All Posts By

Joey Bryan

60 Years After the Merger

By | History | No Comments

Like many of you reading this, I was never able to experience a J-3 “Yellow Jacket” steam locomotive roaring down the mainline with the Dixie Flyer in tow or witness a pair of red and yellow pusher units return to Cowan after helping a heavy freight train defy gravity over the grades of Cumberland Mountain. My only glimpse of the mighty Nashville train shed was in the mid 1990s when it was merely a dilapidated shell of its former self. Like many of you, I missed the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway, by a good thirty years.

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the merger of the NC&StL and the Louisville & Nashville railroads. The NC&StL started as the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad in 1845. After a meteoric rise in business in the latter half of the 19th century, and the addition of “St. Louis” in 1873 as a guiding geographic moniker, rival company L&N intended to block further expansion and dominate the regional land transport market. The L&N gained controlling stock in 1880 but government intervention and public backlash from the people of Nashville caused the administration to let the NC&StL operate as an independent subsidiary for the next 77 years. To quote famed railroad historian Richard E. Prince, “[the L&N] latched closely to the purse strings of the NC&StL Ry, whose expansion was closely guarded as those of a wayward stepdaughter.” Despite strict oversight and company rivalry, the two entities operated efficiently leaving their marks on the cities and the people they served.

Though few buildings remain, the bowtie logo carved into stone still remains on an overpass in south Chattanooga.

The merger of the two roads was inevitable. Financially, it was warranted. Merging the two networks made operations more efficient in a struggling economic environment. Culturally, however, it was the end of an era. The physical landscape of Nashville changed and its identity as a railroad town started to vanish. But the people who worked and grew up with “Grandpa’s Road” remained. August 30, 1957 may have marked the end of a company, but it was only on paper. No. 576, the only remaining mainline steam locomotive from the NC&StL, is the tangible piece that unites the living present with the remembered past at its place of honor in Centennial Park. It’s where my grandmother took me to regale me with stories of her father and how his job as a clerk with “Grandpa’s Road” (in this case “Great-Grandpa’s Road”) got them through the Great Depression. It’s where Nashville natives and visitors alike can gaze upon its size and wonder what was and what could be again. Through the locomotive and all of those who visit it and remeber, the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway lives on.

Hundreds gather at Nashville Steam’s first Open House in October 2016. Some attended to remember old memories, others came to make new ones.

Support Nashville Steam Using AmazonSmile!

By | Fundraising | No Comments

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) has teamed up with AmazonSmile to provide yet another way for you to support Nashville Steam!  AmazonSmile is an online retailer operated by Amazon that offers thousands  of the same products. The difference is that for every eligible purchase made with AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to NSPS!

Getting Started!

Joining AmazonSmile is as simple as could be! Do you have an Amazon account? If not sign up for free at www.amazon.com. To start shopping to support NSPS, click on the link below and select the Nashville Steam Preservation Society as the non-profit organization you want to support.

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-5228161

Now you can continue to support the revival of a Nashville icon while shopping online!

Thank You for Supporting the Nashville Steam Preservation Society!

Kroger Community Rewards Program to Benefit Locomotive Restoration

By | Fundraising | No Comments

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society has teamed up with Kroger’s Community Rewards Program to give our members and supporters a new way to donate to the restoration of NC&StL No. 576.

The Kroger Community Rewards Program is a way for you to support NSPS by making purchases with your Kroger Plus card at participating Kroger stores. Once signed up, every purchase you make using the Kroger Plus card, Kroger will donate a portion of your purchase to NSPS. Every quarter, NSPS will receive a check for the purchases made from those who signed up for the program.

Signing up is simple! Here’s how:

  1. Start by registering for the program at krogercommunityrewards.com.
  2. Click on Sign In/Register.
  3. Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering your zip code, click on your favorite store, enter your email address and create a password, and agree to the terms and conditions.
  4. You will receive an email from Kroger confirming your account. Click on the link in that email to continue.
  5. Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed.
  6. Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
  7. Update or confirm your information.
  8. Enter NPO number (83099) or type the name “Nashville Steam Preservation Society” into the search box.
  9. Once you have enrolled, you should see the name “Nashville Steam Preservation Society” on the right hand side of the screen.

By completing these steps you are now well on your way to helping a Nashville icon return to the rails.The Kroger Community Rewards Program to support NSPS is available in the following surrounding locations:

  • Bowling Green, Ky
  • Hopkinsville, Ky
  • Greater Nashville, Tn
  • Greater Knoxville, Tn
  • Greater Huntsville, Al
  • And the areas between those listed above

Remember that in order for each purchase to count you must swipe your Kroger Plus Card or use your phone number at the register!

Make sure to tell your family, friends, and neighbors about this program to also support the restoration of No. 576!

NSPS Performs Boiler Inspection, Pleased with Condition

By | Progress Report, Video | No Comments

 

In March, Nashville Steam removed the steam dome cap and performed an initial inspection of the boiler’s interior. This is the first time the inside of the boiler had seen the light of day in more than 63 years! Nashville Steam President Shane Meador was very pleased with the boiler’s condition. The scale that builds up on the wall had been removed prior to the locomotive being moved into Centennial Park. It’s evident that the Nashville Shop workers took great care to properly prepare the locomotive for long term display.  Join Shane as he journeys into the depths of the boiler by watching the video below!

 

NSPS Successfully Separates Tender from Engine

By | Progress Report | No Comments

After more than sixty years of standing idle together, the tender has successfully been separated from the engine. Weeks of prep work and a very productive work session last week brought the removal of the various mechanical components that connected the two mechanical bodies together. The first step was to remover the buffer spring to allow slack on the drawbar. The drawbar and safety bar are the two principal means of connecting the engine to the tender. The drawbar pins must be removed prior to removal of the drawbar. Once those were removed, NSPS volunteers jacked up the front of the stoker telescoping tube to clear the ball joint and elevator tube. The tube contains an auger that sends coal from the bunker in the tender through the cab floor and into the firebox.

Front and rear drawbar pins removed for inspection and renewal.

Loading up the stoker telescoping tube for rebuilding.

After the telescoping tube was loose, the tender was carefully rolled back using a car mover. Once the tender was secure and the wheels choked, the stoker telescoping tube was chained and the corroded rear bolts were burned out from the clam shell-style connection. The heavily corroded auger was then cut and the entire telescoping tube was maneuvered onto a trailer. The adjustable chaffing block and buffer wedges were then removed followed by the drawbar and safety bar. After all of the parts were loaded onto the trailer, the crew rolled the tender back into place and the wheels were choked. It was amazing how well the tender rolled after sixty years of static display!

Each piece that was removed will be put into storage and evaluated to determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. A huge step on the path to relocation!

Drawbars must be inspected for cracks and defects. Once operable, the drawbars must be removed as part of the FRA required annual inspection.

Loaded up and ready for some TLC!

UT Scan Report Brings Good News

By | Progress Report | No Comments

This past January, World Testing Inc. was on site at Centennial Park to perform an ultrasonic (UT) scan of the firebox sheets to determine metal thickness. Nashville Steam volunteers had previously painted a grid on the sheets to aid in the process and help identify potential problem areas that would need to be addressed during the restoration phase. World Testing worked inside the firebox for two days to do a complete scan. Early results were good but World Testing needed to create a full report of their findings.

 

Well, the report is in and the results are great! Nearly all of the numbers were close to or exceeded new sheet thickness! There are a couple of areas that will need some attention and we must wait to do the full calculations by the FRA Form-4 to determine an absolute minimum. However, the report indicates that there should be minimal work needed in the firebox once the restoration begins. A huge thank you to our sponsor, World Testing Inc., for all of their hard work!!

 

The grid will help determine problem areas that will need to repaired during restoration.

World Testing, Inc. performing the UT scan of the firebox sheets. Great job guys!