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The one-of-a-kind event will be held on October 7th, 2023

Irvine, KY – The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation is pleased to announce the Third Annual Whistle Blow presented by the Railroadiana Collectors Association Inc. The public event will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at The Yard, in Irvine, KY.

For the first time ever, the whistle blow will be a standalone event with an entire day centered around the folklore and history of the steam locomotive. The event will feature dozens upon dozens of antique steam whistles blown on live steam from railroads around the country. To date, it is the only announced public whistle blow in the United States for 2023. For those wanting to take in the event, it will feature train rides, games for kids, local craft beer, local food and even the opportunity for people to be an engineer of a steam locomotive – not to mention dozens of steam locomotive whistles blown on live locomotive-supplied steam. “The popularity of our annual whistle blow has grown immensely over the past two years,” said Chad Harpole, Vice President of Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation. “Since the last event, we have had interest from whistle and railroad enthusiasts from over a dozen states wanting to participate so we decided to dedicate an entire day for people of all ages to take part in and enjoy. We greatly appreciate our sponsors for allowing it to be free for the general public to attend.”

Raymond “Bo” Brown, Vice President and Membership Coordinator for the Railroadiana Collectors Association Inc. (RCAI) said that he is thrilled that their group can be the lead sponsor of the 2023 Whistle Blow. “The purpose and mission of RCAI is the education of railroad memorabilia and antiques to our members and the general public. There is no better way to educate folks on steam locomotive whistles than being able to hear them blown on steam from an actual locomotive – and most importantly feel them being blown. We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor this year.”

For those unable to attend, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation will once be partnering with Delay in Block Productions to Live Stream the event on YouTube. “Last year’s event was watched by over 25,000 viewers, “said Drayton Blackgrove, founder and owner of Delay in Block Productions. “We look forward to partnering once again with Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation to make this year’s Live Stream even better – with more information and interaction for viewers across the globe.”

If you are interested in bringing a steam whistle to blow on live steam, want to book your own engineer experience running a live steam locomotive or purchase tickets for the train rides, visit the event page for the 2023 Whistle Blow.

Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation would like to thank its additional corporate sponsors include People’s Exchange Bank, Codell Construction, Country Boy Brewing and Dirk Soulis Auctions. Sponsorship opportunities remain available for this one-of-a-kind event.

For more, visit

Kentucky Steam Heritage has received a $100,000 grant, thanks to The Team Kentucky Non-Profit Assistance fund. The funds will specifically to be used to further the completion of track work on the Estill County railroad shop complex.

The award comes as work continues on the blossoming “The Yard” project, a railroad-based tourist attraction that harnesses the region’s rich rail history to all things Appalachian Kentucky, notably a 4500-person capacity music venue sponsored by the Hardy family of Irvine. Ground broke on the venue this summer.

Completion of the track will provide increased operational flexibility and rail storage space for the 501(c)(3)’s growing collection of regionally-relevant historic rail equipment. It will also allow track to be run to and over the inspection pit, which will be crucial for the restoration and maintenance of operating equipment such as the group’s hallmark rebuild project, the 80-year-old steam locomotive C&O 2716.

The Team Kentucky Non-Profit Assistance fund is a $75 million dollar fund that was announced as a part of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s solution to help non-profits within the state recover from the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund has provided one-time direct relief payments of up to $100,000 per eligible non-profit to help negate the negative impact that the pandemic has had on fundraising.

Chris Campbell, Kentucky Steam president, says the award is key to furthering the organization’s mission to positively impact the region through economic development.

“This announcement is well-timed and much appreciated, as we move into what we hope is a post-covid growth for our project. It’s no secret that the pandemic stymied our initiative, which was gaining momentum in late 2019. Investments such as this show the State’s commitment to making Appalachian Kentucky growth a priority. We are humbled to be a part of that growth.”

The award is the first win for the newly formed development committee, piloted by KSHC’s newest board members Joseph Darby and James Tully.

Darby, a General Motors Mechanical Project Engineer with the Research and Development Team, works with some of the world’s most renowned researchers on propulsion, manufacturing, telecommunications, and system integration on cutting-edge technology. He received a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has been involved in rail preservation projects his whole life.

Tully, the Senior Director of SoF Business Development at ARMA Global-GDIT in Tampa, FL, has been recognized in several publications as an innovative leader and successful entrepreneur including features in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Inc. Magazine. He served on active duty in the US Army as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Training & Doctrine Command, and the 7th Infantry Division (Light). Tully’s family has deep roots in Appalachian Kentucky, and he has been a lifelong rail enthusiast.

“We are thrilled to be adding to our ranks with motivated and qualified individuals like Joe and Jim,” said Campbell. “This award is a major step forward for us and proves that we are bringing on the right people to help move us in the right direction.”

Kentucky Steam continues to solicit end-of-year donations that can either be dedicated to the restoration of C&O 2716 or contributed to the general fund. Several large announcements are coming soon that will help further the mission to restore this facility and drive economic growth in eastern Kentucky. Tax-deductible donations can be made via PayPal or by clicking here:

September 7, 2022

North Judson, IN

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation announced Wednesday that they have executed an agreement to purchase a full set of boiler tubes and flues from the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana. The collaboration will help the restoration of 75-year-old steam locomotive Chesapeake and Ohio 2716, and is thanks to funds provided by the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

“This purchase keeps granted funds within the rail preservation community, and helps out two motivated and progressive non-profit organizations,” said Chris Campbell, president of Kentucky Steam.

“The transaction will help us continue the restoration of C&O 2716, and will aid Hoosier Valley in their endeavors to create an excellent museum and operating tourist railroad.”

The tubes and flues, which are an essential component of a steam locomotive boiler, were targeted to be purchased by Kentucky Steam in the spring of 2020, utilizing funds allocated by the Emery Trust. Inflated prices and overall global supply chain issues brought on by the Covid-19 Pandemic halted the process of acquiring new boiler flues, and put the purchase on hold. During the same time, Campbell began talks with Todd Flanigan, Hoosier Valley president, and it was apparent that Flanigan would consider parting with the parts that were originally purchased by the museum for a potential restoration of their C&O locomotive, Kanawha-type engine number 2789.

“It wouldn’t have been prudent or financially responsible to purchase tubes in flues in mid-2020,” said Campbell. "Prices had skyrocketed to twice the pre-pandemic pricing, and we knew there may be other options out there. Todd and the HVRM board were amenable to talking about parting ways with their tubes and flues, and we kept the dialogue going over the next several months.”

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum (HVRM) was founded in 1988 when rail enthusiasts banded together to help move Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive 2789 from Peru, Indiana to North Judson. The locomotive, which is a younger sister of 2716, was considered a candidate for mechanical restoration, but that notion has since been shelved as the museum concentrates on operations and other equipment relevant to the north-central Indiana region. The tubes and flues were purchased and stored when the museum intended to eventually use them for 2789’s rebuild. HVRM currently operates both steam and diesel excursions on a stretch of former-Erie Railroad and have a museum and shop in North Judson.

Kyle Flanigan, Secretary for Hoosier Valley, helped initiate the deal, and said this is a hallmark of collaboration in the rail preservation world. "Building relationships with other organizations and helping get no-longer-needed resources into the hands of those who can use them is a trend we hope to see continue."

C&O 2789 at HVRM. Photo by Derek Zollinger

Kentucky Steam executed the purchase of the equipment early in 2022, after the HVRM board agreed to sell the equipment. The transaction was made possible by a grant from the Emery Trust, which allocated funds for the tubes and flues purchase in late-2019. Jim Fetchero, advisory committee member of the Trust, said the purchase is a win-win for the two organizations.

“The John Emery Rail Heritage Trust is delighted that Kentucky Steam and the HVRM are able to make arrangements for the use of tubes and flues for the C&O 2716. That represents a great cost savings and a great use of monies that the Trust has granted to Kentucky Steam for the restoration of the 2716. It is another example of cooperation in the steam restoration community.”

Kentucky Steam announced a similar collaboration earlier this year, when they swapped locomotive air compressors with the Pueblo Railway Museum in Pueblo Colorado. This swap allowed already-rebuilt appliances from the Pueblo group’s Santa Fe locomotive to be interchanged with Kentucky Steam’s air pumps, which were in need of a full rebuild. The Emery Trust grant’s monies helped facilitate both transactions, which are key resource and time savers for the restoration of 2716.

“With the funds that we saved in waiting for the tubes and flues transaction to transpire with Hoosier Valley, we were also able to execute a deal with the Pueblo folks to acquire their rebuilt air pumps,” said Campbell.

“We held on to make a fiscally responsible decision that ultimately has helped two other railroad preservation groups, and we couldn’t do it without the collaborative spirit of these excellent organizations. We want to thank Emery, Pueblo and Hoosier Valley in getting this done.”

Kentucky Steam will be hosting a two-day railroad-themed festival on September 10-11, 2022 on their grounds in Irvine, Kentucky where C&O 2716 is under restoration. The festival will feature over sixty arts, crafts and food vendors, and of course, train rides. More information can be found at or

For more about the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, including museum hours and to ride one of their excursions, visit

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