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Nashville’s Centennial Park train could be restored, run again

By April 30, 2016Press Coverage

The Tennessean reports:

Steam locomotive No. 576 sits motionless at Centennial Park, covered in bird droppings and stuffed with nests.

One of the last steam engines built in the country, its purpose was to haul troops and oil during World War II.

And if a group of locomotive preservationists are successful, it may once again take passengers on a ride.

“If you see a train go by nowadays, it basically is a rumbling box with wheels. Whereas these, it’s almost as if they live and breathe,” said Shane Meador, president of the nonprofit Nashville Steam Preservation Society.

The group of about 18 locomotive restoration professionals and enthusiasts hope to restore the 74-year-old steam locomotive to working order, pending approval by Metro Parks and the Metro Council.

“The opportunity to ride a steam train out of Riverfront Park could be a much richer experience than the current static observation available in Centennial Park and is worthy of consideration,” Metro Parks director Tommy Lynch said in a statement. The board meeting is May 3.

If successful, the train will be moved to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum near Rolling Hill Mill, where the group will make parts or add commissioned parts to replace corroded ones.

Once completed, the locomotive would pull the museum’s 14 restored ’50s-era passenger cars to carry Nashvillians on the Nashville & Eastern Railroad, used by the Music City Star. It would operate 20-30 times a year.

“For Pete’s sake, we can board right off Broadway across from the Titans Stadium,” Meador said. “No other operation in the eastern United States can say they do that in a major city like this.”