Kentucky steam group fired up over donations

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RAVENNA, Ky. — Even before Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. members get an operational locomotive on site, they're looking to make some steam.

Specifically, the group expects to use a newly donated stationery boiler to pre-heat water in former Chesapeake & Ohio Kanawha 2-8-4 No. 2716 after they restore it in the group's former CSX Transportation and Louisville & Nashville shops.

Chris Cambpell, the group's president, tells Trains that pre-heating the water in a steam locomotive reduces the thermal shock to the engine's plating and structure when workers put a fire in the firebox.

"We can also keep the engine warm and under pressure between service days when we have dropped a fire," Campbell says. "Every steam locomotive has a limited amount of service days, and they're not counted if there's no fire in the firebox.”

The stationary boiler will also help bring back some history of the facility’s importance to the area they continue to develop as the Rail Heritage Center in Ravenna.

“A bonus will also be to be able to provide steam for other appliances in the shop, as well as for a shop whistle, which was a staple of the Ravenna facility for many years in the days of steam," Campbell says. “A lot of residents remember the shop whistle fondly, and we hope to recreate that when we get things operating. It's going to be a nod to the history of the area and its ties to CSX-predecessor L&N who was a major employer in the area.”

The group hopes to be able to move No. 2716 from storage at the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Ky., to Ravenna sometime in 2019 to begin the restoration process.

The boiler donation is on top of December donations from CSX. The railroad gave the Kentucky group about 2,000 feet of 100-lb. relay, or used, rail to help connect the burgeoning steam center to the national rail network as well as a former Penn Central gondola, NYC 598300, still wearing faded green PC paint.

More information is available online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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