New $300,000 Matching Grant To Boost No. 576’s Restoration!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Restoration Currently Underway Pending Funding; Donation Could Mean $600,000 Boost

 NASHVILLE, Tennessee – As Nashville’s legendary steam locomotive No. 576 is disassembled and each component refurbished, the campaign to support its full restoration to operational condition has gotten another big boost of private support. Former railroad executives and rail history supporters Richard Tower and Wick Moorman have partnered in offering to match up to $300,000 in contributions of $1,000 or more made between now and Dec. 31, 2020.

“The restoration of No. 576 is well underway – our greatest challenge is funding, so this is an incredibly important gift,” said NSPS President Shane Meador. “If we can raise the funds to maximize the matching potential, then we will be well over halfway to our goal, and the restoration timeline can remain on track.”

Richard Tower loves railroads – the history, the significance, the engines that run them, and the process of restoring them to their former glory for the benefit of future generations. Through his family’s San Francisco-based charitable foundation, The Candelaria Fund, which he runs with his wife, Caroline, Tower has played a significant role in bringing numerous historic locomotives back to live rails.

Professionally, his career in railroad operations with Amtrak, Southern Pacific Transportation Company and the engineering firm Wilbur Smith Associates spanned from Washington, D.C. to Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco. He became president of The Candelaria Fund in 1997, and has been involved in multiple successful historic rail preservation projects. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Company, where he served as vice president and treasurer for four years, was named the Best Train Ride in North America by USA Today, and became a National Historic Landmark in 2012.

Charles W. “Wick” Moorman is the former president and CEO of Amtrak, and earlier served as chairman, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Railway, the company he joined as a college student in 1970. In 2010, Moorman was named Railroader of the Year by Railway Age magazine, and in 2011, he helped spearhead the revival of 21st Century Steam, Norfolk Southern’s popular steam locomotive excursion program.

“The Candelaria Fund has a preference for those organizations that are primarily led by volunteers, and which have active community support and involvement,” Tower says. “With our limited resources, we are interested in efforts that help communities and individuals to collaborate to promote their interests, and Wick Moorman has stepped up in a big way to increase the amount of challenge to encourage it,” Tower said.

“We are aware that much more money must be raised – this is a $2+ million project – before the locomotive can begin pulling excursion trains, but we are confident this can be done,” he says. “We have been impressed with the spirit and energy of the Nashville community and their affection for this symbol of the city’s history. It is our hope that this commitment inspires local Nashville area businesses, charitable organizations and individuals to join us and surpass what we’ve already done.”

To date, the non-profit Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) has raised approximately $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.

“It takes a community to be successful with a project of this scale, and we are very thankful for the efforts of supporters like Richard Tower and Wick Moorman. We have a couple hundred volunteers, all of whom are contributing their unique talents and expertise,” said Meador, who has led the restoration of several historic locomotives around the country.

To donate to the restoration of Nashville’s legendary No. 576, visit:

Historic Nashville, Inc. Endorses Nashville Steam

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society received an endorsement of support from Nashville’s famed preservation advocate, Historic Nashville, Inc. Historic Nashville formed in 1968 to promote and preserve Nashville’s historic environment. They have been involved with the preservation and revitalization of several Nashville landmarks including the Ryman Auditorium, the Hermitage Hotel, the Shelby Street Bridge, and Union Station. Union Station, Nashville’s most iconic physical testament to the golden age of railroading, was saved in large part to the efforts of Historic Nashville, Inc. in the 1980s. Representatives of NSPS attended Historic Nashville’s release of their 2016 “Nashville Nine” list this past October. The list coincided with the grand reopening of Union Station Hotel following extensive renovations. An operable No. 576 will certainly add to this rich collection of preservation achievements in our great city.

“Historic Nashville, Inc. is proud to endorse this important and comprehensive project that will put an iconic historic artifact to use for the community’s benefit and enjoyment.” NSPS is proud to do our part to keep Nashville unique.

Follow the link below to read more from Historic Nashville’s trip to Centennial Park.

Full steam ahead: bringing No. 576 back to life


NSPS Announces October Open House

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society announced recently that it will be hosting an open house at Nashville’s Centennial Park from 16:00-22:00 CT on October 14 in collaboration with Metro Nashville Parks. The group is excited to offer the chance for visitors from near and far to meet the Team, inspect the locomotive, tour the cab, and even participate in a night photo session.

Already, NSPS and its volunteers have been hard at work preparing the locomotive for the get together. Work has included removing the bell and whistle for cleaning and restoration, vacuuming two-and-a-half 55 gallon drum loads worth of sand from the sand dome, hot water pressure washing the locomotive, and more. The goal is to have the locomotive cleaned up and looking similar to its appearance when placed into the park in 1953.

More information and details concerning the NSPS Open House will be released here and on the NSPS Facebook Page approximately one month before the event. We hope to see you all there!

The long and the short of it:

  • WHO: Nashville Steam Preservation Society… and you!
  • WHAT: Open house to meet the NSPS Team, tour the locomotive, and participate in a night photo session
  • WHERE: Nashville’s Centennial Park beside No. 576
  • WHEN: Friday, October 14, 2016 | 4:00 – 10:00 PM
  • PRICE: Free!

NSPS Granted Lease to Overhaul Centennial Park Locomotive

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

NASHVILLE, TENN. August 17, 2016 • The not-for-profit Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) and Metro Nashville have reached an agreement to permit the relocation and restoration of steam locomotive No. 576, a 74-year old steam locomotive displayed in Centennial Park since 1953. As part of the 23-year lease, No. 576 will be returned to operating condition and placed in service as a tourist attraction on the Nashville & Eastern Railroad to operate excursion trains out of downtown Nashville.

“This ordinance presents a really interesting opportunity for Nashville; and it’s an exciting one,” Metro Council Member Angie Henderson explained to the entire Metro Council on Tuesday night. “Steam locomotive No. 576, which has been sitting in Centennial Park for many years, now has the opportunity to be restored to active use for our community and for visitors, and so this [lease] gets the ball rolling.”

The lease approval follows months of mechanical inspections, community meetings, and research, as the preservation society consulted with the local business leaders, expert mechanical contractors and others.

“Operating steam locomotives are rare, thus the ones that are restored to operate in exhibition service attract incredible crowds wherever they go,” explained NSPS President Shane Meador. “An investment in this effort ultimately means an investment in Metro Nashville – past, present and future.”

With significant monetary pledges made already, the organization must raise $3 million in order for No. 576 to operate again. The exacting rebuild process will see the locomotive disassembled and reduced to its frame, boiler and driving wheels where it’ll be thoroughly inspected and re-machined as necessary. The rebuilding will take place just a few miles from downtown Nashville. The organization is also seeking an additional $2 million to construct a permanent, visitor-friendly home and facility for the locomotive that will allow for its continued maintenance as well as to provide an interactive educational environment.

Retired in 1952, No. 576 was one of 20 J3 Class steam locomotives built for the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway. Recognizable by characteristic streamlining and yellow striping, No. 576 and other J3 Class engines earned reputations as mechanical marvels, capable of speeds over 100MPH.

“We are optimistic that we will have the funds to relocate No. 576 either late this year or early next year,” said NSPS Director Alex Joyce. “Once at its Nashville restoration facility, we expect the project to take 3 to 4 years to fully restore the locomotive to an operational historic icon for Nashville.”

NSPS must raise an initial capital goal of $500,000 before relocating No. 576 to its restoration site.

“The Stripe, as we call it, is not only an incredible machine, but a potentially powerful teaching tool,” said Project Foreman Jason Sobczynski. “We are planning a special open house this fall where visitors can meet the team, learn more about the organization’s goals, and explore the uniqueness of No. 576.”

NSPS Moves on to Third, and Final, Metro Council Hearing

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We are thrilled to announce that our ordinance to lease No. 576 from Metro Nashville has passed the second reading!! Thank you to everyone who came out tonight to show support for this historic endeavor. From Trains Magazine Newswire:

The full Council accepted the recommendation of the Parks, Library and Recreation Committee and approved the second reading of the bill to lease the Class J3 “Dixie” engine to the Nashville Steam Preservation Society.

The measure now goes to the Convention, Tourism, and Public Entertainment Facilities Committee, according to society President Shane Meador, who attended Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

The panel will review the proposal the afternoon of Aug. 16, before the third and final reading of the bill that evening by the council, governing agency for the City of Nashville and Davidson County.

We look forward to seeing one and all on Tuesday, August 16!