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.

Ravenna, KY – June 29th, 2018 –

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. announced Friday that will be eligible - and is receiving significant State Support - for a sizable grant from the Federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center in Ravenna, Kentucky. This award, when approved, will provide a

staggering 80/20 match for donated dollars. Every dollar raised by KSHC before August 10th, 2018 could be matched at four dollars by the ARC grant program.


Contributed dollars will go towards improving and expanding the former CSX railcar repair facility in Ravenna, KY which will be repurposed into a rail-based multi-use campus. It will also help fund the restoration of historic steam locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio #2716.

The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center project was announced in May as a joint-effort between KSHC and CSX Transportation to bring about economic development in Appalachian Kentucky through a rail redevelopment project. KSHC has entered into a contract with CSX to purchase much of Ravenna Yard, a decommissioned facility and accompanying rail yard in Estill County, Kentucky. Kentucky Steam Heritage president Chris Campbell said the 501(c)(3) group plans to finalize the purchase of the property with CSX in mid-August, a timeline closely coinciding with the grant deadline.

Once opened, the Rail Heritage Center will be home to steam locomotive #2716 and other historic pieces including a CSX-donated C&O Caboose. The facility will utilize the restoration and operation of equipment as a hands-on learning environment and tourist attraction. KSHC has already agreed to partner with regional vocational school tech programs to champion workforce and skilled trade development through programs at the facility. The 50-acre campus will also eventually host locally-themed restaurants and shops.

The project announcement - and subsequent grant application - has received support from a myriad of government officials including Congressman Andy Barr, the office of the Governor of Kentucky, and many other local and regional representatives. The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center initiative was announced in a May press conference, which sparked widespread regional community support, and nationwide railroad industry interest.

The ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. ARC grant opportunities are afforded to counties that are Federally-determined as “coal depressed.” The Rail Heritage Center, located in Estill County, Kentucky, qualifies for the full grant match allocation.

Tax-deductible donations to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. can be made through their website, or by mail at PO Box 23971 Lexington KY 40523. Each dollar donated by August 10th will be considered for the 400% match.

More about the Appalachian Regional Commission and its grant program can be found at

Irvine, KY – May 19, 2018 – The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. (KSHC), a not-for-profit rail preservation group, announced the intent to purchase nearly 50 acres of former rail yard property from CSX Transportation to establish a rail-based tourist and community development center. KSHC plans to establish a multi-use facility on the site of CSX’s retired Ravenna Car Shop, creating an immersive, hands-on experience for tourists and tradespeople alike.

The historic yard office building, track, and a modern-era railcar facility will be included in the transaction, and will be used to showcase the rehabilitation and operation of world-renown steam locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio 2716 and other regionally-relevant equipment. The purchase of the property and facilities is the first of many steps on the path to achieve KSHC’s vision for the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center.

“The model for this campus is not that of a traditional museum” said Chris Campbell, president of the Lexington (KY)-based charity. “The Kentucky Rail Heritage Center will be a destination where people can experience the operation of historic rail equipment, take their dog for a walk, and get a bite to eat at a local restaurant, all on the same visit,” he added. “We can’t thank CSX enough for providing the opportunity to creatively infuse the local and regional economy.”

KSHC has worked closely with its community, state and private partners over the past several years to rally support for this endeavor and to gain key proponents in Washington, D.C.

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward preserving the unique culture of our Commonwealth,” said Senator Mitch McConnell. “Together, the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, CSX, local leaders, and state officials are reviving this retired facility with opportunity for a new generation. As Kentuckians’ economic needs adapt and change, it is incumbent upon each of us to remember our rich history. Visitors to this facility will have the chance to learn about the vital rail lines that have helped Kentucky fuel American prosperity for generations.”

U.S. Congressman Andy Barr echoed Sen. McConnell’s enthusiasm for the project and its impact on Eastern Kentucky.

“Ravenna’s railroad history is one to be recognized and celebrated, as it brought tremendous economic growth to Estill County,” said Rep. Barr. “The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation is doing just that by developing the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center. I applaud Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation for their leadership in garnering community support for these restoration efforts and I appreciate their dedication to sharing the rich industrial history of Ravenna with the rest of the country and world.”

KSHC is partnering with Estill County Schools to establish a technical skills training component to the rail-themed campus, which will enable vocational students to practice modern trades on historic equipment. The initial railroad property purchase is the first milestone on the road to revitalize Ravenna, a process that will require continued support, diligent fundraising, federal grants, and more land transactions. This will allow KSHC to fully realize its long-term vision for the multi-use campus, which would give the community a meeting and event space, along with rail excursions that attract visitors to the area.

"I definitely see many positives for Estill County and the entire region. I look forward to working together with Kentucky Steam Heritage on innovative educational opportunities for the good of our students and the entire community." said Jeff Saylor, superintendent of Estill County Schools.

Other community leaders also echoed Saylor’s optimism.

"This is a breath of fresh air for Estill County” said Joe Crawford, director of the Estill Development Alliance. “This gives us a great opportunity to work hand-in-hand regionally with our cousins in nearby Eastern Kentucky counties. The fact that this project builds on our own history and heritage to help us progress makes it all that much sweeter. Economic development, education, tourism development, job creation, heritage preservation - it's a win on every front. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with CSX and KSHC."

CSX has been working closely with KSHC and community leaders for over a year to help establish this unique endeavor.

“This is a win-win transaction that allows CSX to focus on our core business, while bringing new economic opportunities to Eastern Kentucky through CSX’s retired Ravenna Car Shop,” said Shantel Davis, vice president of real estate and facilities for CSX. “It’s an honor to work with organizations like KSHC to make a positive, meaningful impact on the community and to move our company forward.”

KSHC anticipates taking possession of the property in mid-summer 2018, and will immediately begin work on the project.

“Fundraising is our first and most important aim,” said KSHC Vice President Chad Harople. “Without significant investment, this will take time to get going. But, with proper funding, we envision being up and running by late 2018.”

Harpole says that the group hopes to raise $300,000 in the first three months of the project, and $500,000 by years’ end. Much of the work revolves around improving rail infrastructure on the grounds. Contributions also will provide matches for federally-funded ARC grants that the project has already applied for.

“It's an incredible opportunity to attract federal grant dollars to Eastern Kentucky, and it’s all because of CSX’s generosity to get us in this position” Harpole added.

“This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship with CSX.”

For more information, and to make a tax-deductible donation call 833-KY-STEAM (833-597-8326) or visit them on the web at

Corporate sponsorships are also available.