Kentucky Steam invites public to open house event

IRVINE, Kentucky — Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation will open its doors to the public next weekend to showcase the progress being made on the group’s burgeoning tourism project in Estill County.


On June 12, the Irvine-based non-profit will host an open house event at its campus at the former CSX railroad yard in Ravenna, where the group is actively restoring a historic steam locomotive to operational condition. Visitors will be given walking tours at noon and 3 p.m. that Saturday of Kentucky Steam’s grounds and shop areas where the steam locomotive, former Chesapeake and Ohio Railway No. 2716, is being rebuilt and restored. Those taking the tour will even be given the opportunity to climb aboard the nearly-80-year-old locomotive, which was brought to Estill County in summer 2019.

The 2716 will eventually be the centerpiece of Kentucky Steam’s multi-purpose campus, named “The Yard,” which will also include an open-air concert venue, a restaurant and a brewery. Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation President Chris Campbell says the open house is a good opportunity for the public to see the organization’s progress firsthand.

“We want people to come in and get reacquainted with this project,” Campbell said. “Open house events like this are new to us again after the difficult times we’ve experienced over the last year and a half, so that newness brings some excitement with it, and it’s exciting to know that the public will once again have the opportunity to see, up close, the results of the hard work being performed by our volunteers.”

Site work at “The Yard” is already underway and is set to accelerate this summer thanks to a sizable grant recently awarded to Kentucky Steam by the federal government. In early May, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a grant through its Brownfields Program worth $500,000 to Kentucky Steam for site cleanup of the former railroad yard in preparation of the construction of the “Hardy Pavilion at the Yard,” which will host outdoor concerts, farmers markets and other events. The grant is the second set of funds awarded to Kentucky Steam through EPA’s Brownfields Program.

On September 11th, Kentucky Steam will also be partnering with the Estill Development Alliance and the City of Ravenna to host the Ravenna Railroad Festival on its campus. The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. More details about the festival will be released later this summer.

“The entire purpose of Kentucky Steam is to showcase the history of not only the railroads that criss-crossed Appalachian Kentucky, but also the people that kept those railroads moving,” Campbell says. “A lot of folks that we hope eventually pass through these shop doors or walk across the development could likely trace their lineage back to someone who helped move some of the millions of tons of coal that passed across this very soil for a century.”

Friday, May 21, 2021

Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation Adds Rare Diesel Locomotive to Collection

Huntington, West Virginia — This week, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation accepted a donation of a former Louisville and Nashville diesel locomotive, former CSX 7067, a C30-7 type engine built by General Electric in 1980. The engine is a gift from the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, which announced the donation at their May, 2021, board meeting.

The locomotive, which is one of the last remaining of its kind in the United States, is one of many GE “road switchers” that ruled U.S. rails in the 1980s and 1990s. The L&N ordered 44 C30-7s between 1979 and 1980, though most of their operating life was for CSX Transportation after the L&N was consolidated with numerous other railroad companies in the early 1980s.

After it was retired by CSX in 1999, 7067 was painted in Marshall University colors by the CSX Huntington Locomotive Shop and was used for years in the Huntington area at university functions. After several years, the engine was unable to find a long-term home, so it was given to the C.P. Huntington group in 2017 by CSX and stored in their South Yard.

“This is an exciting and unique addition to our collection,” said Chris Campbell, Kentucky Steam founder and president. “7067 represents a quickly-vanishing era in railroading that is in many ways being forgotten, and this locomotive has historical relevance to our region as it and many others like it were once based at our facility in Estill County, Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation was founded in 2015 with the intent to restore and operate historical steam locomotive C&O 2716 which was leased on a long term basis from the Kentucky Railway Museum, in New Haven, Kentucky. In 2018, Kentucky Steam purchased a large portion of a former CSX railyard in Ravenna, and established a rail servicing facility in the former car shop complex. The complex itself once also housed a locomotive servicing station which was host to 7067 and other locomotives like it. Kentucky Steam plans to paint the non-operable locomotive back to its original “L&N Family Lines” paint scheme and make it an interactive display at their developing rail-based campus, likely parked on the fuel platform where it once was serviced.

“As we develop our railroad campus, it’s important to pay homage to the various eras of railroading that have been important to the Appalachian Region,” said Campbell. “This locomotive will honor a more recent era, one in which several of our members actually participated.”

As the C.P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society works on pairing down their asset list, they were intent on finding a worthy recipient of the 41-year-old locomotive and are happy to have found a partnership with Kentucky Steam.

“Not having the facilities to restore it and knowing it was a rare engine, we looked for a group that had the means to restore it to its original appearance,” said Skip Reinhard, president of the Huntington, West Virginia-based railroad nonprofit.

“We did not want to scrap it, knowing its history. Kentucky Steam was the organization we found that had the facilities to restore the engine, and their leaders accepted our donation,” Reinhard said.

Kentucky Steam plans to work on moving the engine later this summer, and will be hosting a fundraiser to pay for prep costs. Campbell said Kentucky Steam is happy to accept the donation of the 7067, although the acquisition was not foreseen before this spring.

“We are very appreciative to the CP Huntington group for considering us for this donation. While 7067 is a welcomed addition to our collection, it’s also not something we budgeted for in 2021,” said Campbell. “It’s a good challenge to have.”

A formal fundraising effort for 7067 will be announced in the coming weeks.

On June 12th, Kentucky Steam will host an open house to the general public, and will give visitors the opportunity to see the continued progress on the restoration of the C&O 2716. For more information, membership and sponsorship opportunities or to make a tax-deductible cash or in-kind contribution to the project, visit

We are thrilled to have been selected for a half-million-dollar Federal EPA Brownfields grant to help move along our important economic development project centered around the historic Ravenna, KY rail yard and its redevelopment. Read the press release and list of recipients here: