Updated: Oct 19, 2020

June 18, 2020

Irvine Ky - On Thursday, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) announced that they have acquired SD40-2 locomotive number 6162 from the Norfolk Southern Corporation. In its 42-year career, NS 6162 saw service in the Appalachian coalfields and hauled countless tons of freight through Central Kentucky.

Chris Campbell, president of the 501(c)(3) non-profit, says the addition to Kentucky Steam is a major milestone in the development of the rail-based economic development project taking shape in Irvine, Kentucky.

“This generous contribution by Norfolk Southern is a fantastic addition to our collection, which is being curated to tell the story of how railroads built our region and the Nation as a whole. We are flattered to have a locomotive as relevant and as valuable as NS 6162, and its inclusion in our roster in another exciting milestone for our organization.”

NS 6162, a 3,000-horsepower SD40-2 locomotive, was built in May of 1978 by General Motors, Electro-Motive Division (EMD) in LaGrange, Illinois, for the Norfolk and Western Railway. It performed duty all over the railroad, predominantly hauling coal out of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. In 1982, the Norfolk and Western Railway and Southern Railway merged to form today's Norfolk Southern Corporation, and NW 6162 became NS 6162. It remained on the active roster for NS until this Thursday, when it was officially donated to Kentucky Steam.

The locomotive will remain in operational condition and will be displayed at the KSHC headquarters in Irvine, Kentucky.

KSHC was founded in 2015, with the intent to boost tourism in Kentucky through rail-related operation and development. The organization’s efforts have centered around the restoration of historic steam locomotive C&O 2716, which was built in 1943 and is owned and leased by the Kentucky Railway Museum. The organization also is currently developing a large tract of former-CSX railyard in Irvine into a multi-use rail-based community center.

Campbell says that the 6162 is a valuable addition to KSHC and is a worthy comparison to the historic 2716 steam engine, as both locomotives were the workhorses of their eras on the railroad.

“6162 is one of the thousands of SD40-2’s that were built for American Railroads between the early 1970s and the late 1980s. Much like historic C&O 2716, the 6162 is an excellent example of what helped further our Nation’s rail empire. We are excited for members of the public to visit our developing Rail Heritage Center in Estill County, Kentucky, in the future, and to compare the technologies of different eras of 20th-century railroading.”

6162 in 1999. Photo by Casey Thomason

Norfolk Southern 6162 joins the KSHC roster alongside CSX 1100, a former-CSX and L&N SW-1500 switching locomotive, and R.J. Corman 2008, a Chinese-built steam engine, given the moniker “Old Smokey.” Both engines were donated to KSHC by their respective owners within the past year.

The organization also rosters Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 steam locomotive number 587 which is on indefinite loan by the Indiana Transportation Museum.

Kentucky Steam aims to maintain and operate 6162 and its stablemates as their rail project takes shape in Appalachian Kentucky.

“We are honored to have this opportunity, to both showcase this fine example of American ingenuity, and to help tell the story of the fine men and women who have helped make this country what it is today through our national rail system,” Campbell said. “We cannot thank Norfolk Southern enough for this exciting donation."

March 24, 2020

Irvine Ky - For the second year in a row, the Kentucky Railway Museum will receive a grant from the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust to be used for the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio Railway steam engine #2716. The money is to be used by Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, the lessors of the locomotive. Kentucky Steam has a long-term lease on the locomotive and is performing the restoration work.

The award comes on the heels of another generous grant made by the Emery Trust in 2019. The $43,000.00 will be used for continued boiler work on the locomotive, targeting the firebox sidesheet and staybolt repair.

“We cannot thank the Emery Trust enough for this extremely generous donation,” said Chris Campbell, President of Kentucky Steam.

“This significant gift will push us over an important fundraising benchmark that we needed to reach before fully committing to the boiler rehab. We are excited to ramp up the work on this locomotive.”

Last July, in a highly publicized three-day extravaganza, the Chesapeake and Ohio 2716 was moved from Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky to the Kentucky Steam Heritage’s shop in Estill County, over 200 miles away. The odyssey was named “The Heritage Highball” and featured an excursion as well as stops in Frankfort, Midway, and Lexington.

The new home for Kentucky Steam is the CSX car repair facility near Ravenna which has been inactive for over 20 years. Since the locomotive’s arrival, volunteers with Kentucky Steam have focused their attention on bringing the steam shop back to life. Major utilities needed to be re-established before significant work on the engine could be performed.

“There was a lot of speculation that we were going to dive headlong into the restoration, but we had to act prudently with our eyes on the long term,” said Campbell.

“Now that we have put in the proper utilities, we have the foundation for a well-organized and thorough restoration of the locomotive.”

The 76-year-old locomotive received a comprehensive acid boiler wash in February, the first of its kind on a major steam locomotive. Conducted by chief mechanical officer Jason Sobczynski, the process took three days and essentially cleaned out the interior of the boiler of scale and rust to give a clean and unobstructed working canvas. More recently, large plates of steel have been delivered to the shop in preparation for the firebox sidesheet repairs.

Work on the boiler was scheduled to begin this spring until the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the nation. As of now, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has issued a statewide “safe at home” order, essentially limiting much of the volunteer work at the Kentucky Steam Shop for the immediate future.

“We are interested in the long-term viability of this project, and there’s no reason we should be forcing the issue and risking the health of our members and potentially the general public,” said Campbell. “We will be back at it soon, and cannot wait to put these generous gifts from the Emery Trust to work.”

Jim Fetchero, of the Emery Trust, comments “The Trust is proud to be a part of the restoration of the 2716 and is looking forward to working with Kentucky Steam and the operation of 2716 in Eastern Kentucky in the near future.”

The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust was created by John Emery, a native of Chicago, and a lover of the classic passenger trains of America. The Trust was founded as a way to support Mr. Emery’s interests in the passenger trains of the 1920’s through the 1950’s. The Trust operates as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) foundation.

For a full listing of the Emery Trust grants for 2020, please visit

As of now, you’ve heard from nearly everyone regarding how their company will be attempting to handle the coronavirus. At Kentucky Steam, we wanted to say a few words about what we are doing in wake of this unprecedented National Emergency.

As a 501(c)(3) public charity, we exist to benefit the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky by helping increase tourism through our rail-related projects. The developing Kentucky Rail Heritage Center and the restoration of steam locomotive 2716 have been well-publicized hallmarks of our initiative to help bring tourists to Eastern Kentucky. Though we have not opened our campus to the public for regular hours yet, our presence in Estill County has been increasing, with many promising developments in the works for 2020. Inevitably, the effects of the global pandemic will reach far and wide, and Appalachian Kentucky is not exempt.

We are well aware that our cause, while important to the development of our community, is secondary to the overall health and well-being of the citizens of our Region. Therefore, as we continue our mission, we will do so with the utmost sensitivity to the health of those whom our project effects. This means postponing our spring open houses and complying with both federal and state mandates that have been set in place to help protect the health of the general public. We will continue to work on developing the campus at the former CSX railyard in Irvine/Ravenna, as well as progressing with the restoration of C&O 2716.

It will be a difficult time in every business’s trajectory as the global economy is already reeling in its reaction to the coronavirus. We hope that you will still consider supporting your local small businesses that are being affected by the current events. We also hope you will continue to support Kentucky Steam’s initiative by a tax-deductible donation to help keep our momentum during these uncertain times. Every single dollar helps further our mission.

Thanks again for all your support over the past few years. May God bless you, your family and friends through this scary and world-changing event.


Chris Campbell

President, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.

499 Kirkland Ave  
Irvine, KY 40336
1-833-KY STEAM
The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) is a Kentucky based 501 c(3) non-profit organization operating with the intent to educate, entertain and inspire past, current and future generations by operating historic rail equipment. The hallmark of our efforts is the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Steam Locomotive 2716 to operation. The restoration and operation of 2716 and other historic pieces will prove to be living history and will serve as an educational tool, enhancing heritage tourism and stimulating economic growth.
© 2015-2020 - Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization