With the passing of regular steam passenger excursions, many feared the end to Ohio Central steam completely, but that is not the case. Now, with the apparent sale of the railroad in the works, fears of a complete end to steam have arisen, but the railroad has allayed concerns, stating “the steamers (and numerous historic diesels) are safe, and face a bright future of operations.” In addition, the company has stated that “A lot will be happening with [the] steamers that will be good news to
steam fans and Nickel Plate Road fans alike.”
Indeed, OC steam will be alive and well this fall.
The Ohio Central Railroad’s official Steam Department website received a face lift late last 2007, incorporating a new locomotive to the department’s roster: NKP Berkshire no. 763, which had been purchased from the Virginia Museum of Transportation that same year. Chief Mechanical Officer Tim Sposato reports that the mechanical planning committee has been discussing the work required to all engines as well as laying out the rebuilding program for no. 763. In addition, Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 no. 6325 has received light repairs, with more substantial work being discussed. Additional news and a recap of 2007’s work has been also been posted.
Before the work on no. 763 commences in full stride, the railroad is wisely keeping capable Candian Pacific 4-6-2 no. 1293 and recently restored Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 no. 33 up to spec, including installing a new set of tender wheels for 1293. No. 33 had a public unveiling on April 19th, 2008 for the Ohio Rail Tourism Association when it operated a passenger train full of attendees from Sugarcreek, Ohio to the railroad’s Morgan Run shops.
The Ohio Central also operated No. 1293 at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and Byesville Scenic Railway in a number of successful outings in 2007 and the OC Steam Team will return to the Cuyahoga September 24th-28th and Byesville again October 3rd-5th.