LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A giant piece of Kentucky’s past will come rumbling through the bluegrass this summer. Chesapeake and Ohio 2716, a massive 75-year old steam locomotive, will travel from the Bardstown area to Ravenna, Kentucky, July 26 through 28.
The 400-ton engine is slated to be restored to operation, taking center stage at the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center, an economic development project based in Estill County.
The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, a 501c3 public charity, is spearheading efforts to help revitalize the regional economy in Appalachian Kentucky with a multi-faceted rail-based initiative. The locomotive’s move will be a mobile kick-off for the project, allowing the public to get an up-close view of a piece of the region’s past, and what may be a key part of its future.
CSX Transportation collaborated with RJ Corman Railroad Group to transport the locomotive over a three-day period from the Kentucky Railway Museum, in New Haven, to Estill County. Several stops will be included during the public excursion. Proceeds will be shared by non-profits Kentucky Steam Heritage and the Kentucky Railway Museum.
Kentucky Steam announced the deal last May with CSX Transportation to purchase a 40-acre tract of decommissioned railyard in Estill County. Plans for the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center include a diverse set of attractions based around trains – a restaurant, brewery and event center, concert venue, walking trails and a railroad restoration shop which will include a partnership with Estill and Lee County schools. Area vo-tech students will be able to participate in the rehab of historic train equipment while gaining valuable technical skills training and program credit hours.
The move of the locomotive will be spearheaded by CSX Transportation and RJ Corman, a joint-effort that will result in photo opportunities, public tours and displays in several cities along the 200-plus-mile-long journey. Details for the schedule will be solidified early this summer, but the tentative route should bring the locomotive through Louisville, Frankfort, Midway, Lexington and Winchester before it arrives in Ravenna.
Tickets to ride the special July 26 excursion at the Kentucky Railway Museum featuring steam locomotive 2716 and other historic trains will go on sale on Thursday, April 18 at 9 a.m. A limited number of seats are available.
Additional information on membership, donations and ordering tickets are available HERE.
For more info about the Kentucky Railway Museum, click HERE.
Watch “Chesapeake & Ohio 2716: A Moving Experience” HERE.