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February 26, 2019 - Irvine, KY

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation announced Tuesday that the Anna B Milburn Charitable Lead Annuity Trust has contributed $50,000.00 to the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center project. The donation is a crucial step in the pre-development work for a 12,000-square-foot event center and multi-use facility that will be the focal point of the ambitious railroad-themed campus located in Estill County, Kentucky.

The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center, a major economic development initiative, is an adaptive reuse of 40 acres of the rail yard located in Ravenna, Kentucky, formerly owned and operated by CSX Transportation. The planned attraction will include an event space and restaurant, interactive locomotive restoration and display center, concert venue, walking paths and outdoor music pavilion.

The structure design is slated to include a 150-seat restaurant and a 300-seat banquet room as well as a flex space for other potential tenants. It will also include a sprawling patio area, overlooking the proposed concert venue and historic railroad shop.

Tony Milburn, founder and CEO of the Milburn Group, said the contribution is a significant step in the right direction for this major effort to begin redevelopment of the economy of Appalachian Kentucky.

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, closed on the purchase of the 40-acre tract in October, and volunteers have been working ever since to clear the site and ready it for redevelopment. KSHC President Chris Campbell said the generous donation is another leap forward in the revitalization initiative.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of furthering this endeavor with the Milburn Group” Campbell said Monday. “Tony and his team immediately grasped the campus concept and had excellent input in their vision of the project. We are thrilled that their ideas closely coincide with ours.”

The Milburn Group and Kentucky Steam will collaborate with Work Architecture for planning and renderings, and Manning Construction for producing cost estimates. The collaboration will build on the vision laid out by renderings donated in 2018 by Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects. The cash donation will also help renovate a portion of the 100-year-old former-Louisville and Nashville Railroad yard office building located on the campus, creating a venue for Kentucky Steam and other collaborators to showcase the plans for the development, and to eventually establish an interactive center which can help springboard the long-term vision of the project.

For more about the project, visit, or the official Kentucky Steam Heritage Facebook Page,

Huntington, WV - February 7th, 2019

In less than a year, CSX Transportation has transformed a 50-year-old Chesapeake and Ohio caboose from dilapidated to dazzling. On Tuesday, CSX Transportation formally unveiled the completely restored 1969-built showpiece, captivating members of the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp (KSHC), the caboose’s new owners.

CSX donated caboose number 3203 to the Kentucky-based non-profit last May, and promised the group that the car would be delivered after some cosmetic restoration and possibly a fresh coat of paint. The planned improvements, however, turned into a complete overhaul; a labor of love that now is a sparkling testament to the talents and dedication of the workers at the CSX Huntington shops.

“This is simply stunning….it’s hard to believe it’s the same car,” said Chris Campbell, President of the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. “When CSX announced the donation, they sent us pictures of what the caboose looked like (May of 2018) and what it might look like when finished. But this surpasses anything we could have hoped for.”

The caboose was built by the International Car Company in Kenton, Ohio in March of 1969 and immediately went to work for the C&O, a predecessor railroad to CSX. In original service, cabooses housed a crew of three: a conductor, switchman and brakeman. The caboose served as crew quarters, offices and acted as a place for crews to keep an eye on the train and its vital functions, especially air pressure for brake systems.

In the 1980s, cabooses were no longer federally mandated and were phased out as electronic monitoring systems were implemented across the industry. Many were donated to museums and cities, but the majority were scrapped. The units that survived into the 2000s were generally used as places for crews to occupy during short shoving and switching moves.

When built in 1969, C&O 3203 was one of the first in a series of cabooses to be painted a striking blue and yellow color scheme, which lasted until it was re-lettered for the Chessie System in 1979. The faded “Chessie System” paint was still visible as the caboose ended its career on CSX - many of its windows welded over with steel plate - in Cordele, Georgia in 2018. The restored version is intended to faithfully recreate how it looked when it was first delivered.

In May of 2018, at the unveiling of the “Kentucky Rail Heritage Center (KSHC),” a planned redevelopment of a former-CSX railyard in Ravenna, Kentucky, Shantel Davis, CSX Asst. Vice President of Corporate Real Estate, surprised KSHC and the community, in announcing the caboose donation.

The Kentucky Heritage Center will be an economic development endeavor, utilizing the region’s rich rail history as a springboard for rail-based tourism and vocational training.

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation intends to put the caboose on display at the Rail Heritage Center for visitors to learn first hand about caboose train operations. It will occasionally transport people who want to go on short “caboose hops” to experience what it was like for train crews in the golden age of railroading.

“We are excited to share this wonderful artifact with the community, and thank CSX and their dedicated employees for going above and beyond with this restoration,” said Campbell. “It’s surely one of a kind, and most likely is in better condition than it was when it was built.”

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation was formed in 2015, with the intent to restore and operate another vintage C&O piece, steam locomotive 2716, which is currently on long-term lease from the Kentucky Railway Museum. The restoration and operation of 2716 and other historic pieces are planned to help bring the region’s rail history alive, and will serve as an educational tool, enhancing heritage tourism and stimulating economic growth.

KSHC, with the help of CSX, plans on moving its newest piece of railroad history back to Kentucky soon, but not before a stop or two. “We have something cooked up for the 3203 before it arrives back in Ravenna,” Campbell said. “We hope to have an announcement about its first role for KSHC soon. We think it will be an exciting start to its new career.”

For more, visit or on social media:

November 20, 2018 - Henderson, KY -

Big Rivers Electric Corporation, a member-owned, nonprofit electric generation and transmission cooperative, announced Tuesday that they will be donating a company-owned flatcar to the non-profit Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. (KSHC). The flatcar will provide key parts in the ongoing restoration of historic steam locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio 2716.

The flatcar, designed for heavy industrial use, has the same type of trucks as the vintage locomotive which turns 75-years-old this December. The truck of a rail car is the assembly that holds the wheels of a rail vehicle, and these unique “Buckeye” style trucks are an ideal match to the ones under 2716’s coal and water tender.

Once acquired, the flatcar’s trucks, which are equipped with modern roller bearings, will be swapped out with the older antiquated trucks that currently are underneath the locomotive’s tender. This swap will save months of labor and over $100,000 worth of machining work and wheelset purchases that would be required for the engine’s current trucks.

The upgrade is necessary because the older “plain bearing” Buckeye trucks are no longer allowed to be used for transport on most Class 1 rail systems. Kentucky Steam will rely on the CSX Transportation rail network for moving the locomotive from its current location at the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky to Ravenna, Kentucky. Both locations utilize CSX for rail service.

“We have built up an excellent relationship with CSX and we are fully aware of what they require to safely and prudently move equipment over their network,” said Chris Campbell, KSHC President.

“This generous donation from Big Rivers will allow us to save valuable time and resources in the preparation of 2716 to move to Ravenna. We can’t thank Big Rivers enough for the gesture to help our mission to preserve and operate this important piece of Kentucky’s rail heritage.”

Big Rivers Electric Corporation, a Henderson, Kentucky-based electric co-op, is excited to partner with Kentucky Steam in this restoration effort.

“We are proud to be among other community partners to work with the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation,” said Bob Berry, Big Rivers’ President and CEO. “Our donation of the flatcar is a great way for us to give back to the state-wide organization.”

Kentucky Steam, a 501(c)(3) public charity, has recently made waves in the rail preservation world, completing a two-month-long move of three rail cars from central Indiana to their headquarters in Ravenna, Kentucky. This fall, Hulcher Services and CSX Transportation spearheaded a massive endeavor to help KSHC move two vintage passenger cars and a water tender via crane, truck and ultimately rail from the Indianapolis area to Eastern Kentucky. These cars will eventually be the support system for Chesapeake and Ohio 2716 and the crews that operate it.

There is currently no timetable for the move of 2716 from the Kentucky Railway Museum, but KSHC does intend to move the flatcar and trucks to New Haven, KY sometime this December. Once moved, KSHC mechanical team will begin the process of swapping out the trucks and making minor adaptations to the locomotive’s brake system in preparation for a 2019-move to Ravenna.

A major fundraising campaign for 2716’s move and restoration will kick off in early 2019, coinciding with an open house and sneak peek at the engine’s future restoration site in Ravenna, Kentucky. For more, visit Kentucky Steam on the web at as well as on Facebook at

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