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 www.kentuckysteam.org as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kentuckysteam