July 25, 2019
RAVENNA, KENTUCKY — In partnership with the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation and several other railroad preservation groups, CSX will transport a 75-year-old historic steam locomotive across Kentucky July 26-28. The C&O 2716, a 450-ton “Kanawha” type locomotive, will be moved across CSX and R.J. Corman rails from New Haven to Ravenna.
The journey across the Bluegrass State — termed the “Heritage Highball” — begins with an excursion on Friday, July 26, held at the Kentucky Railway Museum. From there, the locomotive will travel east to Frankfort, Midway, Lexington and eventually Ravenna, making stops for public display in each city. The journey will end with a public ceremony held in Ravenna on Sunday, July 28 at 3:30 p.m.
C&O 2716 will be accompanied by two other pieces of CSX heritage, both recent special projects turned out by the CSX Huntington, West Virginia locomotive shop. The train will be led by 1948-built Clinchfield 800, an F-7 diesel-electric locomotive that was restored and repainted by CSX in 2017. The engine is operated by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum. The train will also feature a 50-year-old caboose that was donated to Kentucky Steam earlier this year after a complete restoration, also performed by crews in Huntington.
The C&O 2716 locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company in December 1943 and operated for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, a predecessor of CSX. It was retired in 1957 and was donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum, then located in Louisville. It was one of 90 such locomotives built for dual service, having the ability to haul freight and passengers with power and speed.
The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation leased the locomotive from the Kentucky Railway Museum of New Haven with plans to restore the engine and operate it as a tourist attraction. In October of 2018, Kentucky Steam purchased a retired rail yard and car shop from CSX in Estill County, Kentucky, and has based operations there. The engine will be torn down and rebuilt in the former CSX facility, utilizing volunteer labor while partnering with local tech schools to make the rebuild and maintenance of the engine a training ground for vocational students.
The locomotive will be the center attraction in a new multi-dimensional economic development project initiated by the Kentucky-based non-profit Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.