September 28th, 2018 - Noblesville, IN
In an unprecedented effort of collaboration, Hulcher Services, a nationwide railroad mechanical contractor, has teamed up with CSX and the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) to help transport three historic rail cars from the Noblesville, Indiana area. The cars will become integral components of the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center "Kentucky Steam" operations, to be based in Ravenna, Kentucky.
The three cars were acquired earlier this year by Kentucky Steam from the Indiana Transportation Museum, which vacated its location at Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana. The cars acquired are ex- Pennsylvania Railroad Railway Post Office car 6565 and Baggage Car 9036 - both located at the former ITM site - and auxiliary water tender 220166 which was located off site.
“We are committed to working with railroad groups interested in the abandoned equipment on a case-by-case basis,” said Noblesville Deputy Mayor Steve Cooke. “We’ve agreed to work with Kentucky Steam transfer of these units because of their reputation, and because the move supports the City’s efforts to clean up Forest Park and to someday transform this area of the park into an amenity our community can be proud of.”
In late summer, Hulcher Services and CSX Transportation struck an agreement to donate time and resources to Kentucky Steam to relocate the three rail cars. Several weeks of preparation preceded the move, as KSHC members worked diligently to be sure the pieces were ready for being transported. Because the rails in the area are not connected to the national rail system, each piece needed to be trucked off property and then placed on CSX rail to enable transport to Ravenna. This week, Hulcher positioned equipment and supplied crews to coordinate and execute the complex move.
“Hulcher Services and CSX have had a long-standing partnership for more than 50 years,” said Hulcher Services National Account Manager, Shayne Martin. "When we were recently contacted by CSX and Kentucky Steam for help with the movement of these historic rail cars, we didn’t hesitate to participate and offer our expertise in loading and unloading them for movement to their new home.”
Hulcher provided crews and four Caterpillar Sidebooms to load the cars onto a trucking assembly provided by Schlatter’s Trucking, an Indianapolis area-based commercial trucking company. The cars were then trucked several miles to the CSX rail line and are in the process of being re-assembled on site.
"CSX is assisting Kentucky Steam to help save these historic rail cars from an uncertain future," said Eric Hendrickson, CSX's director of network planning. "We share a common interest in revitalization projects that can spur economic growth, and CSX is proud to support Kentucky Steam's vision for eastern Kentucky."
Restoration director Andy Wartman and Chief Mechanical Officer Jason Sobczynski have spearheaded ground logistics for Kentucky Steam, helping coordinate communication between Hulcher, CSX, Schlatter’s and the City of Noblesville.
“We have been dealing with a group of total professionals all across the board,” said Wartman, on site in Noblesville on Thursday. “It has been incredible to see what can be done when everyone collaborates for a common goal.”
All three cars will be re-assembled and inspected before they are shipped south on CSX to Ravenna, Kentucky. Kentucky Steam intends to use Pennsylvania Combine 6565 as a tool and crew car for future operations. It has already been retrofitted by Indiana Transportation Museum for similar use behind Nickel Plate 587 when it was in operation several decades ago.
The auxiliary water car will also be integrated into KSHC service, providing an increased operational capacity for Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive 2716, the group’s flagship project. The car was originally the tender for Louisville and Nashville steam locomotive 1958. After use as a maintenance-of-way car by the L&N, it was purchased and retrofitted in 1982 as a water and tool car for the Norfolk Southern Steam Program. It first saw action as the auxiliary water car for Norfolk and Western 611 during the fall of 1982. It was retired from service on Norfolk Southern in 1988 and was donated to the Indiana Transportation Museum for use with 587.
KSHC has yet to identify specifics for eventual use with the former Pennsylvania Railroad baggage car 9035.
Kentucky Steam is spearheading a campaign to raise and additional $7,500 to complete the move. A formal 10-day donation drive will begin Friday, September 28th. All donations are tax deductible, and can be made at www.kentuckysteam.org/contribute
More information will be released when the cars are readied for their move to Kentucky. Those wishing to follow the progress of the move can find up-to-date info on twitter and Instagram by searching #kysteam or following @kentuckysteam on both platforms. Other updates will be made available at www.kentuckysteam.org and the Kentucky Steam facebook page.