The Age of Steam Roundhouse located in the countryside outside of Sugarcreek, Ohio is the result of a single man’s passion for trains. Jerry Joe Jacobson had a lifelong interest in trains, and over the years collected numerous steam and diesel engines,, along with a number of cars.
In 2011 they completed the roundhouse to house the collection. I had read about this online and sent an email querying about visiting. The email I received back detailed how they only opened to large group tours, but that sometime in the summer they would offer up public tours – so I signed up and a few months later had my tour.
I received back a lengthy waiver detailing numerous don’ts for the visit. While giving me pause we headed out. Upon arriving we had yet another lengthy warning speech about safety (don’t step on a rail you might twist an ankle!) and numerous other things. Now I was concerned it was going to feel like a school field trip we headed out.
Thankfully I was very wrong once we went out on our tour. Our primary tour guide was the son of Jerry (who passed away a year or so ago). He was informative, engaging and lead us throughout the facility – although they did group us into 3 large piles of 30+ people.
The roundhouse is 48,000 square feet with space for 18 locomotives. Built out of masonry and heavy timbers it is an impressive sight.
Our first stop was the shop where they restore the locomotives.
It was here we got our first close view of the impressive doors, each weighing over 2000 pounds (1000 kilograms). They are proud that they are so well balanced you can close them with 1 finger.
Also outside is the large water tank and delivery system that steam locomotives require.
Returning back inside we toured the numerous engines housed there.
A couple of the middle bays were free of trains to give a nice overview of the building.
The assistants to the tour were all dressed for the part – and helpful.
Each bay has a chimney to capture the significant smoke that a steam locomotive puts out. Note the impressive ceiling.
They had a variety of engines, although to be fair with the large crowd you could either a) be up front where you could hear the description but have 35 people in the way of the photos or b) hang back and get nice photos but no description. One of the numerous opening instructions were no talking to each other or the other guides so you don’t disrupt the tour – they have a schedule to keep.
Outside are the doors to the turntable – a very impressive sight remembering each of the doors (36 in all) are over 2000 pounds.
The tracks to the turntable with an engine on the table.
One of the ‘pushers’ (to keep everyone in line) was Jerry – he and the others were really great and helpful (I whispered my questions!). After the tour I was able to speak to Jerry further finding him a very interesting man.
Returning back inside – another great view.
A close up of one of the engines and the ceiling.
They did have a couple of small display of ancillary railroad items.
A final look inside.
A view from outside the fence surrounding the property. The Age of Steam Roundhouse is an amazing place well worth the visit, even with the extensive (silly) warnings and processes and slightly expensive cost to attend.