October 14th, 2018 - Ravenna, KY -

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC), a Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) non-profit announced Sunday that it has finalized a transaction with CSX Transportation and has taken possession of a large portion of a decommissioned rail yard in Ravenna, Kentucky.

This landmark transaction, originally announced in May 2018 in a public press conference entitled The Ravenna Revival, is the first step in KSHC’s larger plan to help revitalize the region with a rail-based economic development project called the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center. KSHC will utilize the land and the buildings on site to base its operations, restoring regionally-relevant historic rail equipment. The project will include a partnership with Estill County Schools, offering a technical skills training component to the endeavor, which will enable vocational students to practice modern trades as historic rail equipment is restored on site.

This initial railroad property purchase is the first milestone on the road to revitalizing Ravenna and the surrounding region, a process that will require continued support, diligent fundraising, federal grants, and more land transactions. It paves the way for KSHC to fully realize its long-term vision for a multi-use campus, which will give the community a dining hub, meeting and event space and potentially rail excursions that will attract visitors to the area.

"We can't thank CSX enough for being supportive of the mission to revitalize the area, and for their willingness to work with us on this historic transaction," said Chris Campbell, KSHC President.

CSX and KSHC spent over a year working on the details of this deal, which is a win-win for both organizations and for the future of Eastern Kentucky.

"CSX is proud to work with Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that advances both KSHC’s long-term vision and CSX’s business goals,” said Shantel Davis, vice president of real estate and facilities for CSX. “While CSX focuses on reliably serving customers through dense corridors on our core network, we’re pleased KSHC is working to bring new life to an area impacted by market changes and shifting customer needs.”

KSHC now turns its sights on revitalizing the shop and accompanying yard office into an epicenter for tourism and economic development. The three-bay car shop, built by CSX in 1991, will become a hub for the restoration of historic Chesapeake and Ohio steam locomotive #2716, which celebrates its 75th birthday this December. The engine currently resides in New Haven, Kentucky at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Fundraising now will begin in earnest for the Kentucky group, who hopes to raise enough money in the next several months to lay track back to the shop and to update the building’s electrical system. A formal kick-off party and grand opening gala are planned for later this year and tickets will be made available to the general public. More information will be released in the coming weeks.

To learn more, or to make a donation to the project, please visit

Updated: Feb 11, 2019

photo by Nick Hovey

September 28th, 2018 - Noblesville, IN

In an unprecedented effort of collaboration, Hulcher Services, a nationwide railroad mechanical contractor, has teamed up with CSX and the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) to help transport three historic rail cars from the Noblesville, Indiana area. The cars will become integral components of the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center "Kentucky Steam" operations, to be based in Ravenna, Kentucky.

The three cars were acquired earlier this year by Kentucky Steam from the Indiana Transportation Museum, which vacated its location at Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana. The cars acquired are ex- Pennsylvania Railroad Railway Post Office car 6565 and Baggage Car 9036 - both located at the former ITM site - and auxiliary water tender 220166 which was located off site.

“We are committed to working with railroad groups interested in the abandoned equipment on a case-by-case basis,” said Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke. “We’ve agreed to work with Kentucky Steam transfer of these units because of their reputation, and because the move supports the City’s efforts to clean up Forest Park and to someday transform this area of the park into an amenity our community can be proud of.”

In late summer, Hulcher Services and CSX Transportation struck an agreement to donate time and resources to Kentucky Steam to relocate the three rail cars. Several weeks of preparation preceded the move, as KSHC members worked diligently to be sure the pieces were ready for being transported. Because the rails in the area are not connected to the national rail system, each piece needed to be trucked off property and then placed on CSX rail to enable transport to Ravenna. This week, Hulcher positioned equipment and supplied crews to coordinate and execute the complex move.

“Hulcher Services and CSX have had a long-standing partnership for more than 50 years,” said Hulcher Services National Account Manager, Shayne Martin. "When we were recently contacted by CSX and Kentucky Steam for help with the movement of these historic rail cars, we didn’t hesitate to participate and offer our expertise in loading and unloading them for movement to their new home.”

Hulcher provided crews and four Caterpillar Sidebooms to load the cars onto a trucking assembly provided by Schlatter’s Trucking, an Indianapolis area-based commercial trucking company. The cars were then trucked several miles to the CSX rail line and are in the process of being re-assembled on site.

"CSX is assisting Kentucky Steam to help save these historic rail cars from an uncertain future," said Eric Hendrickson, CSX's director of network planning. "We share a common interest in revitalization projects that can spur economic growth, and CSX is proud to support Kentucky Steam's vision for eastern Kentucky."

Restoration director Andy Wartman and Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Sobczynski have spearheaded ground logistics for Kentucky Steam, helping coordinate communication between Hulcher, CSX, Schlatter’s and the City of Noblesville.

“We have been dealing with a group of total professionals all across the board,” said Wartman, on site in Noblesville on Thursday. “It has been incredible to see what can be done when everyone collaborates for a common goal.”

All three cars will be re-assembled and inspected before they are shipped south on CSX to Ravenna, Kentucky. Kentucky Steam intends to use Pennsylvania Combine 6565 as a tool and crew car for future operations. It has already been retrofitted by Indiana Transportation Museum for similar use behind Nickel Plate 587 when it was in operation several decades ago.

The auxiliary water car will also be integrated into KSHC service, providing an increased operational capacity for Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive 2716, the group’s flagship project. The car was originally the tender for Louisville and Nashville steam locomotive 1958. After use as a maintenance-of-way car by the L&N, it was purchased and retrofitted in 1982 as a water and tool car for the Norfolk Southern Steam Program. It first saw action as the auxiliary water car for Norfolk and Western 611 during the fall of 1982. It was retired from service on Norfolk Southern in 1988 and was donated to the Indiana Transportation Museum for use with 587.

KSHC has yet to identify specifics for eventual use with the former Pennsylvania Railroad baggage car 9035.

Kentucky Steam is spearheading a campaign to raise and additional $7,500 to complete the move. A formal 10-day donation drive will begin Friday, September 28th. All donations are tax deductible, and can be made at

More information will be released when the cars are readied for their move to Kentucky. Those wishing to follow the progress of the move can find up-to-date info on twitter and Instagram by searching #kysteam or following @kentuckysteam on both platforms. Other updates will be made available at and the Kentucky Steam facebook page.

For Immediate Release

September 19th, 2018

Ravenna, Kentucky-

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation is spearheading a major economic development project in Estill County, Kentucky. The proposed Kentucky Railway Heritage Center is to be located on a 100-year old rail yard currently owned by CSX Transportation, and the purchase of a property of this type requires a major amount of work during the due diligence period.

KSHC and CSX signed a purchase/sales agreement in May, and part of the process of closing on the property has involved Kentucky Steam covering all our bases, especially when it comes to protecting ourselves and the community from potential environmental issues. With the cooperation of CSX, Kentucky Steam has been awarded nearly $160,000 worth of work by the EPA through the Targeted Brownfields Assessment Program, thus ensuring liability protection to KSHC, and helping to target and remedy any potential environmental risks on the site.

Kentucky Steam sat down with Bob Rosen, EPA Brownfields Project Manager, to discuss what this all means. We hope this helps shed some light on what it is the EPA has contributed to this endeavor!


KSHC: How is the EPA supporting the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation’s Rail Heritage Center project?

-BR: The EPA is providing support through the Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) program; each EPA office receives discretionary funds in order to support a limited number of assessments. TBAs are conducted at no cost to the applicant, who must be either a government entity or a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. TBA is designed to help communities obtain assessments in order to expedite moving the property through assessment, possibly cleanup, then reuse/redevelopment.

KSHC: How much is allocated for this specific project?

-BR: We have a statutory cap of $200,000 per assessment, but we rarely approach that amount simply because it represents a rather substantial portion of our annual TBA budget. In your instance, we are investing a bit more than usual because of the promise this project brings to Ravenna and the surrounding area. We anticipate the project will end up costing approximately $160,000, making this one of our more expensive assessments.

KSHC: Who is doing the work?

-BR: EPA has two dedicated contractors who perform a very wide range of duties including; emergency response to oil spills and hazardous materials releases; emergency response to disasters such as BP and hurricanes; technical assistance and oversight at Superfund removal actions; Superfund remedial site assessments; and Targeted Brownfields Assessments, among other duties. For this project, I have selected TetraTech EMI. TetraTech has a great deal of experience and expertise in conducting assessments and also has a strong presence in Kentucky.

KSHC: Why is this necessary?

-BR: Assessment is necessary for a number of reasons. First, when you conduct a Phase I assessment prior to obtaining a potentially contaminated property (a Brownfields site), the Phase I provides federal environmental liability protection. This means you can purchase or receive the property without becoming a federal responsible party under the CERCLA law. Although you obtain liability protection, you still may have to conduct some level of cleanup of environmental contaminants, depending on your proposed land use and the contaminants present. A Phase II assessment is conducted in order to determine what contaminants are present, where they are present (soil, sediments, groundwater, building materials, etc), and the levels of contamination. A Phase II provides the information necessary to determine what contaminants may need to be cleaned up or remediated, or otherwise addressed through land use protection or engineering controls (such as caps).

KSHC: What does this all do for the Kentucky Steam Heritage’s project?

-BR: As I already described, the Phase I shows you have performed your due diligence prior to obtaining the property, which absolves you of federal environmental liability (provided you do not further contribute towards site contamination), and defines the level and extent of contamination on the site. Additionally, after the Phase II results have been compiled, we prepare an Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) which is really just a set of cleanup/remediation alternatives based on the contaminants found and the proposed land use. The ABCA will spell out approximate costs for various options so you can determine the best fit for your needs and budgetary constraints.

KSHC: Anything else you’d like to add? We appreciate your comprehensive answers and we are grateful for the help that the EPA is contributing to make this project a success!

-BR: Sure! EPA Region 4 Brownfields is pleased to be able to conduct a Targeted Brownfields Assessment for the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center. Our hope is that the assessment work we perform will be an important step in the process of obtaining the property and eventually redeveloping it for the purposes stated in the TBA application. Our goal is to help communities take Brownfields properties and move them back into productive use and in a manner that supports the local community.