Press Release

NSPS Receives $100,000 Grant for No. 576 Restoration

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Key Grants Help Maximize Donor Contributions in 2020, as Restoration Continues

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The fundraising campaign behind the restoration of legendary steam locomotive No. 576 has now crossed the $1 million raised threshold, with the announcement of a $100,000 grant from the Walter J. Ferguson Foundation.

The non-profit Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) is spearheading the fundraising and restoration, with a goal to return the locomotive previously on display in Centennial Park since the 1950s to full operational condition in the next few years. In December, former railroad executives and rail history supporters Richard Tower and Wick Moorman announced a matching grant up to $300,000 in contributions of $1,000 or more made by Dec. 31, 2020. The Walter J. Ferguson Foundation grant is taking advantage of that match, and encouraging others to get involved.

“My father loved steam locomotives and appreciated their significance to America’s history, and we are proud to support Nashville Steam’s campaign to bring No. 576 back to operation,” said Linda Krater, the late Mr. Ferguson’s daughter who now oversees the Foundation. “Beyond the history, we teach our children now about the elements of STEAM education – science, technology, education, arts and math – and this project offers all of those opportunities, both today and for generations to come.”

The approximately $2 million restoration is well underway at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, located in the Railyard District just east of downtown Nashville, with the locomotive disassembled and key components and appliances being restored and reinstalled. Recently, technicians from NSPS sponsor World Testing, Inc. have been performing ultrasonic and metallurgical testing on the boiler components that generate the steam that powers the engine, and have been impressed with the present-day integrity of 1942-era American steel.

“We have been very pleased with the condition as the engine and coal tender have been mostly disassembled and inspected,” said NSPS President Shane Meador, who has led successful locomotive restoration efforts across the country. “The incredible financial support we’ve seen from Nashvillians, Tennesseans and folks around the nation has been a blessing to our efforts. It takes a community of people to be successful, and we welcome anyone with an interest to get involved.”

Whether as a volunteer or donor, many opportunities exist to join Nashville Steam in the restoration campaign. Head to to learn more.

Country Music Legend Marty Stuart Joins Effort to Restore No. 576

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Artist-in-Residence Marty Stuart to Unveil Song About Nashville’s Legendary Steam Locomotive No. 576 at Sept. 25 Country Music Hall of Fame Concert
‘Songs That Tell a Story’ Show to include “The Duchess” to Honor History, Raise Funds for Restoration

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Five-time GRAMMY-winning artist Marty Stuart loves a good country ballad, and so many of them revolve around trains. Now he and his longtime bandmate, Harry Stinson of the Fabulous Superlatives, have written a song to capture the spirit and history of Nashville’s most iconic steam engine: Locomotive No. 576. The World War II-era J3 Class Locomotive served Nashville’s Union Station for years before being retired to Centennial Park, where it sat for 65 years. No. 576 is now undergoing a complete restoration, and will soon be put back into service pulling passenger excursions from downtown Nashville.

“The Duchess (Queen of the Dixie Line)” will be unveiled as part of Stuart’s ‘Songs That Tell a Story’ acoustic show at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Wednesday, September 25, at 8 p.m. in the CMA Theater. The song will be available for download on music streaming channels afterward, with all funds going to support the non-profit Nashville Steam Preservation Society’s restoration of No. 576. The organization anticipates the $2+ million project will take three to four years to complete, a timeline that is dependent upon fundraising.


“Harry and I both have a long history with this train, as do so many others. Johnny Cash was photographed for LIFE Magazine in front of it, and that guitar he’s holding is now one of my prized possessions. When you think about the soldiers that rode behind this engine to war, or the folks who traveled on it to Memphis and Atlanta, or the kids who dreamed about great adventures while climbing on it in the park – that’s why we wrote this song,” Stuart said. “We call her The Duchess, and she deserves to be honored. I offered myself to the Nashville Steam organization to let me be the hood ornament on the front of this campaign, and I’ll help any way I can to raise the funds and get her rolling again.”

This fall is perfect timing for the song’s release, with the release of Ken Burns’ eight-part documentary “Country Music” on PBS beginning on September 15. Stuart features prominently in the film, as do old locomotives that played such an important role in the lives and emotions of countless hit songs and the people who wrote and performed them.

To date, the Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) has raised nearly $1 million toward the total project cost, and is deep into the restoration at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, located in the Railyard District just east of downtown Nashville. The organization hopes the song will bring much-needed awareness and funding to the campaign. “It takes a community to be successful with a project of this scale, and we are very thankful of the efforts of supporters like Marty and Harry. We have a couple hundred volunteers, all of whom are contributing their unique talents and expertise,” said NSPS President Shane Meador, who has led the restoration of several historic locomotives around the country.

No. 576 to Leave Centennial Park on January 13th!

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The Nashville Steam Preservation Society Announces the Relocation Of
Historic Steam Locomotive No. 576 Out of Centennial Park For Restoration
Will Happen On Sunday, January 13, 2019.

  • 576 has been on display in Centennial Park since 1953.  
  • The locomotive will move from Centennial Park to the Nashville & Western Railroad. 
  • The restoration of the landmark locomotive will take approximately four years and $1.5 to 2 million. 
  • 576 to pull excursions on the Nashville & Eastern Railroad.

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) announced today that former Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway (NC&StL) steam locomotive No. 576 will make its long anticipated move from Centennial Park and back to live rails on Sunday, January 13, 2019. This effort is the culmination of more than two years of fundraising and volunteer labor, and it will be accomplished by hauling the locomotive and tender nearly two miles down some of the busiest streets in Nashville on specially-equipped, multi-wheeled trailers. The move of No. 576 will enable NSPS to undertake an in-depth, multi-year overhaul to return the locomotive to operational condition, after which point it will pull excursion trains for the general public on the Nashville & Eastern Railroad, between Nashville and easterly communities including Lebanon, Watertown and Cookeville.

The steam locomotive was manufactured in 1942 to aid in the war effort, and it spent ten years hauling trains for the NC&StL Railway where it served as a steam-producing, music-inspiring, passenger-carrying, history-making locomotive that connected musicians to Music City. In 1953, No. 576 was moved to Nashville’s Centennial Park where it served as a static relic of the past and backdrop for countless family photos.

“Following its donation to Nashville, No. 576 continued with a new purpose, giving our young visitors a sense of history and our seasoned visitors a sense of nostalgia,” explained Metro Parks Director, and NSPS Advisor, Monique Odom. “We are excited to see the progress made by NSPS over the past few years, and we look forward to the day, sometime soon, when Nashvillians and tourists alike can board a train behind No. 576.”

A Tedious and Labor-Intensive Process

“Metro Nashville, Metro Parks and the railroads have been a big help to us in coordinating the logistics of this monumental task, and our hard working volunteers have invested more than 8,000 hours preparing the locomotive for this day” said Shane Meador, NSPS President. “We want to share this special move with the general public, and all are invited to come out and watch.”

“With that said, moving massive machinery requires constant vigilance, and safety is our top priority. Spectators should stay at least 300 feet away from the locomotive and stay behind all established barriers,” added Meador.

NSPS is fortunate to have the expert support, and generous sponsorship, of Mammoet, a global leader in engineered heavy lifting and transport, to move the locomotive by a special multi-wheeled transporter from Centennial Park to the Nashville & Western Railroad where it will be unloaded onto live rails for the first time since 1953.

“We are honored to be able to assist in returning this artifact to life,” explained Mammoet Manager Dave Johnson. “Our Team will work diligently to ensure the locomotive is transported safely from Centennial Park to the Nashville & Western Railroad.”

Once No. 576 is delivered to the Nashville & Western Railroad (NWRR), NSPS crews will spend four-to-six weeks preparing the locomotive for its four-mile rail journey across town. The locomotive will be towed on its own wheels from the NWRR to sister railroad Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR), by CSX Transportation, the third largest railroad in North America and successor company to the NC&StL. It will then be moved to the restoration facility at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum.

“Climb Aboard 576!” to build upon NSPS’ early fundraising success

In just over two years, NSPS has raised more than $500,000 to cover the cost of moving the locomotive from Centennial Park to the restoration facility and to kick start the mechanical restoration. An additional $1.5 to $2 million will be required to finalize the restoration and cover initial operating costs of the locomotive.

To coincide with this move, NSPS is excited to announce receipt of a $200,000 Challenge Grant from the Candelaria Fund, kicking off “Climb Aboard 576!”, the next phase of fundraising for the mechanical overhaul of the locomotive. NSPS is seeking additional donations to support this restoration and looks forward to having the chance to pull thousands of people on special excursions departing downtown Nashville.

About Locomotive No. 576

Steam locomotive No. 576 was built for the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway in 1942 by the American Locomotive Company. The locomotive arrived just in time for the war effort and hauled troop and supply trains throughout the southeast. No. 576 operated in revenue service for 10 years and was then donated to the people of Nashville. The locomotive was dedicated in Centennial Park on September 30, 1953 and has called the park home ever since.

Though it racked up many hundreds of thousands of miles, No. 576 only served the railroad for 10 years, being retired in 1952 as the railroad converted from steam to diesel-electric locomotives. Thanks to the hard work of many Nashvillians, though, No. 576 was saved from the scrapper’s torch and moved to Centennial Park in 1953.

Since its retirement to the park, No. 576 has appeared on the cover of several magazines and albums over the years, serving as a backdrop to some of Nashville’s finest musicians, including Johnny Cash and Hank Snow. NSPS is thrilled to have the chance to “un-retire” No. 576 and bring it back to life for all to enjoy.

Nashville Steam Preservation Society

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society formed in 2015 to preserve and celebrate the artifacts of Nashville’s rail heritage. NSPS secured an agreement with the Metro Nashville in August 2016 to lease the locomotive with the intention to restore and operate the steam locomotive for special excursions out of downtown Nashville. NSPS is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.

To donate to the restoration of No. 576, please visit

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

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

Nashville Steam Announces New Advisory Committee

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Nashville Steam Preservation Society establishes Advisory Committee to
provide counsel and expertise to the team restoring the
Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576 Steam Locomotive

The Advisory Committee provides railroading, business, development, cultural
and public relations expertise during the restoration of the Nashville icon

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society announced the formation of an Advisory Committee that will guide the organization as it restores the Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576 Steam Locomotive to operational service.

The Advisory Committee draws its membership from Nashville and beyond and represents the business, marketing, legal, and railroading industries.

“Restoring No. 576 is an ambitious project that involves expertise from a wide range of professions,” said Shane Meador, president of Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS). “Our Advisory Committee will help to guide operations as we raise funds, restore the locomotive, build a maintenance and display facility and operate excursions on the Nashville and Eastern Railroad.”

The Advisory Committee includes:

  • Wick Moorman, Co-Chair
    President, Chairman and CEO, Norfolk Southern Corp (retired);
    CEO, Amtrak (retired)
  • Richard Tower, Co-Chair
    Amtrak District Superintendent (retired).
    President, The Candelaria Fund (grant making foundation)
  • Bill Purcell
    Former Mayor, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, and founding Partner at Farmer Purcell White & Lassiter, PLLC.
  • Monique Odom
    Director, Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation
  • Bill Drunsic
    President, Nashville & Eastern Railroad (retired)
  • Jim Wrinn
    Chief Editor, Trains Magazine
  • Doyle McCormack
    President, Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation / SP 4449
  • Mark Hinsdale
    Assistant Vice President Network Strategy, CSX (retired)
  • Bill Ozier
    Attorney at Nashville’s Bass, Berry, and Sims PLC (retired)
  • Dr. Mike Hartshorne
    President, New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society
  • Hank Sherwood
    Creative Director at GS&F Marketing Firm (retired)

“This effort has a lot of potential. The members that comprise the large group of volunteers leading this project are both talented and committed,” said co-chair Rich Tower, “and it’s clear that Nashville enthusiastically supports the restoration of this significant part of its history.” The Advisory Committee will help guide NSPS using their varied experiences with other, similar endeavors. “The caliber of professionals on our Advisory Committee is a testament to the commitment and caliber of the Nashville Steam Preservation Society Team,” said Meador. “We strongly believe that with the progress we have made to date, and the quality of the people involved, the restoration of No. 576 will be a credit to the city of Nashville.”

Head to the Advisors Page to learn more.