Posts Tagged ‘steam locomotives’

Summer of Steam Set at SRI in Owosso

June 8, 2018

The Steam Railroading Institute has set its summer slate of programming that will include a visit by Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126.

The 0-6-0ST will offer train rides and hand on the throttle experiences in Owosso, Michigan.

Hands on the Throttle will be offered on June 8, 10, 15, 22 and 23; on July 6; and on Sept. 7 and 9.

Trains rides behind the Vulcan-built locomotive will be offered on all of those dates as well as June 9, July 7 and Sept. 8.

Tickets for the train rides are $8 for coach and $12 for the caboose. The hands on the throttle tickets are $160 for a half-hour of running time. Ticket prices do not include a processing fee.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Visitors Center front desk or by calling 989-399-7589.


C&NW 175 Arriving at SRI in Pieces

June 8, 2018

It may be arriving in pieces, but former Chicago & North Western 4-6-0 No. 175 is making its way to its new home at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan.

The boiler of the R-1 class engine was delivered separately from the running gear on the journey by truck from the Mineral Range Railroad in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Altogether, the 175 was disassembled into four components of parts. The boiler had to be modified so that it would stay beneath the 45-ton load limit of the Mackinac Bridge.

The only other alternative to using the bridge would have been to use the carferry SS Badger between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan, or to truck the locomotive around Lake Michigan through Illinois and Indiana.

Permits would have been required for each state through which the boiler passed.

No. 175 was the last steam locomotive operated by the C&NW, pulling an excursion in 1957.

Built by the Schenectady Works in 1908, it spent much of its life working on C&NW lines in the Upper Peninsula. It is one of three R-1s still in existence.

SRI, which also owns Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225, plans to restore the 175 to operating condition at an estimated cost of $750,000.

Once operating, the 175 will be able to travel to places on the Great Lakes Central that are off limits to the larger No. 1225, including north of Cadillac, Michigan.

Finally Seeing the 4070 in Person

May 21, 2018

Former Grand Trunk Western No. 4070 is in a state of disassembly at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society roundhouse.

The tender for the 4070 has been separated from the engine and sits on an adjacent track.

The cab of the 4070 awaits some restoration.

Sometimes you hear and read so much about something that you think you’ve experienced it when you actually haven’t.

Such is the case with me and former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.

I’ve seen numerous photographs and videos of the light Mikado, which is best known in Northeast Ohio for having operated on the Cuyahoga Valley Line (now known as the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad) between 1975 and 1990.

It has figured prominently in many stories I’ve heard told by railfans. Some members of the Akron Railroad Club worked aboard the 4070 during its CVL days.

But I had never seen the 4070 in the flesh until last Friday.

Since breaking down in September 1990, the 4070 has been at the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland that is the home of the locomotive’s owner, the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

MRPS has been working toward restoring the 4070 to operating condition, but it has been a long, slow slog that is far from complete. Lack of money has been a primary culprit.

Although the MRPS holds regular open houses at its roundhouse during the summer, I’d never been there, only driven past it once on a city street.

But the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held its May meeting there last Friday and that gave me the opportunity to see something I had heard much about.

The 4070 these days is in a state of disassembly. Its cab is in one location, one set of driver wheels in another place and the the bulk of engine is sitting just beyond the turntable.

I had pictured the 4070 being inside a dark roundhouse stall, but that wasn’t the case.

It doesn’t look much like a steam locomotive except for its boiler and wheels.

No one during the RRE meeting provided a status report on the 4070s’s restoration.

But a thermometer-like graphic on the MRPS website tells the story. The society’s goal is to raise $1.2 million for restoration of the 4070. The graphic shows that $5,545 has been raised.

And what if the society was to meet that goal and finish the restoration work?

Who knows what would be the next step. Perhaps the 4070 could do an encore appearance on the CVSR.

But nothing is certain. So the hulk of the 4070 sits outside, perhaps bits of pieces of restoration being done here and there.

To borrow a line from a song by the roots music group The Steel Wheels, “I’ve got a long ways to go. And a long road behind.”

Levin Heading Effort to Restore PRR K4s

May 11, 2018

An effort to restore former Pennsylvania Railroad K4s 4-6-2 No. 1361 kicked off this week.

Bennett Levin, who owns a pair of PRR passenger diesels, is behind the effort to ramp up the restoration effort.

Speaking to the 50th anniversary convention of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Levin said the official state locomotive of Pennsylvania needs a new boiler and its axles must be converted to roller bearings.

Levin said new boiler would cost at least $1 million with the money coming from private sources.

Former Norfolk Southern CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman is reportedly helping to support the restoration.

“We believe there are financial partners out there to sustain the operation,” Levin said. “There is movement going forward.”

Levin said once the 1361 is restored that it will be used to pull a replica 1940s and 1950s Pennsy passengers train in Pennsylvania.

No. 1361 was displayed at Horseshoe Curve near Altoona between 1957 and 1985.

The locomotive was then restored to operating condition and pulled excursion trains before an axle problem sidelined it 1988.

Partial restoration was done at Steamtown and the East Broad Top shops in Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, but the locomotive has been in a state of disassembly for more than 20 years.

Some further work has been done on the boiler and other components in Altoona in recent years.

Levin acknowledged that the operating environment for historic equipment is “fragile.”

Amtrak canceled a special he had planned to operate to the PRRT&HS convention with his PRR E8A locomotives and passenger cars.

He said he will work for a legislative remedy to alleviate liability insurance issues that hinder excursion trains so that excursion operators no longer need Amtrak’s liability insurance to use freight railroad tracks.

SRI Offering Hand on Throttle Experiences

May 2, 2018

The Steam Railroading Institute of Owosso, Michigan, is offering opportunities this year to operate a steam locomotive for a half-hour.

Participants will be able to operate a steam locomotive on tracks at the SRI facility. No previous locomotive experience is required, but you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

Tickets are $160 to operate Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126, an 87-year-old coal-fired tank engine.

Operating dates are June 8, 10 and 15, July 6 and Sept. 6 and 9.

Tickets are $550 to operate Pere Marquette No. 1225, a 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive.

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 989-399-7589.

AOS to Allow Regular Public Tours

May 1, 2018

The Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek will begin allowing public group tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting May 3.

Admission is $20 payable in cash or check, but not via credit card.

AOS also announced an end to the prohibition on non-commercial photography by amateur photographers of the grounds and collection of the roundhouse.

Group tours will be offered through Oct. 27. Interested parties should use the “Contact Us” page at the website

Tours for individuals and small groups will be offered on June 9 at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m., comprising the same content as that offered to larger groups.

Tour participants must be over the age of 5, wear closed-toe shoes and old clothing, and sign a liability waiver.

The roundhouse was founded in 2012 by the late Jerry Jacobson, a former life member of the Akron Railroad Club and the head of the Ohio Central System before its sale to Genesee & Wyoming.

The 18-stall roundhouse features a 115-foot turntable, 20 steam locomotives and a fully outfitted backshop.

Michigan Steamer Being Cosmetically Restored

April 28, 2018

A 19th century steam locomotive in Port Huron, Michigan, has been moved in preparation for a cosmetic restoration

The D.B. Harrington, a 2-4-0 built in 1878 by Porter, Bell & Company, has been in storage since 1992.

The locomotive was built for the 3-foot gauge Port Huron & Northwestern Railway, which used it to haul freight to Sand Beach (now Harbor Beach), and Port Austin, Michigan.

After restoration, the Harrington will be displayed along the Port Huron waterfront.

The restoration of the engine is being done by Streamline Historic Services at St. Clair County Community College. The tender will be rebuilt by Gemini Industries in Dover, Ohio.

Funding for the restoration is coming from a $25,000 grant from Canadian National’s community impact program and another grant via the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.

Donations toward the restoration costs can be made at

PRR Steam Locomotive Print Offered to Donors

April 26, 2018

A print featuring five historic Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives is being offered by The Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania as a fundraiser to help pay to stabilize five locomotives in the museum’s collection.

The print is a reproduction of a watercolor painting made by artist Peter Lerro Jr.

Depicted are M1b No. 6755, K4s No. 3750, L1s No. 520, H10s No. 7688, and B6sb No. 1670.

Those making a donation of $250 or more will receive a limited edition, signed and numbered reproduction of the painting, known as “Ready For The Roundhouse.”

The Friends group has $190,000 of the $250,000 needed to have the five locomotives media blasted, painted and repaired.

A form to be filled out in order to make a donation can be obtained at the museum’s website at or by calling 717-687-8628.

Chasing Steam, Amtrak, NS in Pennsylvania

April 25, 2018

Here are a few are a few highlights from this past weekend. Jeff [Troutman] and myself left about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Since I drove I made reservations for a Microtel in Clarion, Pennsylvania. We got there about 5:15 p.m.

I wanted to be on the road by 7 a.m. Saturday so we would get to Summerhill to get Amtrak No. 42 since it would depart Johnstown at 9:03 a.m.

Breakfast started at 6:30 a.m., which was perfect. But ice and fogged up windows from overnight delayed our departure by 20 minutes.

Jeff kept checking Julie as we were heading on Pennsylvania Route 219. We were on the far bridge and guess who was about to go under us.

I knew it was P42DC engine No. 86 on head end. And exactly like Agent 86 Maxwell Smart we missed it by that much.

As you can see in photo No. 1 the lighting was perfect of the empty tracks.

Photo No. 2 is of the Everett steam train at Brook Mills on the line heading to Roaring Spring.

Photo No. 3 is at Roaring Spring. There are two photo lines including the road crossing where I shot last September with the station and the Pennsylvania Railroad caboose.

Where I am and looking down to my right I was amazed at what I saw that I never noticed twice last September and last May: A double semaphore turned with slight foliage somewhat hiding it.

Photo 5 shows Everett No. 11 on the return trip from Martinsburg at Route 36 just southeast of Roaring Spring.

After eating lunch we went to Tyrone, Pennsylvania, where we photographed the cabooses located on what used to be the east leg of the wye.

The beautiful stone memorial is in a park between the cabooses and the station.

Saturday afternoon found us in Fostoria, Pennsylvania, along the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern. This time Amtrak did not elude us.

On Sunday morning it was back to Fostoria to catch Amtrak No. 42 passing beneath the PRR position light signals.

We then spent a little over three hours at Horseshoe Curve before heading home. We saw eight trains and two helper movements.

What was unusual was that the first three trains were two eastbound loaded coal hoppers and one empty hopper train.

Again, the weather was perfect and it was tough to leave.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas



Roaring Into Roaring Springs

April 25, 2018

Akron Railroad Club members Ed Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman traveled to central Pennsylvania to chase the Everett Railroad’s steam locomotive. It is shown above coming into Roaring Springs.

Photographs by Jeff Troutman