Steam in Nashville

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gwrdriver
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Location: Nashville Tennessee

Steam in Nashville

Post by gwrdriver » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:53 pm

January 13th will be a big day for future steam in Nashville. After 65 years on static display, decades of wrangling, and several years of what could easily have been fruitless minor repair and cosmetic preservation work, NC&StL Alco light 4-8-4 #576 will be moved via public road to a private rail head where it will then be towed over rails to a museum facility where it will be restored for excursion operation. This is a very big day as many people, myself included, for good reason, held little hope this day would ever come. There were two principle reasons reason for skepticism.

The first had it's origins in 1880, when the L&N RR (a New York enterprise), through an underhanded stock manipulation, gained control of the NC&StL, a Nashville-born railway and the L&N's fierce competitor in the South. To appease outraged Nashvillians the NC was allowed to operate under its own name until 1957 when the road was absorbed and the Flag retired. The L&N (now CSX) then held a virtual monopoly of rail service in the central State and an adversarial relationship with the City, which had its origins in 1880, remained . After steam ended (ca.1953) the L&N/CSX refused to discuss the possibility of steam operations of a former NC&StL engine over their rails.
Only three, special, 1-time, steam operations have been allowed on CSX rails to or from Nashville since 1953 - The "General" (1976 State Bi-Centenial excursion), SR #4501 (1980 political campaign), and the UP #3985 Challenger being ferried East for Christmas trains.

The second reason was, although campaigns for restoration had begun decades ago, they were fragmented, with constant squabbles and power struggles between various factions of "old-timers" who wanted to be in control and call the shots but none of whom could have sustained the prolonged effort and finances needed to rescue the locomotive. Add to this the City of Nashville, which is the legal owner of #576, the politicians, the money men, and the public weren't very interested in such a project. The prospects were dim.

But in time, four things occurred to change this. (1) For the most part the old squabbling factions died off. (2) A local railroad museum had been started up and eventually acquired the former Tennessee Central RR which after a few years developed a successful program of non-steam excursions. (Now who needs CSX.) (3) The city park where the engine had been displayed for 65 years embarked upon a redesign and felt they could get along without a locomotive as not relevant (and the Parks Board agreed), so some political influence and funding became available, if needed, to get it out. And (4) A group of educated, knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated people emerged in Nashville and formed a core organization capable of taking on such a restoration. Lots of time and money are still needed, but the first step is about to be taken.

Lots more information is online by Googling Locomotive 576.
Attachments
576.jpg
Last edited by gwrdriver on Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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Builder01
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by Builder01 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:13 pm

I have seen this loco during a visit to Nashville, this is awesome news!!

David

hoppercar
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by hoppercar » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:15 pm

Why are there always squabbling factions, power struggles, egoes, and people who have ti get there hands in everything

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:31 am

I knew some of the people who fought to keep the locomotive IN the park back in the early 1980's. Their insistence was that it was donated to the city and was never supposed to be moved from that park. It was looked at for possible restoration and use on the American Freedom Train in 1976, but they fought that as well. I think in the end the AFT organizers decided it was a bit on the small size for the AFT and wasn't worth the fight it would take to get it out and restored in time. This move and restoration has been attempted about 3 previous times. I never did understand that "keep it where it is no matter what" mentality. Those people who led that effort have all died off now. Hope this time is very different, because I've been hearing about this pending restoration my whole life.

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gwrdriver
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by gwrdriver » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:10 pm

At one moment in time Scott, that obstinance wasn't an entirely bad thing. It was indeed a gift to the City but at the time (1950s) operating a steam engine again for any reason was the last thing in anyone's thoughts (in particular the L&N.)
But at some point, maybe the 1980s, the TVRM came calling and their interest was not to simply "borrow" the locomotive but to acquire ownership of it. I recall their being talk of it "belonging" in Chattanooga. Politics and trackage rights being what they were, the practical skeptics saw that if we let it go to the TVRM it would never be seen here again, so it didn't go. In the future I'd not be surprise if the TVRM (and others) lined up to use 576 for excursions which would provide the TCRRM with exposure (the good kind) and income, provided a means for getting her there could be negotiated.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

630fireman
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by 630fireman » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:42 pm

I was not around then, but it is my understanding that when TVRM was trying to acquire it, Norfolk Southern also evaluated it and tried at a similar time to do the same for the steam program. The city of Nashville then raised the price (thinking they had a hot commodity) and both parties lost interest. I’ve never heard the sentiment of it “belonging” here. It belongs here as much as it does in Nashville, Atlanta or Memphis, but until now the only place for it to run (though not practically) would have been in Chattanooga. And generally if somewhere goes through the effort to acquire equipment, especially given the costs of moving, it is their interest not to simply lease or borrow it but to acquire it.

Do remember that the president of the Nashville steam group was our main project lead at TVRM for the restoration of both 630 and 4501. I don’t however see any likelihood of it coming to Chattanooga in the future unless something happened (in a worst case of unfortunate events) where there became no longer a home for it in Nashville. Once it leaves the park, there’s no going back for sure.

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neanderman
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by neanderman » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:41 am

This is great news. I hope they can find the money to get her running again!!!
Ed

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JohnHudak
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by JohnHudak » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:41 am

Neat looking loco, I hope i get to see it run someday...
Could that be considered a Vanderbilt tender? Semi Vanderbilt?
John

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gwrdriver
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by gwrdriver » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:09 pm

It's happening quickly and will be hauled to rail head (like in an old Cowboy movie) this Sunday.
Attachments
576_2.jpg
576_1.jpg
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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NP317
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by NP317 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:19 pm

Excellent news!
~RN

rrbridge
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Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by rrbridge » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:19 pm

Looks like Mammoent's equipment.....she's in good hands those people know how to move things....those SPMT's are pretty cool to watch

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gwrdriver
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Location: Nashville Tennessee

Re: Steam in Nashville

Post by gwrdriver » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:37 pm

The display track rail head is at least 2ft above the nearby ground, so an elevated extension track was built. Once out on the extension, box beams were placed under the leading truck and the cradle and hydraulic jacks (and stacks of dunnage) were used to get it in the air with enough clearance to run the lowboy underneath it.

I also saw a notice that TRAINS Magazine is going to have a crew in town to video and stream the entire move in real time on their Facebook page. I don't any more particulars at the moment.
Last edited by gwrdriver on Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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