Kentucky Steam support cars arrive in Ravenna

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Kentucky Steam support cars arrived at their new home earlier this week.
Kentucky Steam: Drayton Blackgrove
RAVENNA, Ky. — Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp.’s support cars are home in Ravenna, Ky., at the organization’s 40 acres site that includes a former CSX car repair shop, which will eventually be used to store historic railroad equipment, including Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 No. 2716.

The three historic rail cars were acquired from the Indiana Transportation Museum earlier this year. KSHX 251958 was originally the tender from Louisville & Nashville Big Emma steam locomotive No. 1958 and eventually was converted by Norfolk Southern into an auxiliary water tender. The car was used as primary canteen behind Norfolk & Western No. 611 in the 1980s, and went to Indiana Transportation Museum in 1988. Kentucky Steam will perform general maintenance for eventual service behind No. 2716. In addition, the group purchased Pennsylvania Railroad Post Office car No. 6565, which was built in 1910 for mail service on the Pennsy’s most important passenger trains. The car was acquired and rebuilt by ITM as a tool car for Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587 in the late 1980s. The third car in the consist was former PRR baggage car No. 9036, built in 1926, which Kentucky Steam repainted before transit to Ravenna. Kentucky Steam plans to eventually convert the baggage car for a multi-use service with a commissary and gift shop.

Last September, Hulcher Services spearheaded a three-day move of the cars off former-ITM property in Noblesville, Ind., partnering with Schlatter Trucking. The cars were lifted by Hulcher sideboom cranes onto trucks, then taken over 20 miles to Anderson, Ind., where the cars were set on live CSX tracks and re-assembled. At Anderson, Kentucky Steam’s mechanical team, led by Jason Sobczynski, worked for more than four weeks to prepare the cars for shipment over CSX to Ravenna.
“These cars haven’t traveled over mainline rails in over 25 years,” Sobczynski said. “We had to make sure everything was in perfect mechanical order before they left Anderson.”

Chris Campbell, President of Kentucky Steam, was pleased with the support from Hulcher, and CSX, which donated the four-day move. “Without CSX, none of this would have been possible. We’re extremely thankful for their willingness to support our mission to preserve and restore historic rail equipment while helping spur tourist-based economic development in Eastern Kentucky,” he added.

Kentucky Steam will continue to work on the Ravenna property in preparation for the arrival of No. 2716. There is currently no timetable for 2716’s move, but work will begin this winter to prepare the locomotive for a 2019 departure. Several hundred feet of track will need to be laid from the Kentucky Steam wye to the car shop before the locomotive is moved. Once track is in place, more equipment can be delivered and restoration work on locomotives and passenger equipment will begin.
Already on the Kentucky Steam property is Nickel Plate Road no. 587, which the group plans on restoring in partnership with ITM in the near future. To learn more about Kentucky Steam or to make a contribution, visit

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