Moorman, Tower offer matching grant for Nashville locomotive restoration project

Effort could raise up to $600,000 for NC&St.L No. 576
RELATED TOPICS: STEAM/PRESERVATION | FUNDRAISING | PEOPLE
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NC&StL No. 576 was moved from its display site in a Nashville park in January to begin renovations. A new effort could raise up to $600,000 for the project.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinnn

NASHVILLE — The restoration of former Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis steam locomotive No. 576 could get a major boost from two renowned railroaders.

Nashville Steam Preservation Society donors and co-chairs of the Nashville Steam Advisory Committee Richard Tower and Charles "Wick" Moorman are teaming to offer a matching grant for the 576 restoration project, according to a Thursday announcement. Tower, through his Candelaria Fund charity, and Moorman will offer up to $300,000 to match contributions of $1,000 or more made before Dec. 31, 2020 — representing a potential funding boost of up to $600,000.

“Our greatest challenge is funding, so this is an incredibly important gift,” says NSPS President Shane Meador. “If we can raise the funds to maximize the matching potential, then we will be well over halfway to our goal, and the restoration timeline can remain on track.”

Nashville Steam spokesperson Joey Bryan tells Trains News Wire that Tower and Moorman have been “massive donors,” including contributions the move of No. 576 from Nashville's Centennial Park, where it sat for more than 65 years, to the facilities of the Nashville & Eastern Railroad. Tower and Moorman “wanted to do something to really boost the project,” Bryan says, and approached the organization with the idea of the grant challenge.

“With any steam locomotive restoration, you can have all the supplies and guys willing to do it in the world,” Bryan says, “but if you don't have the money to get it done, then you're just going to be sitting there with an engine that's in a million little pieces. So the fact that we have these two well-respected railroaders ... recognizing the significance of the locomotive [means] we could have $600,000 going toward the restoration.”

Tower’s career includes time with Amtrak, Southern Pacific, engineering firm Wilbur Smith Associates. He also served as vice president and treasurer at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Moorman has been president and CEO of Amtrak and at Norfolk Southern, where he helped launch the 21st Century Steam program.

NC&St.L No. 576, a “Dixie”-type 4-8-4 J3 Class steam locomotive, was built by American Locomotive Corp. in 1942 and was donated to the city of Nashville in 1953. It is undergoing extensive restoration after being exposed to the elements during its display at the park.

Bryan says the bulk of the money raised through the Tower and Moorman initiative will go toward boiler repairs. He says Nashville Steam hopes to have the boiler under ultrasonic scan by the end of the year, after which money for the project can be more accurately allocated. Bryan says if work continues and funding remains consistent, Nashville Steam hopes to have the 576's restoration completed in three or four years.

The project received another boost recently thanks to country music legend Marty Stuart. Stuart and bandmate Harry Stinson wrote and recorded the song, "The Dutchess (Queen of the Dixie Line)," as a fundraiser. [See “Marty Stuart’s song about NC&StL No. 576 debuts Wednesday,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 23, 2019.].The song is available for purchase at www.nashvillesteam.org.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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