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 www.kentuckysteam.org