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Fundraising

Nashville Steam Receives $200,000 Grant, Kicks Off “Climb Aboard 576” Campaign

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Nashville Steam Preservation Society announces its plan to relocate and restore The Stripe — the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis No. 576 Steam Locomotive

  • The Nashville railroad icon will be relocated from Centennial Park to Nashville & Western Railroad by early 2019 to begin its restoration journey
  • Candelaria Fund awards a $200,000 Challenge Grant and kicks off “Climb Aboard 576”, phase two of an ambitious fundraising campaign
  • Over $500,000 was raised to move the 576 from Centennial Park.
    Another $1.5 million to $2 million is needed for restoration and operations.

For 65 years, the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Steam Locomotive No. 576 sat cold and static in Music City’s Centennial Park waiting for its chance to return to service.

Today, the Nashville Stream Preservation Society (NSPS) announced that No. 576 won’t have to wait much longer. The all-volunteer organization laid out its plans to restore and operate the locomotive made famous by the music it inspired.

“No. 576 is on the road to revival to once again serve as a coal-fired, steam-powered operational locomotive,” said Shane Meador, NSPS president and the project’s chief mechanical officer. “The locomotive will grace the high iron with its vibrant and soulful rhythm that have inspired so many.”

Known as the “Stripe,” the locomotive is the last remaining J-3 class 4-8-4 steam locomotive designed and built by the American Locomotive Company for the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway (NC&StL).

The locomotive was built in 1942 and retired after 10 years of service. It was saved from the scrappers torch and moved to Centennial Park in 1953.

The NSPS’ hope is that the restoration of the locomotive will celebrate Nashville’s musical roots, add to Nashville’s vibrant tourism industry, and help younger generations imagine careers in technical trades such as welding, machining, and mechanical comprehension.

“The entire restoration will be open to the public,” Meador said. “We want people who visited No. 576 in the park to come out and watch the process step by step. That’s how you awaken the imagination of things to come.”

No. 576 to move from Centennial Park by early 2019
The big move will be followed by the disassembly and rebuilding of the locomotive

Mammoet, a global market leader in engineered heavy lifting and transport, will move No. 576 from Centennial Park later this year to the NWR where it will undergo inspections to ensure the braking system is working order.

It will then be towed to the restoration facility for disassembly, inspection, and rebuilding. Every piece on the locomotive will need to be inspected and serviced.

The move from Centennial Park to its restoration facility will take between four to six weeks, Meador said. “This is a tedious and precise process,” Meador said. “We are working with Metro Parks, the City of Nashville, and the railroad to find a date when the initial move out of the park can occur.”

It will take approximately 4 years to restore the locomotive to meet strict Federal-mandated operational requirements, Meador said.

Candelaria Fund awards a $200,000 Challenge Grant

The grant kicks off Climb Aboard 576, phase two of NSPS’ ambitious fundraising campaign

The NSPS also announced a $200,000 Challenge Grant from the Candelaria Fund, kicking off “Climb Aboard 576!”, the next phase of its ambitious fundraising goals.

NSPS raised over $500,000 to move the locomotive from Centennial Park to the restoration facility. Another $1.5 to $2 million is needed for the locomotive’s restoration and operations, Meador said.

Climb Aboard 576! will build upon NSPS’ early fundraising success. Meador reports that donations from 36 US states and two foreign countries have fueled the organization’s early fundraising success. “We’ve had incredible support so far,” Meador said. “Our donors recognize the history, lore, and potential of Nashville’s railroad icon.”

From Blues to Gospel: No. 576 was made famous by the music it inspired

The Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway No. 576 pulled the trains that brought the musicians to Nashville. The NC&STL connected Nashville to the Memphis blues and Atlanta Gospel. “The NC&StL brought the musicians that gave Nashville its sound,” said Joey Bryan, Communications Manager for Nashville Steam.

The 576 has appeared on several magazine covers, and album covers over the years alongside some of Nashville’s finest musicians, including Johnny Cash and Hank Snow.

To donate to the restoration of No. 576, go to www.nashvillesteam.org/donate.

NSPS Steam Reaches Initial Fundraising Goal

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Nashville Steam Surpasses $500,000 Goal,
Historic Steam Locomotive To Be Relocated By Early Next Year

No. 576 has been on display in Centennial Park since 1953.
Donations have come in from 36 states and the United Kingdom.
“No. 576 Revival Party” Planned for October 27th.

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) today announced that, thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors from across the nation and globe, it has surpassed its initial fundraising goal of $500,000. Achieving this milestone enables NSPS to relocate the famous Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway (NC&StL) Steam Locomotive No. 576 from Nashville’s Centennial Park to a nearby shop facility for a complete restoration to operation. The highly anticipated relocation of the locomotive is planned for late 2018 or early 2019, once arrangements with the moving contractor have been finalized.

Known as the “Stripe,” No. 576 is the only remaining J3 Class 4-8-4 steam locomotive built for the NC&StL Railway. The locomotive was designed in the company’s office building on Broadway in the heart of Nashville and manufactured by the American Locomotive Company in 1942. The locomotive, long associated with Nashville’s Country Music roots, has been on display in Nashville’s Centennial Park since 1953. Fans of Johnny Cash will also recognize the locomotive from his 1969 Life Magazine Cover. “This is a true milestone for the history of No. 576,” said NSPS President Shane Meador. “We would like to thank everyone who has contributed thus far to get the project to this point. Through their generous contributions, No. 576 now has another lease on life.”

As part of a 2016 lease agreement with Metro Nashville, owner of No. 576, NSPS was required to raise $500,000 prior to relocating the historic locomotive to ensure sufficient funding was in place. Now that this initial goal has been met, the locomotive will be moved from Centennial Park to live railroad tracks nearby. No. 576 will then be moved to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum approximately five miles away, where the restoration is planned to take place.

NSPS has held regular work sessions in Centennial Park since 2016 to inspect the locomotive and prepare it for relocation. Several components and appliances have been completely restored off-site and are ready for service. Each work session attracts hundreds of interested spectators curious about the locomotive and the work being done. In August, Nashville Steam volunteers successfully rolled the locomotive back about five feet. “Once the locomotive’s wheels broke free from the rusty rails, it rolled smoothly just like when it was first built 75 years ago,” said Meador.

Nationwide support for the Nashville landmark

Even though No. 576 is as much a part of Nashville as country music, NSPS has received donations from well beyond Music City. “So far we have received donations from 36 states and even a few from the United Kingdom. No. 576 may be in the heart of Nashville but its appeal has no bounds,” said Bill Webster, Treasurer for NSPS. “These early donations will translate into economic dollars as these fans of Nashville’s locomotive will travel here once No. 576 is operational.” Similar steam locomotive attractions in other cities have added millions of dollars to local tourism.

Nashville Steam launched a major campaign in March 2018 in order to raise the remaining funding needed to relocate the locomotive by the end of the year. In just six months, that effort alone raised more than $245,000. Contributing organizations include the Candelaria Fund, the Tom E. Dailey Foundation, Metro Parks Foundation, and numerous other private foundations, corporations, and individuals.

October Event Planned to Send Off Locomotive 

Nashville Steam is also planning a grand send-off party for the locomotive on Saturday, October 27th they are calling the “No. 576 Revival Party.” The afternoon and evening event will celebrate the history of the locomotive in Centennial Park and give people a chance to envision its future. “If you grew up in Nashville, chances are you had your picture taken in front of No. 576 at some point in your life,” said Joey Bryan, Communications Manager for NSPS. “This will be the last opportunity for people to get a picture with the locomotive before we start final preparations for the relocation.”

The October event will simultaneously serve as the kickoff for the next round of fundraising. “Restoring a steam locomotive is an expensive endeavor,” said Bryan. “It takes a lot of work and money to make these industrial machines sing like they used to.” Musicians from all genres have looked to the steam locomotive for rhythmic inspiration in their song writing. “It only makes sense to have an operational steam locomotive right here in Music City.”

Nashville Steam anticipates an additional $2 million will need to be raised over the next three to four years to restore No. 576 to operation. “We are exploring several funding opportunities as well as grant programs to help offset the costs,” added Bryan. “It’s certainly a major undertaking but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months it’s that people want to hear and feel the song that only No. 576 can deliver.”

To donate to the restoration of No. 576, go to www.nashvillesteam.org/donate.

Fundraising Hits $475,000

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Thanks to the generosity of our incredible donors, we have raised more than $475,000! We are now in the final stretch of reaching our initial goal of $500,000.

Help us make the final push to close the gap! And with our current matching grant opportunity NOW is the perfect time to donate!

Once we hit the mark, we will start the process to move No. 576 back to live rail and kick the restoration into high gear. Let’s get No. 576 back on the rails in 2018!

New Matching Grant Aids Relocation Fund

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Donations Surpass $375,000, Final Push of Phase 2 Underway

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Final push underway to raise funds for the relocation of 
Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Steam Locomotive No. 576

 

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society’s goal is $500,000.
To date, the grassroots effort has pulled in $375,000.
When the remaining $125,000 is raised, heavy restoration can begin

 

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) today announced that it is only $125,000 short of its initial $500,000 fundraising goal for the relocation of the famous Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway (NC&StL) Steam Locomotive No. 576, on display in Centennial Park since 1953.

Known as the “Stripe,” the locomotive is the last remaining J3 4-8-4 steam locomotive designed and built by the American Locomotive Company for the NC&StL Railway. The locomotive, long associated with Nashville’s Country Music roots, sits in Nashville’s Centennial Park eagerly waiting for restoration and the return to the high iron in excursion service.

As part of the lease agreement with the City, NSPS must raise $500,000 before the historic locomotive can be relocated. When the remaining $125,000 is raised, the locomotive will be removed from its display site and transported to the initial restoration facility approximately five miles away.

“The 576 is a beloved local icon that toured throughout the South from Memphis across the state to Nashville and on down to Chattanooga and Atlanta,” said NSPS President Shane Meador. “Restoring the last remaining Stripe will serve as a visceral link to the history of Nashville.”

With a number of special events planned during peak summer months and another fundraising push to rail fans around the world, Meador hopes that the group can raise the remaining $125,000 by the end of September. “If that happens, we can move No. 576 out of the park by the end of the year,” he said.

Nationwide support for the Nashville landmark

For decades, families and friends gathered in front of No. 576 for pictures. Johnny Cash posed next to the locomotive for the cover of Life Magazine in 1969. “If you grew up in Nashville, chances are you had your picture taken in front of No. 576 at some point in your life,” Meador said. “The 576 is as much of a Nashville landmark as the Ryman Auditorium, the Parthenon, or Union Station.”

Even though No. 576 is as Nashville as country music, the NSPS reports that donations have come from across the country. A $75 for 75 Campaign, launched in September 2017, marked the locomotive’s 75th anniversary of the date the locomotive entered into service. The campaign was boosted by a $50,000 matching grant from the Candelaria Fund in California. That effort alone raised more than $120,000.

The NSPS’ hope is that the restoration of the locomotive will celebrate Nashville’s musical roots, add to Nashville’s vibrant tourism industry, and help younger generations imagine careers in technical trades such as welding, machining, and mechanical comprehension.

“When people see No. 576 thunder past them on the rails, they’ll see the ultimate in power and machinery,” Meador said. “Steam locomotives are living and breathing classrooms of history and science. By restoring Nashville’s own No. 576, we are teaching an important but often forgotten aspect of our history and showcasing the mechanical ingenuity of its design and the science of how these machines work.”

“Hearing the whistle and the clatter of the wheels against the steel rails is musical,” NSPS Communications Manager Joey Bryan added. “The 576 has a beat all its own, just like the city it served. I can’t wait to hear that rhythm.”

Click here to donate.

NSPS Hosts Successful Open House

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On Friday October 13th, The Nashville Steam Preservation Society hosted an Open House in honor of Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway steam locomotive No. 576’s 75th birthday. No. 576 was built in 1942 by the American Steam Locomotive Company and arrived in Nashville just in time for the war effort. The Open House was an all out 1940s bash with the locomotive dressed up to its revenue service appearance. The highlight of the event was the performance by the Moonlighters Big Band ensemble, taking everyone in attendance back to a bygone era. More than a thousand people walked around the plaza and toured the locomotive’s cab. An additional fan favorite was the occasional blast of No. 576’s original whistle.  With the help of a large air compressor, the voice of the NC&StL ‘Stripes’ echoed through the streets of west Nashville after a 60-year hiatus. Thank you to all who attended and everyone who made the event a huge success!!