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As it Once Was

As it once was, that was the theme of the charter I organized at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio on November 13th 2021. It started several months before that when I was asked by Age of Steam to organize an in house photo charter. I only had 3 months to get everything planned out so I quickly set to work. Finally, the morning of the 13th arrived and it was time to see if the work had paid off.


As photographers arrived, we held a safety briefing in the gift shop/depot. Then, it was off to the roundhouse. The locomotive crew began to bring Morehead and Northfork number 12 to life, breaking the bank, starting the air pump and other appliances. Suddenly, the roundhouse was full of the ambiance of the steam era. After an hour or so, the crew backed number 12 out of the roundhouse and onto the table.

Photographers followed as the crew continued to prepare the 12 for its work on the railroad. That work wasn't long in coming. Cars needed switched in the yard and the local grocery warehouse had a car of cabbages ordered in and an empty ordered out.


After the crew spent the morning switching, photographers were treated to a tour of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway backshop in Brewster, Ohio. The shop was opened in the spring of 1910. In addition to heavy overhaul work, Brewster is the birthplace of 50 home built switchers of both 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 wheel arrangement. Today, the shop is one of the last remaining steam backshops still performing heavy overhaul on locomotives. In addition to the shop, photographers were also given a rare tour of the main office building of the W&LE, opened on June 1, 1914. Like the shop, it still serves in its intended role. After our time in Brewster, photographers returned to the Age of Steam Roundhouse for the afternoon session.


The afternoon started at the depot with passengers getting on and off the local passenger train. Some small scenes were set up on the train as well. We turned our attention to number 12 again as it moved about the terminal. Finally, as the sun went down, number 12 was spotted for coal and water after a busy day in the yard. Eventually, the crew moved the 12 onto the turntable and into the roundhouse. The day concluded as crews put the locomotive to bed. Truly as day as it once was in the era of steam railroading.


A special thank you goes out to the employees and volunteers at the Age of Steam Roundhouse. They gave me a roundhouse full of locomotives, a yard full of cars and several other structures to use. Also, thank you to all the photographers who attended.










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