Updated: Feb 11, 2019

For Immediate Release

September 3rd, 2018

Ravenna, Kentucky-

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC), a 501(c)(3) public charity - in conjunction with Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects - has released preliminary plans for The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center, a proposed multi-use rail-based attraction to be located in Estill County, Kentucky.

SCB Architects, a well-respected regional firm, has worked in close conjunction with KSHC Board members to craft the initial vision for the 45+ acre project, a gateway economic development initiative which will spearhead efforts to revitalize the economy of Eastern Kentucky.

KSHC President Chris Campbell said the site plan and renderings have already helped engage potential partners and donors in just a few short days.

“We are excited to be able to finally share the vision for what will become a landmark project both for the revitalization of the Region, and for the rail preservation industry,” said Campbell, President and Founder of the Lexington-based charity.

“Special attention was given to functionality, keeping long-term development and short-term utilization of the property in mind. We wanted to make historic trains the star of the show, but also to integrate their presence naturally into a multi-faceted attraction that will attract a wide variety of visitors. We know the plans will change some over time, but the overall vision is there. The team of professionals at Sherman Carter Barnhart immediately latched onto the concept, and the results speak for themselves.”

KSHC has already begun work on the 45-acre site in Estill County, thanks to a temporary lease provided by CSX Transportation who still owns the land. CSX and Kentucky Steam inked a purchase agreement in May, and announced the project in a public press conference held in Ravenna. CSX announced the donation and refurbishment of a vintage C&O caboose at the event. The closing of the sale is anticipated to occur in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Site plans and renderings were completed just days before KSHC’s submission for Federal funds through an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER grant, a highly-competitive program to help provide capital for projects in coal-depressed communities. KSHC Vice President Chad Harpole said that while the group can’t count on getting the project funded this round, he feels optimistic about the prospect of Federal grant dollars eventually aiding the project.

“The ARC program is a perfect fit for our initiative, but that’s not a guarantee for funds,” he said.

“Though there are many worthwhile projects in the Region competing for the same program, we are cautiously optimistic that the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center’s unique slant on re-using current infrastructure will put us at the top of the list for qualifying for granted capital in a Federally-designated coal-depressed community.”

Government awards are key to getting the project off the ground, but private donations have been the driving force behind the genesis of the Rail Heritage Center project, and Harpole sees the continued support of donors to be integral for sustenance in the early going.

“We couldn’t have gotten to where we are without the generous donations from individuals from all over the Nation. We are grateful to everyone who has made a contribution so far, no matter how big or small,” he added.

Kentucky Steam Heritage will begin a formal fundraising campaign for the Center this fall, and will kick off the festivities on September 22nd at the Ravenna Railroad Festival, a yearly community celebration held in Estill County. KSHC will showcase the plans for the property and board members will be on hand to answer questions about the future development of the project - as well as the restoration of two steam locomotives - Nickel Plate Road 587, and Chesapeake and Ohio 2716.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through the web at

or by mail to Kentucky Steam Heritage PO Box 23971 Lexington KY 40523

To learn more about the festival, visit

Media Contact: Chris Campbell

For Immediate Release

July 30th, 2018 - Lexington Kentucky

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC), a 501(c)(3) public charity announced Monday that they will be collaborating with Lexington-based Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects (SCB) in creating the long-term vision for the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center.

The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center project was announced in May, when KSHC unveiled a partnership with CSX Transportation to purchase a large tract of decommissioned ex-L&N rail yard in Ravenna, Kentucky for economic development.

The Rail Heritage Center will be a living restoration shop, showcasing the rehab and maintenance of historic steam locomotives. The sprawling campus will creatively integrate a rail-based tourist attraction featuring train excursions with recreational space, technical skills training component and a regional community center complete with restaurants, shops, and lodging.

Chris Campbell, KSHC President, looks forward to the partnership with the highly-acclaimed Architectural firm.

“Sherman Carter Barnhart is the perfect fit for helping us craft the long-term vision for this region-changing economic development project,” he said in a statement Monday. “We are hoping to create a progressive environment while utilizing design components that harken to the region’s industrial past. The goal is to produce a modern campus that’s timeless as well as distinctly Appalachian. SCB’s body of work makes them a perfect fit for this exciting endeavor.”

Sherman Carter Barnhart is based in Lexington with offices in Louisville and Paducah. They have been designing award-winning projects for civic, educational, institutional, and private clients throughout the region since they opened in 1979. They have earned a reputation for design sensitivity to both the site and project context by creating buildings tailored to their surroundings and function, yet sensitive to the environment. The firm has won over 120 design awards, including the Kentucky Society of Architects Distinguished Firm Award, and their work has been published in numerous trade and professional journals.

Newby Walters, Business Development Director for SCB, provided encouraging words for the partnership.

“Sherman Carter Barnhart is proud to be working with KSHC on this exciting project which we all hope will spur economic development in this region. We are always interested in designing projects that will showcase the history of Kentucky and this rail-based campus, showcasing historic steam locomotives, will be an exciting project to work on with KSHC and CSX. We look forward to beginning our collaboration.”

Initial renderings and site plans will be developed over the next few months. More information will be published when available.

For more information on the project, contact KSHC President Chris Campbell at

Visit to learn more about Sherman Carter Barnhart

For Immediate Release

July 1, 2018 - Noblesville, IN -

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp (KSHC), a Kentucky-based nonprofit rail preservation institution, announced Sunday that an agreement has been reached with the Indiana Transportation Museum to aid in an emergency move of pieces of their historic rail collection.

KSHC has agreed to purchase the museum’s tool car, an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Railway Post Office Car as well as to transport 100-year-old steam locomotive - Nickel Plate Road number 587 - to their Ravenna, Kentucky shop for eventual re-build.

The Indiana Transportation Museum, which has been located in Noblesville, Indiana for over thirty years, has recently been handed a court order to vacate their city-owned property after a nearly-year-long legal battle with the city. The museum had requested an injunction of a previous court-ordered eviction to give the group more time to move their equipment out of the vicinity. The injunction was denied on Friday, and Hamilton Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Felix ordered the entirety of the group’s equipment - including 587 - to be moved by July 12th, two weeks from the date of issue of the order.

Photograph by John F Green Jr

587, a Mikado-type locomotive, was built in 1918 and operated for the Nickel Plate Railroad in Indiana until being retired in 1955. It was placed on display in Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis later that year. The engine gained significant fame in the late 1980s and early 1990’s when it was restored by museum volunteers and operated all over the eastern United States for the Norfolk Southern railroad’s steam program. It was in service for the Indiana Transportation Museum tourist operation until 2003.

ITM and KSHC have enlisted Underwood Machinery Transport, Inc of Indianapolis to move the engine, tender and tool car. Jim Irwin, Vice President of Underwood, said the company was initially responsible for moving 587 out of Broad Ripple Park in the 1980s during its first restoration. Because the museum track is not tied to the national rail system, all equipment will need to be removed and transported via truck.

The move will be overseen by KSHC Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Sobczynski and Director of Restorations Andy Wartman, who was also involved in the first restoration and subsequent operation of 587.

KSHC President Chris Campbell said that the partnership benefits both non-profit preservation groups, even though the circumstances are far from ideal.

“We are hopeful that this collaboration can help put a positive slant on an overall undesirable situation,” he said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to be the stewards of such a famous engine, and look forward to getting the engine fully operational for ITM in the not-too-distant future.”

KSHC has agreed to store 587 until ITM can raise the funds to restore the engine to active service once again. Since 2003, the locomotive has been undergoing intermittent restoration work. Progress has been made on the engine’s firebox and other key components, but major work has ceased since the museum’s future has become unclear while being embroiled in a feud with the city.

Recent court documents indicate that any property left on site in Noblesville after July 12th will immediately be deemed abandoned, and will be seized by the sheriff of Hamilton County, Indiana.

“In order to protect the future of this historic engine, immediate action needed to be taken,” said Campbell. “A major thanks goes out to Underwood Machinery Transport for mobilizing quickly to help make this possible.”

Kentucky Steam Heritage already has a large project in process, the rehab of former Chesapeake and Ohio steam locomotive number 2716, which is being leased from the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky. Campbell says the 587 move does little to affect the 2716 project, and in fact may enhance it. KSHC recently signed a contract to purchase a large tract of a former-CSX railyard and accompanying buildings in Ravenna, Kentucky about 30 miles southeast of Lexington. The facility will eventually become the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center and will showcase the restoration and operation of historic rail equipment, particularly steam locomotives. KSHC hopes to have both engines stored inside the Ravenna facility and will perform work as time and money allow. The 587 restoration will be contracted by KSHC, and ITM will still retain ownership of the engine.

While Kentucky Steam won’t own the Nickel Plate locomotive, it will execute the purchase of former Pennsylvania Railroad RPO car, which the group will utilize as a crew and tool car for C&O 2716 when it operates. It too needs to be removed from the premises by July 12th to escape possible repossession.

“We are trying to make the best of a bad situation,” said Josh Spencer, ITM board member and director of assets. “We are optimistic that we can reestablish our operations elsewhere and eventually get 587 back running in Indiana again. We appreciate KSHC lending a hand at the 11th hour and getting the engine out of harm’s way.”

Fundraising efforts are currently ongoing to handle moving expenses, and any contributions to KSHC will qualify for a hefty 400% grant match from the Appalachian Regional Commission, which the Kentucky group will submit a strongly-supported application for in August.

To make a tax-deductible donation to KSHC, visit

ITM and KSHC plan to share the cost of moving the equipment. Specifically-allocated donations to KSCH will be contributed to the move of 587 and the purchase of the tool car. The moving process is expected to begin on July 3rd.

For more up-to-the-minute information, please visit the Kentucky Steam Heritage Facebook and Twitter feeds at:

To read more about the KSHC’s Appalachian Regional Commission grant application, visit KSHC’s news section at their website

Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) is a Kentucky based 501 c(3) non-profit organization working to rebuild, maintain, manage, and operate heritage rail equipment, including, including steam locomotive Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 2716, to operational status. The equipment will be operable pieces of "living history", and serve as an educational tool, enhancing heritage tourism and stimulating economic growth.