NASHVILLE, Tennessee – As the restoration of Nashville’s iconic steam locomotive nears its halfway point, Nashville Steam Preservation Society has issued a matching grant challenge to raise $100,000 by the end of 2021. Thanks to a generous opportunity from The Candelaria Fund and The Wick Moorman Charitable Foundation, all donations, and gifts over $500 will be matched up to $100,000 until December 31st.
“This restoration is just at 50% complete thanks to consistent support from our generous donors. We hope to have steam locomotive No. 576 back on its wheels by next fall and operational within the next couple of years,” said Shane Meador, President of Nashville Steam.
Donations can be made online at nashvillesteam.org/donate or by mail at 220 Willow Street, Nashville, Tennessee 37210-2159.
Plans call for No. 576 to become a regional and state-wide tourist attraction operating excursion trains over RJ Corman’s Nashville & Eastern Railroad in a partnership with the Tennessee Central Railroad Museum. To date, Nashville Steam volunteers and qualified contractors have made significant progress in restoring the various locomotive components including the power reverse, hot water pump, lubricators, safety valves, and syphons.
Earlier this year, crews lifted the locomotive to remove the large driving wheels for rebuilding. Nashville Steam’s remaining fundraising goal is $800,000 to complete the restoration project and get No. 576 back on the high iron.
“Donors have shown that they believe in Nashville Steam and that confidence deserves to be rewarded, but the task isn’t over yet,” said Meador. “We are grateful that Richard and Caroline Tower of The Candelaria Fund and Wick Moorman of The Wick Moorman Charitable Foundation continue to recognize how critical grassroots support is to see our project succeed.”
Over the next 14 months, Nashville Steam hopes to complete the overhaul of the locomotive’s driving wheels, engine and trailing trucks, spring rigging, frame, and wrap up the firebox and most boiler work.
Among the tasks left to complete on the 576 are:
- Backhead flush patch and brace installation
- Staybolt installation
- Machine work for the locomotive driving boxes
- Install new tires on locomotive drivers
- Quarter crankpins
- Reassemble engine and lead truck
- Install rebuilt spring rigging
- Frame, binders, shoe, and wedge machining and installation
- Run Lubrication lines
- Complete rebuild of air compressor
- Reinstall locomotive wheels and trucks
- Machine new rod brasses
- Finish installation of flexible staybolts and sleeves
- Install tubes and flues
- Conduct hydrostatic boiler test
Work on 576 continues at various specialized shops around the country and at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, located in the Railyard District just east of downtown Nashville.