Move of No. 576 from Nashville park goes smoothly

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Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis No. 576 makes its way along Park Plaza during Sunday's move from Centennial Park.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
The locomotive's tender follows close behind as No. 576 travels on Charlotte Avenue.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
Utility crews moved ahead of the locomotive, raising power lines to provide clearance.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn

NASHVILLE — For a 2-mile move by truck to a railhead on city streets, Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576 may have taken one of the smoothest journeys of any major steam locomotive on Sunday.

The 1942 Alco left its home of 66 years, loaded onto a self-propelled 96-wheel transporter that moved at a brisk walk on a flawless trip from Nashville’s Centennial Park to a loading site on the Nashville & Western short line. Utility crews leapfrogged ahead of the locomotive, raising overhead lines to clear the load that stood 19 feet, 8 inches above the pavement. The 175-ton locomotive drew hundreds of people to watch the move over streets blocked off from traffic. Thousands more watched on the Trains Facebook page as the event was broadcast live. The move had been estimated to take between two and four hours, and was completed in slightly more than two hours on a rainy but mild day.

The move ended two years of efforts to prepare and raise money, and a week’s worth of heavy preparation. It also came in just-in-time fashion: A 110-foot turntable from Atlanta’s Tilford Yard donated by CSX Transportation (one of four built for the locomotive and its sisters, and the only one still in existence) arrived Saturday in Watertown, Tenn., where R.J. Corman crews unloaded it and then sent the multi-axle truck to fetch the tender tank in Nashville. The tender followed No. 576 closely down Nashville streets.

Today and Tuesday, crews with the Nashville Steam Preservation Society will work to place the locomotive and tender on live rails and begin running-gear prep work. The engine will then be towed  across town on CSX to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum shop, where the $1.5 million, multi-year restoration can commence.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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