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Progress Report

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!

Nashville Steam Successfully Moves No. 576, First Time In 65 Years

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This past Friday, Nashville Steam reached a true milestone in the restoration of No. 576. After nearly 65 years of lying in repose, the locomotive showed the first sign of life. Months of work from our volunteers, and a large wrecker truck, finally freed up the wheels and running gear, allowing the locomotive to roll back a few feet. A truly unforgettable sight!

We’re closer than ever to reaching our initial fundraising goal! And with our new matching grant, now is the perfect time to donate! Head to the link below and help give No. 576 a second lease on life!

www.nashvillesteam.org/donate

New Matching Grant Aids Relocation Fund

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“Gauging” the Restoration

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Work continues outside of Centennial Park on No. 576’s various appliances, including the original gauges from the locomotive’s cab. These are the visual tools the engine crew used to monitor and adjust the conditions of the locomotive. The gauges below have been completely restored and are ready for service.

New Technology Aids Boiler Inspection

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This past Friday, representatives from EON Products, Inc. and World Testing, Inc. were on site at Centennial Park to perform more inspections on the condition of the boiler. Specialists used handheld analyzers to measure the amount of carbon within the steel plates of the boiler. The CFR mandates that in order to weld repair any unstayed area of the boiler, the carbon count must be below .25, so these tests are extremely important as we plan ahead to the restoration phase.

For this inspection, World Testing used the SciApps Z-analyzer that uses a LIBS technique. What exactly does that mean? LIBS means “laser induced breakdown spectroscopy” and it yields nearly instant readings on the metal that it’s testing. This is the only analyzer currently on the market that has the ability to measure carbon in alloys. We are pleased to announce that all of the readings showed the carbon amount at less than . 25! The men who maintained the NC&StL’s steam fleet could never have imagined that this could be done with a tool that fits in the palm of a hand!

World Testing, Inc. previously performed ultrasonic tests on various portions of the boiler measuring the thickness of the sheet metal. They are a metals testing laboratory, locally-based in Mt. Juliet, TN, offering Radiographic Examination, Ultrasonic Inspection, Magnetic Particle Examination, Liquid Penetrant, Hardness Testing, Leak Testing, Visual Inspection, Alloy Analysis, Welding Certifications, Welding Procedures and Consultations.

As a subcontractor for construction and engineering firms throughout the United States, World Testing performs destructive and nondestructive testing of structural steel, castings and piping for compliance with codes and customer specifications in fabrication and welding operations.

Their services are performed at shop and field projects of all sizes and types of structural steel, pipelines, compressor stations, pressure pipe, pressure vessels (including steam trains!) and related facilities throughout the United States. We are very appreciative of their help and proud to call them a partner!