NEWS

August 20, 2021


Kentucky Steam announces train rides behind live steam locomotive for Ravenna Railroad Festival


RAVENNA, Ky. — Live-steam railroading returns to Estill County this year as, for the first time in its history, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation will offer train rides and throttle time opportunities along its property behind an operating steam locomotive.

At the 2021 Ravenna Railroad Festival, scheduled for Sept. 11 at Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation’s “The Yard” campus, families and individuals will have the opportunity to ride behind a 90-year-old steam locomotive, the former Lehigh Valley Coal Company No. 126, nicknamed “Sadie.” The 0-6-0ST saddle tank locomotive was built by Vulcan Iron Works for the Lehigh Valley Coal Company and was put into service in May 1931. It is now owned by the Gramling family in Indiana. The coal-fired engine will be under steam and will operate short, half-hour excursions through the Kentucky Steam property, located just across the railroad tracks from Ravenna.


The excursions will take place during the annual Ravenna Railroad Festival, an event centered upon the region’s railroad history, and featuring food, crafts, arts and music. This year is the first time Estill County-based Kentucky Steam has headed up the decade-old event, a yearly celebration of local history and culture with a familiar railroad theme.

“We are thrilled to be able to host the 2021 Ravenna Railroad festival and give the general public the chance to see what we have in store for the region,” said Chris Campbell, Kentucky Steam founder and president. “The addition of public train rides is both exciting and humbling, knowing that this community can trace its origins and early history to the steam locomotive era of American railroading.”


Tickets for the planned excursions will be available to the public beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22, and will start at just $5 each. Train rides, featuring family-friendly open-air seating, will begin at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11. Those who are not the backseat driver types can choose to be the engineer, as a very limited number of tickets will also be available for riding in the cab as well as to operate the locomotive on Sunday, Sept. 12, beginning at 10 a.m. Engineer opportunities are one hour each and are extremely limited.


Tickets for events with “Sadie,” including train excursions, cab rides, coal-feeding and a lesson in starting up a steam locomotive, can be purchased at www.kentuckysteam.org/events. Corporate outing opportunities will also be available beginning Thursday, Sept. 9.

“This event will set the stage for the aggressive plan Kentucky Steam has to enhance tourism in Appalachian Kentucky,” Campbell said. “This is really just a taste of things to come. The restoration of our centerpiece locomotive, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway No. 2716, is well underway with the goal being to eventually operate that locomotive in Kentucky. The visit from ‘Sadie’ will be a great experience for this community and for our staff and volunteers here at Kentucky Steam.”


This year’s event marks the return of the Ravenna Railroad Festival after the festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s festival will open to the public at 9 a.m. on Sept. 11 with a kids parade beginning at 10 a.m. Live music will begin at noon, with performances by Jacob Neal, Troy Estes, Chelsea Nolan, The Jenkins Twins and Eddie Hughes. Kentucky Steam President Chris Campbell will also perform live music before musical headliner and Estill County native Senora May performs at 6 p.m. The full musical lineup and schedule is available at the Ravenna Railroad Festival Facebook page.


The festival will also feature a remembrance ceremony at 11 a.m. marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack upon the United States.


The festival is a reflection upon the community’s past as a hub for steam locomotives and railroad operations that extended throughout Eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian region. The very soil upon which this year’s festival will be held was once nearly the exact location of the former Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s vast locomotive service facility.


The area is now part of Kentucky Steam’s campus, dubbed “The Yard,” which is a burgeoning rail-based tourism development in Estill County at the site of the former CSX rail yard dividing Ravenna and Irvine. “The Yard” will act as a fully immersive historical/educational experience where visitors will not only learn the varying aspects of the operation of historical railroad equipment including steam locomotives, but they will also be greeted by an events venue, a brewery and restaurant, and much more. The centerpiece at The Yard will be 400-ton locomotive C&O 2716, which is currently being restored to operational condition by Kentucky Steam volunteers and staff.


“The folks that visit the festival this year may walk in the very footsteps of their ancestors who worked to keep the lifeblood of America flowing for more than a century,” Campbell said. “The spirits of those railroaders are a part of everything we’re working to accomplish here at The Yard, and I believe they will be here when we celebrate them during this year’s railroad festival.”

Only a few Vendor spots remain for booking for the 2021 event. Those interested in space for both standard booths, as well as food and beverage booths may visit www.railroadfestival.com for applications, vendor information, and guidelines. Booth size and pricing varies, with rates available for review on the applications which are due by August 31st.


Sponsorship opportunities for the 2021 event are also available. Information regarding sponsorship and vendor information may be obtained by emailing festival@kentuckysteam.org, by calling 1-833-597-8326 ext. 819, or visiting the festival website at www.railroadfestival.com.


Further information about Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, including ticketing, donation and membership opportunities may be found by visiting www.kentuckysteam.org .




July 27, 2021

IRVINE, Kentucky — Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation has been named as a recipient of COVID-19 pandemic relief funding from the nonprofit organization Kentucky Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Kentucky Steam is one of 51 cultural organizations throughout the state named as recipients of the funding through the $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Plan Act approved this year by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden. Kentucky Steam is on track to receive $20,000 in funding after being selected by Kentucky Humanities to benefit from a portion of the $800,382 total available for entities in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky Humanities ARP Grants provide funding to museums, archives, historic sites, and other nonprofit cultural entities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Businesses across the country, including not-for-profit agencies, continue to feel the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bill Goodman, Kentucky Humanities Executive Director. “This money appropriated by Congress will help many cultural organizations throughout the Commonwealth get back on their feet and adapt to the societal changes COVID-19 has brought. Kentucky Humanities is glad to work with the National Endowment for the Humanities to get these much-needed funds in the hands of humanities-based organizations throughout Kentucky.”


Kentucky Steam President Chris Campbell says the funding through the Kentucky Humanities ARP Grants is a welcomed midsummer gift which will help propel the organization’s efforts in rural Estill County, Kentucky, especially in the wake of a year where fundraising was stymied by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We at Kentucky Steam are grateful to Kentucky Humanities for believing in our mission to help promote and educate the rich railroad-based history and tradition in Estill County and all of Appalachian Kentucky,” Campbell said. “From our first conversation with the folks at Kentucky Humanities, we believed Kentucky Steam fit perfectly within their mission of telling Kentucky’s overall story, and we’re excited to be able to add another chapter to that story through our efforts. The support we’ve received from Kentucky Humanities and the efforts of our congressman Andy Barr, and senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to see this nation and this state through these difficult times mean a great deal to our organization.”

Entities eligible to receive the Kentucky Humanities ARP Grants must meet specific guidelines, including being humanities-focused and offer humanities programs that are accessible to Kentuckians and open to the public. Campbell says the educational opportunities both available and in development at Kentucky Steam’s “The Yard” campus situated between the twin cities of Irvine and Ravenna helped the organization meet Kentucky Humanities’ criteria for consideration for the possible $2,000 to $20,000 in grant funding.


“The Yard” is a burgeoning tourism development in Estill County at the site of the former CSX rail yard dividing Ravenna and Irvine. “The Yard” will act as a fully immersive historical/educational experience where visitors will not only learn the varying aspects of the operation of historical railroad equipment including steam locomotives, but they will also be greeted by an events venue, a brewery and restaurant, and much more. The centerpiece at The Yard will be steam locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio No. 2716, which is currently being restored to operational condition by Kentucky Steam volunteers and staff.

“Great things are happening at Kentucky Steam and this generous $20,000 grant from Kentucky Humanities will push those efforts even further,” Campbell said.

For a full list of those receiving Kentucky Humanities American Rescue Plan Grants, visit https://www.kyhumanities.org/programs/minigrants/american-rescue-plan-grant


Further information about Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, including membership opportunities, may be found by visiting www.kentuckysteam.org.





Kentucky Steam welcomes long-running and returning event to its campus


6/25/21


RAVENNA, Kentucky — Vendor space is now available for the upcoming Ravenna Railroad Days Festival, which, for the first time ever, is being hosted by Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.


The 2021 Ravenna Railroad Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 11 at Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation’s campus on the former CSX Transportation rail yard property off Kirkland Avenue in Irvine. Kentucky Steam President Chris Campbell says the new cooperation between the organization and the experienced festival managers with the City of Ravenna is yet another step forward for both Kentucky Steam and the railroad festival.


“It’s always a pleasure to work in conjunction with the people in the twin communities of Ravenna and Irvine,” Campbell said. “The City of Ravenna had done such an amazing job in the past with organizing and holding the festival, and we’re looking forward to seeing it held on our campus for, hopefully, years to come.”


Vendor space for this year’s railroad festival is available for booking now. Those interested in space for both standard booths, as well as food beverage may visit www.railroadfestival.com for applications, vendor information, and guidelines. Booth size and pricing varies, with rates available for review on the applications.


This year’s event marks the return of the Ravenna Railroad Festival after the festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 railroad festival will also act as a showcase of Kentucky Steam’s “The Yard,” a burgeoning tourism development in Estill County at the site of the former CSX rail yard dividing Ravenna and Irvine. “The Yard” will act as a fully-immersive historical/educational experience where visitors will not only learn the varying aspects of the operation of historical railroad equipment including steam locomotives, but they will also be greeted by an events venue, a brewery and restaurant, and much more.


Rendering of the future Yard development


Campbell says it is fitting that the Ravenna Railroad Festival, organized years ago to honor the droves of railroad employees from in and around Estill County, would eventually find a home at the very location of the former home terminal of so many of those railroaders.


“The fact that the railroad festival has landed on the Kentucky Steam campus, and that this campus is where numerous railroaders worked so hard to keep the lifeblood of this nation moving for more than a century is not lost on us,” Campbell said. “It’s very exciting that this year’s event will be the first-ever opportunity for festival-goers to literally walk in the footsteps of the railroaders who helped establish these wonderful communities of Ravenna and Irvine. We at Kentucky Steam couldn’t be more proud to partner with the City of Ravenna and to host this year’s festival.”


Sponsorship opportunities for the 2021 Ravenna Railroad Festival are also available. Information regarding sponsorship and vendor information may be obtained by emailing festival@kentuckysteam.org, by calling 1-833-597-8326 ext. 819, or visiting the festival website at www.railroadfestival.com



Further information about Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, including membership opportunities, may be found by visiting www.kentuckysteam.org.