After two years of planning, preparation, and fund raising, Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576 will move from Centennial Park to live rails on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, the Nashville Steam Preservation Society announced Thursday.
The locomotive and tender will travel two miles down some of the busiest streets in Nashville on special multi-wheel trailers, the preservation society said. Mammoet, a global leader in heavy lifting and transport was selected to move the engine to a nearby shortline railroad, the Nashville & Western Railroad.
Once No. 576 is delivered to the Nashville & Western, Nashville Steam Preservation crews will spend four-to-six weeks preparing the locomotive for its four-mile rail journey across town. The locomotive will be towed on its own wheels from the Nashville & Western to sister railroad Nashville & Eastern Railroad by CSX Transportation, a successor company to the NC&StL. It will then be moved to the restoration facility at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum.
Following a multi-year overhaul, the locomotive will pull public excursions on the Nashville & Eastern Railroad, between Nashville and easterly communities including Lebanon, Watertown, and Cookeville.
“Metro Nashville, Metro Parks, and the railroads have been a big help to us in coordinating the logistics of this monumental task, and our hard-working volunteers have invested more than 8,000 hours preparing the locomotive for this day” says Shane Meador, NSPS President. “We want to share this special move with the general public, and all are invited to come out and watch.”
“With that said, moving massive machinery requires constant vigilance, and safety is our top priority. Spectators should stay at least 300 feet away from the locomotive and stay behind all established barriers,” Meador says. He expects the locomotive to begin its 4-hour trip at 7 a.m.
The steam locomotive was manufactured in 1942 to aid in the war effort, and it spent ten years hauling trains for the NC&StL Railway. In 1953, No. 576 was moved to Nashville’s Centennial Park where it served as a static relic of the past and backdrop for countless family photos.
In just more than two years, the preservation society raised more than $500,000 to cover the cost of moving the locomotive from Centennial Park to the restoration facility and to kick start the mechanical restoration. An additional $1.5 to $2 million will be required for the restoration and initial operating costs.
To coincide with this move, NSPS is excited to announce receipt of a $200,000 Challenge Grant from the Candelaria Fund, kicking off “Climb Aboard 576!”, the next phase of fundraising for the mechanical overhaul of the locomotive. NSPS is seeking additional donations to support the restoration. To donate visit www.nashvillesteam.org/donate.