Kentucky Steam, Hoosier Valley Collaborate on Preservation Projects

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 www.kentuckysteam.org/events or www.railroadfestival.com


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