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Progress Report

No. 576 Boiler Report Now Available

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Findings on the Boiler Inspection of NC&St.L No. 576

Condition Is As or Better Than Expected; Repairs to Continue as Soon as Possible

During the first few months of 2020, experts in steam mechanics and Nashville Steam volunteers inspected the current condition of No. 576’s boiler. Because of this cooperative effort, we have successfully identified all trouble areas of the boiler and have developed the scope of work for the boiler repairs. These efforts are already underway with volunteers logging, measuring, and removing nearly 70% of those “trouble” areas for repair and replacement prior to the temporary suspension of our mechanical work sessions. Our friends at World Testing, Inc. have provided their skill and resources that enabled the ultrasonic thickness (UT) testing to be completed, metallurgical analysis of all original boiler steel including calculating the tensile strength by using a hardness tester in conjunction with the metallurgy. All of this information is vital so that our engineers can accurately calculate the minimum thicknesses of each boiler plate, identify all trouble areas to address, and to ultimately ensure that the boiler is safe and suitable for service.

The repairs required to No. 576’s boiler will primarily focus on the areas surrounding and making up the firebox with the exception of some pad welding as allowed in 49 CFR 230 to the first boiler course due to corrosion from sitting on display in Centennial Park for 65 years. All work will be in accordance with 49 CFR 230, mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and will follow applicable railroad standard practices and the ASME and NBIC requirements.

The work that has been identified is as follows:

  • Front tube sheet weld repairs to torch cut and nicked areas from its first tube replacement in 1947
  • Pad welding corroded areas to the exterior of the first course.
  • Replace a handful of rivets at the front course to tube sheet and butt strap seams due to heavy rivet head corrosion.
  • Replace rear tube sheet due to unacceptable weld fit / high low at seam to combustion chamber and cracked tube and flue bridges. Rear tube sheet has been removed and material is ordered for the new one. Once on hand, the new sheet will be laid out, flanged, stress relieved, and all tube and flue holes cut into it with a water jet machine.
  • Repairs to top rear combustion chamber syphon are necessary due to cracking. Combustion chamber syphon is removed and out for repairs.
  • Both inside firebox side sheets will be replaced all the way to the mud ring due to excessively driven staybolt heads and thin lower portions of the sheets. Once time and effort were spent on welding up each staybolt hole to cut new threads, it was determined that it is cheaper and easier to replace the sheet when necessary to replace all of the staybolts in the area. Both inside side sheets are removed, all staybolts are removed, and sheet material is on order. Rivet heads were cut off to allow removal of the sheets. Rivets will be driven out next and replaced once the new sheet is installed and welded in.
  • Wrapper sheet (outside firebox sheet) will require four flush patches, whereas the old sheets will be cut out, and new sheets formed, fit, and welded in to take the place of the original steel. These repairs are due to corrosion. Additionally, the top of the wrapper, sometimes referred too as the “roof sheet” will require some pad welding in areas that are marginal in thickness.
  • The backhead will require three flush patches due to corrosion and some pad welding in a few other locations.
  • Both inside rear corners of the firebox have been removed for replacement due to cracking.
  • Both arch tubes have been removed and will both be replaced as this was a common component regularly replaced during the age of steam.
  • Other repairs include replacing a large number of the boiler studs and flexible staybolt sleeves (and associated flexible staybolts) due to corrosion.

Major work on the boiler started in early March but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Material has been ordered for all sheet repairs and flexible staybolt sleeves and caps and we plan on getting back into high gear as soon as it is safe to do so.

It does look like a lot of work, and is, but it isn’t anything the experts involved with this project haven’t done before or can’t handle now. Keep in mind that the railroads commonly replaced many of these noted parts of the boiler that we shouldn’t have to change again for many years and will help ensure that No. 576 will be a reliable locomotive once restored and operating. The timing of this work to be completed is dependent on the availability of workers with the knowledge and expertise to conduct the needed repairs and consistent funding for the materials and contract work. We are very pleased with the condition of the boiler despite more than six decades of being exposed to the elements. The shop workers who prepped No. 576 for long term display clearly took pride in their work and ensuring the last remaining J-3 steam locomotive would be around for generations!

“Road to Revival” YouTube Series Will Document No. 576 Restoration

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The Nashville Steam Preservation Society announces a new video series that will bring updates on the restoration of NC&StL No. 576. “The Road to Revival” focuses on various aspects on the disassembly, repair, restoration, and eventual reassembly of the 77-year old steam locomotive. Each episode will be 5 to 7 minutes and offer mechanical updates as well as historical insights and personal stories of Nashville’s locomotive.

Follow the “Road to Revival” on the Nashville Steam YouTube channel! Click the link below and subscribe to be notified about all new videos from NSPS.

CSX Donates Two Boxcars for 576 Restoration

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CSX CONTINUES SUPPORT OF HISTORIC NASHVILLE LOCOMOTIVE RESTORATION
Two Donated Boxcars will be Used for Secure Storage of Key Equipment and Materials  

NASHVILLE, Tennessee—CSX Transportation has once again made a significant contribution to the restoration of No. 576, the legendary Nashville steam locomotive currently undergoing a full restoration.

As the successor company to the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad (NC&StL) where “The Stripe” ran the rails in the 1940s and ‘50s, CSX supported the train’s relocation from Centennial Park to the restoration site, and earlier this year donated a turntable that will facilitate future excursions once the locomotive is hauling passengers again. Now the third-largest railroad in North America has donated two boxcars that will allow the Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) to secure valuable equipment and key materials throughout the restoration process.

“CSX has been a tremendous partner to the Nashville Steam Preservation Society, and our success to date has been a tribute to that support,” said NSPS President Shane Meador. “From the planning stages through the move across town in January, down CSX rails to Union Station in March, and continuing today through additional contributions that make the restoration possible, our friends at CSX have been generously supportive and willing to help. We couldn’t be more appreciative of their care and support, for the benefit of future generations.”

Designed at the Nashville headquarters of the NC&StL, No. 576 was built and delivered to Nashville just in time to haul troop and supply trains throughout the southeast as America entered World War II. After the war, The Stripe operated in revenue service for 10 years before being donated to the people of Nashville. Over the years, it became an iconic backdrop for countless childhood memories and photographs in Centennial Park, including a 1960s LIFE Magazine cover featuring Johnny Cash.

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society formed in 2015 to preserve and celebrate the artifacts of Nashville’s rail heritage. NSPS secured an agreement with Metro Nashville in 2016 to lease the locomotive with the intention to restore and operate the steam engine for special excursions out of downtown Nashville. Over the last two years, NSPS has raised more than $800,000 of the approximately $2 million needed for restoration, and thousands of volunteer hours have been dedicated to moving the engine across town and the ongoing restoration.

No. 576 Move Out of Centennial Park A Success!

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After months of planning and a week of prep work, Nashville Steam completed the relocation of No. 576 from Centennial Park to the Nashville & Western Railroad without a hitch. More than a thousand people came out to watch the historic move in person and thousands more watched online thanks to the Trains Magazine live stream. The move to the railroad was anticipated to take about three to four hours. However, thanks to the efficiency of the army of utility workers leapfrogging one another to ensure the locomotive cleared all the traffic lights and overhead wires, the move took less than two hours. We would like to sincerely thank the Mammoet heavy-lifting company and everyone who ensured a fast and safe relocation.

NSPS volunteers are working hard to prepare the locomotive for the upcoming tow across town to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. So far, the main rods have been removed, the side rods cleaned and serviced, the draw bar and safety bar reinstalled, and new brake hoses applied. Soon the locomotive and tender will be reconnected so we can begin testing the new braking system. We have been working with CSX to find a time slot to tow the locomotive across town. It will more than likely happen on a weekend in early March. We will release updates here on our website and on the Nashville Steam Facebook page as plans are finalized.

No. 576 to Depart Park Tomorrow Between 8am and 9am

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    The time of departure has been modified to allow more daylight for the move out of Centennial Park. Crews will arrive at 7am on Sunday, January 13th and the move out of the park will begin between 8am and 9am. Please note that because of the machinery involved and coordinating with the various utility companies the time is subject to change. The move will happen rain or shine. The only potential weather delays would be for ice or severe storms. Currently there is a chance of rain for Sunday morning. Follow our social media pages for the latest updates on the move out of the park (Links Below).
     If you are unable to attend or wish to stay warm at home, our friends at Trains Magazine will be streaming the move live on their Facebook page. (Link Below) You do not need a Facebook account to watch the live feed. We will also be posting photos and videos of the move on our website and Facebook page.
    Mammoet and Nashville Steam crews have been working hard this week to ensure No. 576 is loaded safely and efficiently. No. 576 rolled out of the shed with ease thanks to the Timken roller bearings and the dedication of the Nashville Shop employees who prepared the locomotive for long term display back in 1953. Their care and admiration for the locomotive is clearly evident today. Not long now ’til No. 576 is on the road to restoration!
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Relocation of No. 576 Begins, Trains Magazine to Livestream Sunday’s Move

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Moving crews from Mammoet arrived on Monday to begin setting up equipment and installing temporary track in front of No. 576. The locomotive will be pulled from the shed and then lifted using jacks and gantries. It will then be loaded onto a multi-axle, self-propelled trailer built specifically for heavy hauls. The public is welcome to come watch the loading but must watch from behind the safety fencing.

For those unable to attend the historic move on Sunday, Trains Magazine will be livestreaming the event on their Facebook page. Continue to check our Facebook and social media pages as well for more updates, photos, and videos. Links are below.

Trains Magazine Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TrainsMagazine/

Nashville Steam Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/NashvilleSteam/