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November 2020

Christmas Time is Here Again!

   Christmas time is fast approaching and Midwest is presently in the planning stages to determine when we may hold individual group events along with how to maintain state mandates for safety.

     Most likely, reservations for groups of ten or less will need to be made on line through the Etix link with reserved time slots for day and time. Because of ongoing construction projects at the roundhouse, outside displays will be on a smaller scale than last year, but a train ride will still be offered. Santa and the Grinch have the roundhouse on their schedule but due to safety considerations will most likely not be available for individual visitation or close up photos. Santa's elves are working out a plan for safe interactions and photo ops.

     To maintain safety, individual groups will most likely be asked to remain in their cars upon arrival while one member of the group checks in at the roundhouse. After check-in, a Midwest tour guide will lead the group from their cars through the tour and train ride, and after their interaction with Santa be asked to return to their cars to avoid overlapping of groups. As always, masks will be required and plenty of hand sanitizer will be available.

     Final arrangements will be posted shortly through social media on our Midwest and 4070 Facebook pages as well as our web site. If you have any suggestions that can help us hold successful events while maintaining a safe environment, please let us know. You can send the editor an email at and we will seriously consider all suggestions.
"The Phantom Hand"
The season's first episode of the Travel Channel series "The Holzer Files" aired Thursday night October 29th at 11:00pm and anyone that watched was treated to an interesting depiction of haunted Cleveland.  The show, titled "The Phantom Hand", revolves around present day ghost hunters that revisit files from the past by Hans Holzer, one of their early predecessors, using modern paranormal equipment and a medium. Without giving away the whole story, their search leads them to the B&O Roundhouse where they make some discoveries that will give you goosebumps. 

Many visitors and volunteers at Midwest are well aware of the paranormal activities experienced around the property and this episode adds to the many that have been filmed and aired previously. We may be prejudiced, however we do believe that the roundhouse was the star of the show. It is definitely worth watching.

Lake Midwest (the Other Great Lake)

Concrete replacement of the rotted ties on the turntable ring has fallen behind schedule due to the reemergence of Lake Midwest. Flooding of the pit was to be eliminated by replacing broken sewer lines and then cleaning them out thoroughly. Difficulties encountered due to the massive amount of slag below the surface and encountering additional blockages on the property topped with the  excessive rainfall in late October resulted in what can be seen in the above photos. Pumps are once again being employed to drain the water, but the problem will remain until the sewer problems are fixed. Drain pipe replacement beneath the turntable pit has been completed and once the weather cooperates, volunteers will begin the process of relaying the bricks that were torn out for the project.

Brake"person" Classes Are Underway

   Midwest brakeman classes for 2020 are underway with the first class taking place at the roundhouse on Wednesday October 29th in the evening. The classes are being well attended by our younger members and the group this year shows our diversity with two prospective brakewomen in the group.  

     The class is being conducted by MRPS President Steve Emling with the assistance of Trustee Bud Ramkey, both certified engineers. Besides classroom time, actual hands-on training takes place in the yard during all types of weather during the day and in the evening, giving the attendees a taste of what they have to look forward to when being part of an operating crew.

     Upon completing the classes, everyone will need to pass a test and then put in working hours alongside a certified brakeman before gaining their actual certification.
The prospective brakepersons took to the yard during classes last month for some hands on training under the watchful eyes of Bud Ramkey. All were armed with lanterns as everyone got a taste of night time duty.

Midwest Forms Safety Committee

   To add an exclamation point to the recently restored signage in the roundhouse, Midwest has instituted a Safety Committee to oversee that safe conditions are maintained and safe practices are followed by everyone working on site.

     The committee, currently consisting of Board members Mark Billey and Mitch Karibinus, is doing a thorough review of the work areas to pinpoint safety hazards that need to be corrected as well as unsafe practices by volunteers and contractors that must be addressed. Every member and volunteer that works on site must attend an annual safety class before being allowed to participate on work crews. That has been the standard policy for years. Midwest has focused its' efforts on physical plant improvements that eliminated recurring violations. Certain trip hazards have been alleviated with the installation of new overhead air lines emanating from the outdoor compressor hut into the machine shop and stalls that has cut down greatly on many of the air lines that crossed aisleways and walkways.

     Another important responsibility of the committee is to inspect the equipment and tools that are used on a daily basis to insure their integrity. For example, chains, straps and ladders that are found to be deficient in any way are to be taken out of service and destroyed or otherwise disposed of.  Making sure that all flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel as well as all gases like propane, oxygen and acetylene are stored and handled properly is also at the top of their list.

     Safety has always been the number one priority at Midwest and it is only natural that we emphasize it with the committee that will keep it at the forefront. Any active members that would like to be part of the Safety Committee to assist in this endeavor can contact the office.

4070 Restoration Scrapbook

The automatic oiler from 4070 was recently disassembled for inspection and possible rebuild. During the inspection it was discovered that some teeth of the drive gear were damaged and broken off. After inspection and reassembly with new or repaired parts the oiler will be put in storage for reassembly on the locomotive.
All of the steel plates for the front of the cab have been plasma cut by Lincoln Electric and are now on site ready for installation. That work will begin once volunteers have checked and re-squared the cab to ensure its' structural integrity.
The original air tanks from 4070 were uncovered during the cleaning out of the warehouse and moved outside. Although they cannot be used during the restoration because they are riveted construction, they will serve as models to assist in construction new welded tanks. Some of the mounting brackets for the tanks have already been cleaned and will be moved into storage once the pallet racks have been reassembled in the warehouse.
4070 Restoration Fund
  Recent cash donations in the fare box at the roundhouse to the 4070 Restoration Fund have totaled just over $175. We are doing what we can with the limited resources available by making use of materials such as sheet metal donated by Wall Street Recycling and services such as plasma cutting donated by Lincoln Electric. While monetary donations are much needed and always welcome, we are happy to accept donations of materials and services and will gladly discuss sponsorships to help attain our ultimate goal of getting 4070 back in service. All donations are tax deductible.
America Fund
     There have been no new donations recently to the America Fund. The Board of MRPS wishes to thank everyone for their kind contributions to this project to date and would like to remind everyone that Midwest is still accepting donations that will be used to complete the work that has been ongoing. A large portion of the donated funds has already been spent on upgrading and repairing interior plumbing, wiring and air conditioning. Still in process is kitchen modernization with new appliances yet to be purchased. All donations are tax deductible.
Cracked and peeling paint on one side of "America" is currently undergoing repair while the car sits idle in the roundhouse. Interior restoration of the car has slowed with Midwest's main focus on outdoor projects while the weather remains mild but will resume with more emphasis during the winter months with the goal for completion being Spring of 2021.

In Memoriam

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of longtime member and Trustee, Tom Hunt. Tom was always on hand to help out on our many projects, and as a retired carpenter, spearheaded the installation of the new roundhouse doors as well as the turntable control house and work in stalls 6 through 10. Visitors will recognize Tom as Santa Claus at our Christmas events as well as being the man inside the Easter Bunny at Easter. Tom will be sorely missed.

Happenings "aROUND the HOUSE"

Throughout the month of October excavation was ongoing in the turntable pit and outside the pit toward the main catch basin northward near the corner of the roundhouse. The task was made more difficult by the huge amount of slag beneath the surface and the many layers of piping running in different directions that was laid over the years. Note that the construction of the original catch basins were built up using the same bricks that were used in the turntable.
A unique piece of railroad paraphernalia was uncovered during reorganization of the warehouse in October. The cast iron crossbuck dates back to the 1920's and was a predecessor to those commonly seen today. This rare item will one day be put on display within the yard.
Our friends at American Steam Railroad hosted a small tour recently for a model railroad group from Pennsylvania. The attendees main focus was the restoration of Reading 2100, but they were also treated to a tour of the roundhouse and yard and enjoyed a caboose ride behind our Alco locomotive 123. It was a great way to spend a gloomy Saturday.
Although we are still not holding large group events at Midwest, many people have booked private tours on line through Etix. These small family groups are given a complete tour by one of Midwest's knowledgeable tour guides followed by a caboose ride. Booking a tour helps somewhat to offset lost revenue due to the covid19 mandated cancellations.
There are many interesting things to see when wandering the grounds at Midwest. A number of railroad signals sit outside while we try to determine where on site they may be constructed as operating displays for future tours and events.
This photo of the roundhouse was taken looking south at the outside wall of stalls 6 through 10. Restoration is ongoing on the opposite side and eventually some much needed work will be performed on the outside as well.
While in the process of cleaning out the storage shed and warehouse, volunteers uncovered many items that had been buried beneath parts and items of historical significance. The unusual shaped item leaning against the shelving (above) is part of a mail bag retrieval  assembly that was used on post office cars to grab mail bags from stationary posts onto moving trains. 
The many photos of the warehouse interior that have been published recently in Marker Lights and on our social media posts indicate the architectural significance of the original B&O warehouse building that was constructed in the early 20th century. Recent efforts of our volunteer work crews to clean it out and power wash the interior have revealed many features that were buried behind what was stored. One item that wasn't hidden but stands out against the background is the original wooden door to the main storage room. Another is the second floor as can be seen above..

Run a Locomotive for an Hour!

Sit at the throttle of our vintage Alco RS3 locomotive under the watchful eyes of a Midwest engineer. An experience that you will never forget! 
If you are looking for a unique experience or a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person, consider our "Run a Locomotive for an Hour" program. People travel all over the country for an opportunity to do just what we offer here at MRPS in your own back yard. The cost is just $375 but members pay a discounted rate of only $175. Interested? Contact us at 216-781-3629 or email us at

Help Needed

Volunteers with skills and/or experience in the following areas are always needed.  Please stop by and lend a hand. 
Diesel Mechanics 
Project Managers 
Experienced Welders 
Dues are annual (1 year) 
SENIOR (55 OR OLDER)  $40.00 
PLATINUM LEVEL............$500.00 


Proud Partners of Midwest Railway Preservation Society

Proud Sponsors of Midwest Railway Preservation Society

Steve Emling, President
Steve Korpos Jr., Executive Director
Ken Yandek, Chairman of the Board
Karen Bates, Recording Secretary
Greg Antz
Mark Billey
Mitch Karibinus
Ken McCown
Dale Pietrasz
Bud Ramkey
Petar Stojsavljevic
Editor and Chief Writer: Ken Yandek
Send comments and feedback to:



Open House Dates

Small group tours are available by appointment only. Tickets can be purchased through Etix in one hour time slots. Follow the link that appears in our social media posts to reserve yours.  Saturday tours also include a train ride on a caboose.

Individual group events for Christmas
are in the planning stage and soon to be scheduled.
Watch for upcoming announcements.


Midwest Railway Preservation Society.
Historic B&O Roundhouse
2800 W. 3 rd  Street
Cleveland, OH 44113 
Get guided tours of the site 
Learn how railroads helped make Cleveland an industrial giant 
Climb on board an original, elegant “parlor coach” from the 1920's 
Hear the history of the famous “4070” steam locomotive 
Share in our vision to save the Roundhouse 
Visit our gift shop 
Donation for Admission:  $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under 
Free admission to all members in good standing 
All proceeds to be used for Roundhouse restoration efforts 
Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and closed-toe shoes as the site is still in rough condition.  
Children must be under the supervision of an adult at ALL times.  Visitors with disabilities are  
Welcome but should know that the site and equipment are NOT ADA-accessible. 
For more information, call (216) 781-3629  

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MARKER LIGHTS is the official publication of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society (MRPS), an Ohio not-for-profit corporation and holder of a 501 © designation of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, contributions to MRPS are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the code. The principle location is the Roundhouse restoration facility at 2800 West 3rd Street, Cleveland, Ohio. The business address is also 2800 West 3rd Street Cleveland, Ohio.
Midwest Railway Preservation Society's mission is to collect, preserve, restore, display, and operate railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of the public. Members must be 18 years or older.
Copyright © 2020 Midwest Railway Preservation Society, All rights reserved.

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