Local man helps build railroad roundhouse

| April 10, 2013

COSHOCTON – In 2008, Bob Brode of Coshocton and his company were asked to take part in a once in a lifetime project.

At the request of Jerry Joe Jacobson, Brode was named project manager and his contracting and engineering business, W.M. Brode Co. was chosen to be the management firm and general contractors for the Age of Steam Roundhouse.

Jacobson owned the Ohio Central Railroad System until 2008. After he sold the company, he kept some steam locomotives, diesels, passenger and special-use cars and wanted a roundhouse to store and make repairs on his collection.

The first roundhouse was said to have been built in 1839 and Brode believes one had not been built since the 1950s. Jacobson, however, wanted his roundhouse to be as authentic as possible and Brode gladly took the challenge.

“We had quite a team that we selected because of the quality of their work, competitiveness and most importantly their attention to safety,” Brode said. “We spent tens of thousands of hours on the project without a single recordable accident.”

Work on the roundhouse in Sugarcreek started in 2008 and was completed in 2012. The facility looks like it is from the 1920s with its timber framing, red bricks and all-wood water reservoir and septic system.

One of the many key parts of construction that Brode was involved with was the turntable that allowed people to rotate the old steam locomotives which only point and move in one direction.

“The owner’s staff located it in Maryland,” Brode said. “It was in use up until the early 90s and was in pretty brutal shape, but we reconditioned it and six months later had it back in service.”

His favorite part of the project was just having the opportunity to participate in it.

“A project like this becomes part of one’s legacy. We designed and built a turntable and roundhouse just like one that hadn’t been built in more than 50 or 60 years,” Brode said.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse is private and not open to the public but some groups have been allowed to request tours. For more on the facility, visit www.ageofsteamroundhouse.com.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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