard coal” mined in eastern Pennsylvania.

Camelbacks needed a special, wider firebox to burn anthracite coal with its lower heating value than found in other types of coal.

Consequently, engineers operated the locomotive inside a separate cab mounted on top of the boiler.

It was this hump-back appearance resembling the desert-dwelling animal that gave rise to their nickname, “Camelback.” Firemen shoveled coal into the wide firebox in the usual manner, but from their own small, open-sided cab located at the back of the locomotive.

“Even though No. 1187 appears in rough shape, AoSRM has all of its parts except for its wood cab that has rotted away,” said Tim Sposato, chief mechanical Officer at AoSRM.

“Luckily, included with the locomotive’s purchase is the original drawing of No. 1187’s cab. That will be a huge help in AoSRM’s cosmetic restoration of this rare little switcher.”

AOS Wins Bidding for Camelback Locomotive

July 16, 2020

An E&G Brooke Camelback locomotive at Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, in 1958. (Photo courtesy of Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum)

The Age of Steam Roundhouse has acquired another steam locomotive for its collection.

AOS was the high bidder for a “Camelback” steam locomotive that was sold this week during a sealed bid auction conducted at the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

In a news release, AOS declined to disclose the amount of its winning bid.

No. 1187 is a former Philadelphia & Reading Railroad 0-4-0 steam switcher constructed in 1903 that burned anthracite coal mined in eastern part of Pennsylvania.

It was the last Camelback steam locomotive used in regular Interstate Commerce Commission railroad service one of just three such Camelbacks still in existence.

“The addition of this historically significant locomotive to the museum’s collection was important due to our founder Jerry Joe Jacobson’s long desire to acquire, restore and display it at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum,” said AOS Executive Director Noel Poirier in a statement.

The news release said that because of the special firebox construction needed by these Camelbacks to burn anthracite coal with its lower heating value than found in other types of coal, the engineer had to sit and operate the locomotive in a separate cab mounted on top of the boiler instead of being situated at the back end of the boiler.

This hump-back appearance gave rise to the Camelback nickname.

The fireman shoveled coal into the firebox in the usual manner, but from a small, open-side cab located where the locomotive’s larger cab was normally located.

Having the engineer and fireman working in separate locations could be dangerous.

Engineers were sitting atop a Camelback’s hot boiler and thus roasted during the summer. The fireman working in an open-air cab during the winter was exposed to extreme cold.

“Even though Camelback steam locomotives were operated primarily on a dozen railroads back East, they were also used on railroads out West, in Maine, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and even up in Canada,” Poirier said.

“During the 1880s, three Camelbacks were operated on the predecessor of the railroad that borders our Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum property here in Sugar Creek.”