The mission of the NASHVILLE STEAM PRESERVATION SOCIETY is to preserve our history by restoring and operating relevant historic railroad equipment for the purposes of education, tourism, and goodwill to and for METRO NASHVILLE.
The restoration of Locomotive 576 to operation will serve as a visceral link to the history of Nashville and honor those who make the region great. The locomotive was designed in Nashville and has called the Music City home since delivery from the factory in 1942.
The rebuilding of Locomotive 576 to operation is influenced by a variety of important key goals:
• RESTORE the locomotive to operation for the general publics enjoyment
• PARTNER with Metro Parks to provide excursion train tickets for sponsored underprivileged children’s programs
• BOLSTER the Entertainment Industry to utilize the locomotive in films, videos, and television production
• PROVIDE a transparent, visitor-and family- friendly environment during the restoration and operation of the locomotive (including when stored at its shop while not in use)
• CREATE and grow public support and awareness
• EDUCATE about the important roll the 576 played for Nashville and the Nation during WWII
• OPERATE special trains in connection with Nashville, Metro Parks, and other local venues as well as creating special events utilizing the locomotive in operation and display
• ENGAGE the community through outreach to encourage volunteers and to provide hands on technical trade training for welding, machining, and mechanical comprehension
Board of Directors
Born and raised in Nashville, TN and graduated from Nashville Christian School as a member of the National Honor Society, Meador began his railroad carrier as a summer steam locomotive fireman at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) in 1994 and qualified as a locomotive engineer in 1996 on steam and diesel locomotives.
After being honorably discharged from the United States Navy, Meador began working for Norfolk Southern as a Machinist in Chattanooga as well as continuing part time duties at TVRM coordinating the Southern 630’s restoration. Starting in 2010, he was given the opportunity for a 3 year leave of absence from Norfolk Southern to manage the steam locomotive projects for use on Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam program at TVRM. During that time, he successfully led the extensive restorations of Southern steam locomotives 630 and 4501 back to mainline service. By creating a safe, positive, and educational atmosphere, he was able to recruit and retain volunteers throughout the project which helped to reduce labor costs significantly. Meador has operated all 4 steam locomotives currently participating in the Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam program on 6 divisions traversing thousands of miles on mainline track.
Meador’s background, leadership, and experience in locomotive management, personnel management, restoration project management, maintenance, and safely operating these unique and historic machines will prove to be a valuable asset to NSPS and the projects it will take on.
Bebout began his Railroad career in 1989 operating excursion trains on the Nashville and Eastern Railroad. He also worked for the Broadway Dinner Train from 1989-1999 as Brakeman and Conductor. Terry is currently president of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum (TCRM), a position he has held since 1991. At the TCRM, Bebout manages operations and volunteer work force, ensuring excursion trains operate safely and successfully.
His full time profession is serving as the General Manager of the Music City Star commuter train that operates between Lebanon (Tennessee) and Nashville. In addition to his managerial duties, Bebout is a qualified Conductor, Engineer, Dispatcher and Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers on the Nashville and Eastern Railroad.
David Ellenburg, Treasurer
Originally from Huntsville, Al., Ellenburg grew up just a few hundred yards from the NC&StL Railway’s Huntsville Division tracks that sparked his lifelong interest and passion for the railroad and its history. He is a graduate of David Lipscomb College (now University) with a degree in Business Management. After graduating, he served in the US Air Force as a Disbursing Accounting Specialist. Since then, he has had a successful career with the Department of the Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency as a Finance officer, Budget Officer and Senior Executive.
Ellenburg retired in 2001, and is currently on the Board of Directors and serves as the Treasurer of two other non-profit organizations: the Cowan Railroad Museum and the Nashville, Chattanooga and St Louis Railway Preservation Society. His extensive knowledge and experience with financial systems development and implementation, budget formulation and execution, financial laws and regulations, contract management and unconventional funds management techniques will prove a valuable asset to the NSPS.
Joseph Darby joins the Nashville Steam Preservation Society as a Mechanical Engineering student from Georgia Tech with several years of management experience. Darby’s management training began in at Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, GA where he became the Operations Officer in charge of more than 200 Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets. In that time he received a score of 95 on the ASVAB for the United States Military and received training with the Air Force at Kirtland Air Force Base.
Continuing his education, Darby enrolled at Georgia Tech where he currently is a senior and studies Mechanical Engineering. At Georgia Tech, under the institute’s Co-op program, he hired on with Norfolk Southern as a Car Accountant in the Atlanta office. He then received a transfer to the railroad’s Chattanooga Diesel Shop where he was involved in the NS Lean Program for increasing operational efficiency.
Simultaneously, he volunteered at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for two years assisting in the restoration of ex-Southern Railway 4501.
Jim Wrinn, Director
Jim Wrinn has been the editor of Trains magazine since 2004. He is a vice president for the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation, the non-profit that works with the state of North Carolina to develop the former Southern Railway Spencer Shops complex.
His experience at NCTM began in 1986 as a mechanical volunteer, and he also worked as a conductor and engineer there. He was part of the team that restored a Shay locomotive for the museum and took it on tour to California in 1999. He served on the Fire Up 611! Committee and was the founding president of the Southern Railway Historical Association.
He has written or co-authored five books on railroad history. He is a member of the awards committee for the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums and coordinates Trains magazine’s annual preservation award.
Gary Bensman, Director
Gary Bensman began his railroad carrier in 1973 with the Hocking Valley Railway in Ohio as a fireman and hostler engineer, as well as assisted with boiler and running gear repairs. In 1975 he graduated from ITT Tech, with an Associates Degree in Architectural/ Structural/ Civil Engineering. He then began working for the Norfolk and Western Railway as a Civil Engineer while simultaneously performed the duties of Chief Mechanical Officer in charge of steam locomotive 765 in Fort Wayne, IN. During that time, he performed 3 complete rebuilds and operated the locomotive and trains over many mainline railroads in the eastern U.S. In 1979 he founded Diversified Rail Services where he currently serves as President and performs steam locomotive and passenger car restoration and maintenance services.
As President of Diversified Rail Services, Bensman has been responsible for total project management of twenty-seven complete mechanical restorations of steam locomotives of all sizes, mostly from city park displays, throughout the United States. He performs major boiler repairs and complete mechanical rebuilds in accordance with established railroad standard practices. Bensman was also responsible for the design and construction supervision of shop facilities, purchase, transportation and restoration of locomotives at the Grand Canyon Railway in addition to the hiring and training of crews.
Since 1984, beginning with his experience with the ACE 3000 project and later studying directly under Mechanical Engineer Livo Dante Porta, Bensman applies Thermodynamic Science to all of his steam locomotive projects to vastly increase the potential and efficiency in regards to steam locomotive technology and design.
Brian Barton, Director
Brian Barton began his railroad carrier with Plasser American Corporation in 1991 as a contract representative traveling the country as a crew member on a ballast cleaning machine providing track/ballast maintenance services to different railroads.
In December of 1994, Barton was hired by Norfolk Southern as a Brakeman, promoted to Conductor, and then to Locomotive Engineer. During Brian’s employment at NS, he was elected as President and Local Chairman in the United Transportation Union. In August of 1999, he was offered a position with Amtrak as a Locomotive Engineer and operated Amtrak trains south of Washington, DC, including operations over Amtrak, CSX, NS, and the BB. During the first five years he was a union representative for the BLET. After resigning from the union position, Barton was offered a position as Road Foreman of Engines, DSLE.
In August of 2008, he took an assignment with the Buckingham Branch Railroad in Virginia, where he provided instruction and management over operations, and provided training to all departments, as well as safety classes to customers. In 2012, he accepted a position with CSX Transportation as a Trainmaster of Passenger Operations where he currently works as an operational liaison between CSX and passenger/commuter agencies, as well as state and federal government entities.
In addition to his CSX duties, Barton also is a member of the steam locomotive 611 crew and was the liaison between the BB to NS and CSX for the movement of steam locomotive 614 to the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge, Virginia.
NSPS Director Dr. Jack Fisher is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has practiced in Nashville for 29 years. His medical training was at Emory University in Atlanta. He has a passion for trains of all sizes. He has sponsored the yearly train exhibit at the Adventure Science Center for 29 years. He and a friend built the toy train displays at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, which has brought hours of pleasure to the children for over a decade.
In his own home, over 1000 square feet are devoted to an elaborate scale layout of Lionel trains, as well as a garden railroad, which has been featured on TV and in magazines. His passion began at birth.
He is recognized both nationally and internationally for his expertise in Plastic Surgery. He was President of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and is Associate Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at Vanderbilt University and previous Chief of Plastic Surgery at Centennial Medical Center.
Alex Joyce joins NSPS with a lifelong passion for steam technology and railroading inherited to him from his family with deep railroad ties. His great-grandfather was on the Board of Directors for the NC&StL Railway. His great uncle wrote numerous books on railroading and was the senior lobbiest for the railroad industry serving for years as the Vice President of the Association of American Railroads.
Alex collected working model steam engines as a child and first fired locomotives when 18 at Opryland during its first summer of operation. Since then he has restored 2 Stanley steam powered cars driving them some 30,000 miles in the US, Canada, and the UK. He has also restored a 1934 coal fired, steam powered Sentinel truck and rallied it in the US and the UK. He has fired and driven mainline steam in regular revenue service in South Africa and Poland and hitched footplate rides in the UK, Ireland, southern Africa and the US: notably as a boy on The General, then as a teen on the Clinchfield’s #1 in the early 1970’s, and while a student at GaTech on N&W 611.
Alex is a retired teacher and mechanical engineer, and organizes vintage car tours around the US. His experience and knowledge coupled with his life’s passion will prove to be a valuable asset to NSPS.
Joey Bryan is a native of Franklin, Tennessee and spent his adolescence visiting No. 576 in Centennial Park. Bryan is a preservationist, historian, and writer with a passion for saving America’s industrial heritage. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Alabama in 2012 and a M.A. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015. While at MTSU, he worked as a research assistant at the Center for Historic Preservation.
In the summer of 2013, Bryan interned at the Virginia Museum of Transportation during the kickoff of the “Fire Up 611!” fundraising campaign. He worked for the museum the following year assisting with social media, marketing, and media relations during Norfolk & Western 611’s first excursion season. Because of his involvement with the 611 restoration effort, Bryan wrote his master’s thesis on the economic and interpretive benefits of collaborative partnerships between railroads and non-profit organizations for the operation of steam-powered excursions.
Bryan’s ties to Nashville railroading date back to his great-grandfather who worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway as a clerk in the general office building on Broadway.
Terry Coats, is the past president of the NC&St.L Railway Preservation Society, he is an author and lecturer.
Terry was born in McKenzie, TN. a short distance from the tracks of the NC&St.L Ry. In his formative years, he lived a short distance from the NC&St.L depot in Dresden, Tennessee. He spent hour upon hour in the company of the station agent there and developed a great love of the railroad and its lore. Though he never worked for any railroad, he has had a life long love of railroading and especially the NC&St.L
Terry is 30-year veteran of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and a 1973 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.
In 2010, after five and one-half years of research and writing, Terry published, “Next Stop on Grandpa’s Road, History and Architecture of Nashville Chattanooga and St Louis Railway Depots and Terminals”.
Kelly Lynch is a filmmaker and creative contractor with an extensive background in railroad preservation, operations, and marketing. He has served in a variety of capacities for short line, regional and Class 1 railroads including the Ohio Central, RJ Corman, and Norfolk Southern. Trained in film production at Columbia College Chicago and the New York Film Academy, Lynch has been the owner of digital marketing firm Lynchpin Creative in Northeast Indiana since 2008 and serves as railroad transportation coordinator for Film Indiana. Previously, Lynch has worked for Apple and NBC/Universal in development and production roles.
He is best known in the railroad preservation community for his marketing and development work with the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc and has participated in numerous rail and steam locomotive preservation projects throughout the country. Lynch has received numerous community accolades and awards in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and serves as project manager for a railyard park redevelopment project along the city’s riverfront.
A fireman on restored steam locomotive Nickel Plate Road no. 765, Lynch was recognized as one of the “Under 35 Leaders in Railroad Preservation” by TRAINS Magazine in 2006. Lynch is also a qualified conductor and locomotive fireman.
Sobczynski began his passionate career in historical railway preservation in 1992 at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga. Since then, his work in the field of Heritage Railroad and Historic Preservation has heavily contributed to 12 steam locomotive restorations around these Unites States.
In addition to his steam locomotive restoration, maintenance, and operating background and experience, he has also written and completed engineering repair procedures in several historic structure restorations. Most recently he has supervised the move and relocation of a large steam locomotive from Spokane, WA to Cleveland, OH., acted as Co-Project Manager of the Southern Railway 4501 restoration, and acts as a primary contractor in the operation and maintenance of NKP 765.
With his 24 years of experience, Sobczynski brings a diverse background in not only the mechanical /construction aspects of historic preservation, but also government relations, community relations, contract negotiations, project management, strategic planning, fundraising, contractor management, rigging/lifting/heavy hauling, engineering, and environmental remediation, to name a few, that will prove a valuable asset to NSPS.
Davidson Ward is a railroad consultant, preservationist, author, and photographer. Originally from Milwaukee, Ward is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where, while in school, he became an active volunteer with the Friends of the 261.
Following graduation in 2010, Ward joined the railroad consulting firm R.L. Banks & Associates, Inc., with which he has developed expertise in railroad infrastructure and equipment appraisals, business plan development, transaction support, and strategic planning.
In 2011 Ward worked with preservationists and practitioners to found the 501c(3) not-for-profit Coalition for Sustainable Rail, where he serves as President. Working with the University of Minnesota, CSR is dedicated to: 1) Innovation – supporting and advancing sustainable modern steam, fuel, energy and transportation technologies; 2) Preservation – promoting the safe and efficient operation and preservation of historic rail equipment; and 3) Education – conducting informational activities to increase awareness of those technologies.
In addition to designing the logos and graphic standards of NSPS, Ward has been involved in negotiations with Metro Parks regarding 576, has served as a strategic advisor to matters ranging from fundraising strategy to facilities designs, and is involved in many of the strategic planning matters undertaken by NSPS.
Justin Strickland was born in Charleston, South Carolina where his family cultivated what has become a life-long passion for all things railroading. At the age of 12, his father was transferred to Georgia where Justin graduated in 2001, a stone throw away from the former NC&StL mainline in Acworth. At the age of 15, Justin was introduced to his first railroad related position as a Commissary Attendant and later Car Host aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. He later affiliated himself as an employee, volunteer or contractor for several noteworthy entities, including the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, Hiawassee River Rail Adventure, Southeastern Railway Museum, Six Flags Over Georgia Railroad, Delta Queen Steamboat, along with others.
In 2006, Chattanooga became his adopted home as he took a position at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel & Vacation Complex as the Resident Historian. During his tenure, he assisted with the 2007 National Railway Historical Society Convention and furthered his for his book entitled ‘Chattanooga’s Terminal Station’. In 2009, the book debuted as the only publication dedicated to the world-famous depot. One of his greatest passions is the history and culture behind our nation’s passenger rail system. Justin continues to reside in North Chattanooga, where he is the Director of Sales for Marriott on the Chattanooga.