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Age of Steam acquires B&LE 2-10-4 NEWSWIRE

By | August 5, 2019

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643Inspection7201924retouchedresized
B&LE 643 will go to the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Ohio.
Tim Sposato
SUGARCREEK, Ohio — The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek, Ohio, has acquired B&LE 643, which is the only remaining 2-10-4 Texas type steam locomotive of the 47 built for the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad.

B&LE 643 is a heavy-haul steam locomotive that was designed and built to move iron ore, coal, and other high-density commodities to and from the Great Lakes region. Built in 1944, No. 643 saw an early retirement in 1952 due to introduction of diesels to the Bessemer & Lake Erie’s locomotive roster. Fortunately, No. 643 and two other smaller steamers were preserved by the B&LE in its roundhouse in Greenville, Pa.

B&LE 643 will become the largest locomotive in the Age of Steam collection. This behemoth is just over 108 feet long, stands over 16 feet high, and weighs 308.32 tons without coal and water. Add 26 tons of coal, and 23,000 gallons of water, and B&LE 643 tops the scales at 908,720 lbs., or more than 454 tons!

Age of Steam founder the late Jerry Joe Jacobson, nicknamed B&LE 643, “The King,“ as it is believed to be one of the largest non-articulated steam locomotives in the world. It had been Jerry’s life-long desire to acquire this historic iron giant to restore and display with the other 21 steam locomotives in his collection. The Board of Directors and dedicated Staff at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum, are deeply grateful to Glenn Campbell and The Steel City Railway Historical Society for saving B&LE 643 in McKees Rocks, Pa., and for their selflessness, by assuring the locomotive’s long-lived future at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum.

Future official reports and updates about the movement of B&LE 643 from McKees Rocks to Sugarcreek will be posted on our website: www.ageofsteamroundhouse.org.


Source: Age of Steam announcement

11 thoughts on “Age of Steam acquires B&LE 2-10-4 NEWSWIRE

  1. This is terrific news! This poor guy has needed a good home for a long time. A great outcome. (Q: where is the tender?)

  2. So much of the story is missing. Years ago, Trains featured a photo of 643 and its bright future. Then, it lanquished away eventually resting on a disconnected trackage where it fell into poor condition.

  3. The King will be a fantastic addition to the Age of Steam collection. Considering NKP 763 in the collection along with GTW 6325, they now have examples of a late-model heavy tonnage hauler, fast freight hauler, and dual-purpose locomotive all under one roof. That is quite an accomplishment.

  4. Tender is where you would expect it. That track is curved. It doesn’t show in the photo but it is there.

  5. This is amazing news that this steam engine has finally found such a great home. I am sure Jerry Jacobson would be proud that his legacy now includes ‘The King’.

  6. This is wonderful news but, given it’s history, I won’t believe it until it’s in Sugarcreek.

  7. Yes, the “tender” appears to be missing in this photo!

    “Steam Locomotives have a tender behind!”

  8. One detail missing is that while the locomotive may have been built in 1943, the design dates from the late twenties. The B&LE locomotives were virtual duplicates of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy M-4 class (called Colorados on the Q).

    The last of the Q engines to run was 6315, which went out with a whimper when she threw an eccentric rod on a doubleheaded fantrip with 4-8-4 5632.

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