Saturday, August 24, 2013

Today's Train of Thought- Way to Go Ohio, Aug 24th 2013

Today's Train of Thought takes us to the verdant fields in the eastern corner of the Buckeye State.

Referred to in tourism literature as the 'Little Switzerland of Ohio', Sugarcreek, OH is known for its gently rolling hills, Amish and Swiss background and until a few years ago, the home of Ohio Central's steam program. The public excursions stopped with the Genesee & Wyoming acquisition of the Ohio Central. However the OHCR's previous owner, Jerry Jacobson, retained his considerable collection of former Ohio Central steam locomotives as part of the deal.

Not only did Jacobson retain his steam fleet, he also had a roundhouse constructed from scratch to house everything. Although he made it clear from the outset that he wouldn't be operating excursions out of Sugarcreek like before, the steam locomotives housed in what would be called the Age of Steam roundhouse would be made available to other scenic and tourist railroads in the region, including the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic outside of Cleveland.

Of course, as the Age of Steam roundhouse is being constructed, there's still a railroad for Genesee & Wyoming to run. The OHCR line through Sugarcreek runs north-south through the gently rolling hills (hence the 'Little Switzerland' moniker) between their Coshocton hub and the Wheeling & Lake Erie interchange in Brewster, OH. Commodities hauled include coal, steel, grain and aggregates- and with ongoing drilling and exploration of the Utica Shale, there's potential for additional traffic including pipe and fracking sand.

Here, contributor Richard Thompson caught Ohio Central B23S-7 #4093 and a trailing Super 7 trundling past a cornfield with a southbound mixed freight outside of Sugarcreek, OH on July 30th 2012. The two-unit lashup represents a sort of 'before and after' of the Ohio Central with the trailing unit in GWRR orange and black.

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