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.”

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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

October 14th, 2018 - Ravenna, KY -

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC), a Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) non-profit announced Sunday that it has finalized a transaction with CSX Transportation and has taken possession of a large portion of a decommissioned rail yard in Ravenna, Kentucky.

This landmark transaction, originally announced in May 2018 in a public press conference entitled The Ravenna Revival, is the first step in KSHC’s larger plan to help revitalize the region with a rail-based economic development project called the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center. KSHC will utilize the land and the buildings on site to base its operations, restoring regionally-relevant historic rail equipment. The project will include a partnership with Estill County Schools, offering a technical skills training component to the endeavor, which will enable vocational students to practice modern trades as historic rail equipment is restored on site.

This initial railroad property purchase is the first milestone on the road to revitalizing Ravenna and the surrounding region, a process that will require continued support, diligent fundraising, federal grants, and more land transactions. It paves the way for KSHC to fully realize its long-term vision for a multi-use campus, which will give the community a dining hub, meeting and event space and potentially rail excursions that will attract visitors to the area.

"We can't thank CSX enough for being supportive of the mission to revitalize the area, and for their willingness to work with us on this historic transaction," said Chris Campbell, KSHC President.

CSX and KSHC spent over a year working on the details of this deal, which is a win-win for both organizations and for the future of Eastern Kentucky.

"CSX is proud to work with Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that advances both KSHC’s long-term vision and CSX’s business goals,” said Shantel Davis, vice president of real estate and facilities for CSX. “While CSX focuses on reliably serving customers through dense corridors on our core network, we’re pleased KSHC is working to bring new life to an area impacted by market changes and shifting customer needs.”

KSHC now turns its sights on revitalizing the shop and accompanying yard office into an epicenter for tourism and economic development. The three-bay car shop, built by CSX in 1991, will become a hub for the restoration of historic Chesapeake and Ohio steam locomotive #2716, which celebrates its 75th birthday this December. The engine currently resides in New Haven, Kentucky at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Fundraising now will begin in earnest for the Kentucky group, who hopes to raise enough money in the next several months to lay track back to the shop and to update the building’s electrical system. A formal kick-off party and grand opening gala are planned for later this year and tickets will be made available to the general public. More information will be released in the coming weeks.

To learn more, or to make a donation to the project, please visit

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