Why Rebuild No. 576?
To benefit Nashville and its citizens by using the locomotive as an educational tool, tourism magnet, good will ambassador, and positive outreach platform. As the only remaining mainline steam locomotive from the NC&St.L, and the largest steam locomotive that calls Tennessee home, we feel that it is important to preserve the engine for future generations to experience and enjoy and is a much better alternative than a rusting, pigeon perch. We are doing this to preserve a unique historical artifact for you, your kids, and your grandkids.
The Metro Parks master plan for Centennial Park include plans for the locomotive to be relocated to another corner of the park as part of a future phase of the project. In 2016, NSPS submitted a proposal for an alternative plan for the locomotive to the Metro Parks Board and Metro Council. This plan called for the long term preservation and eventual operation of the locomotive, turning a static display into an active heritage tourist attraction. The plan was approved unanimously by both boards. In addition, we have available and interested persons with the requisite skills, experience and knowledge to ensure a successful restoration.
Is It Possible To Fix It?
Yes, it just takes time and money. We have the required technical and mechanical capabilities.
Approximately $2 million in addition to the $500k for the initial capital required to fulfill our lease agreement with the City of Nashville. The lease stipulates that we must have $500k before we can relocate the locomotive. A total $5 million Goal would include shop and site development.
Will No. 576 be a ‘Yellow Jacket’ or a ‘Stripe?’
We are often asked what will the locomotive look like when completed. No. 576 was one of the first ten J-3 Class steam locomotives and was delivered in the semi-streamlined “Yellow Jacket” styling, as named by the NC&StL railroad workers. Due to maintenance issues, the various streamlined components, such as the bullet nose and wider skirting, were removed over time giving it the simpler “Stripe” appearance. No. 576 remained a “Stripe” when it was placed in Centennial Park in 1953. As of now our focus is fundraising and completing the mechanical restoration in a timely and efficient manner. NSPS estimates that to return No. 576 to a “Yellow Jacket” would cost approximately $12,000 as the previously removed streamlined components will need to be completely re-fabricated. A final decision on the appearance of the locomotive will be made during the reconstruction phase of the restoration.
Will The Public Still Be Able To See And Visit The Locomotive?
Yes. During the restoration we will offer guided tours on specified dates that will safely provide viewing of the restoration project. Those plans are still being finalized and will be announced soon. The locomotive is located on private property. Do NOT attempt to view the locomotive during non-specified tour times, you will be considered trespassing.
This Looks and Sounds a Lot Like Similar Projects in Portland, Roanoke, and Fort Wayne?
Yes. Those cities have similar organizations and are benefiting from restored and operational steam locomotives that increase tourism and provide positive national attention.
Will The Locomotive Operate On CSX?
Currently there are no plans to operate the locomotive on CSX. However, if CSX wishes in the future to use Nashville’s engine, it will most definitely attract positive attention for the company and national recognition for the City of Nashville.
Will No. 576 operate on a class 1 railroad?
We will not be relying on a class 1 railroad to operate No. 576.
Other steam engines that rely on class 1 railroads to operate seem to be getting increasingly rare. Is this project being done because of that?
This project is not being done because of uncertainties with continued operations of other steam locomotives relying on class 1 railroads. We wish all of those groups in that situation the very best and encourage everyone to support them by buying a ticket, when they have the opportunity.
How will Amtrak’s recent policy change on special and charter trains affect No. 576?
While we are disappointed in Amtrak’s recent decision to end special and charter trains, this new policy will not affect our operations plan. Amtrak pulled out of Nashville in 1979 and we have an agreement in place with a local short line to serve as a host railroad.
How Much More Is Needed To Restore No. 576?
As of Summer 2022, Nashville Steam has raised more than $2,000,000 towards the restoration of No. 576. An additional $350,000 is needed to complete the restoration. The money will be raised over the next two to three years during the course of the mechanical work.
Where will No. 576 operate?
We have a commitment from the Nashville and Eastern Railroad to operate the locomotive on its railroad.
Is the Nashville and Eastern Railroad the same rail line that Nashville’s Music City Star commuter train runs over?
Yes, 32 miles of the Nashville and Eastern Railroad have been upgraded to commuter track standards from Nashville to Lebanon.
How long will the restoration take?
Assuming funding needs are met throughout the process with your much needed and appreciated donations, we expect 3 to 5 years once the locomotive is relocated to the restoration facility.
Do you have access to passenger cars to provide rides for the public?
Yes, we have a commitment from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum (TCRM) to use their 1950’s vintage, 14 car train set.
How long is the lease agreement for No. 576 from Metro Nashville?
Metro Nashville granted the Nashville Steam Preservation Society a 23-year lease on No. 576 in August 2016. Of the five previous restoration attempts, this is the only effort to receive unanimous support from both the Metro Parks Board and Metro Council.
What is the axle loading on No. 576 compared to the other locomotives used on the Nashville and Eastern?
Heaviest axle loading of No. 576 is 57,000lbs. Axle loading for N&E D-8 locomotives is 71,500lbs. No. 576 can negotiate a 19deg curve by design.
What experience does NSPS have regarding steam locomotive restoration and operation?
Our team has managed a number of steam locomotive restoration projects and has been involved with over 30 steam restoration projects around the country and abroad. We have the technical skill, tools, and resources.
Where will the restoration take place?
No. 576 is currently under restoration at the Tennessee Central Railroad Museum.
Have you considered building a shop and public visitor center?
Yes, we have several locations in mind to build a shop facility and visitor center in the future, as funding allows. Fundraising for that phase of the project will begin once the locomotive is operational.
Will you turn the locomotive at points east?
Technically, it is not required to turn the locomotive by having power on the other end, as in a push / pull operation. However, CSX recently donated an original 1940s era NC&StL turntable, formerly located in Atlanta, Georgia, to the City of Watertown, Tennessee. Plans are underway to repair and install the turntable in Watertown for use on future excursions.
What makes this project so unique?
This will be the most unique steam locomotive restoration in modern time because it will be the longest period of time that a steam locomotive has sat on display, since 1953, to be restored to operation. It is also the last remaining, standard gauge NC&StL steam locomotive in existence.
When was No. 576 built and what “bells and whistles” does it have?
No. 576 was built in 1942 by the American Locomotive Co. (ALCO) and was equipped with all modern technology of the time. Cast one piece frame, cylinders, and air reservoirs. All Timken roller bearings and lateral motion devices. Type E superheater with multiple valve front end throttle. Worthington SA feed water system and Standard BK stoker. Nicholson thermic syphons and Superior soot blowers.
How much of the locomotive is still there after so many years in the Park?
The locomotive is 95% intact, minus some jacketing on the first course belly and cylinders, and missing class lights. All of the jacket will be new and class lights are easy to find.
What is the general mechanical condition of No. 576?
The mechanical condition of the locomotive is in relatively good condition. Ultrasonic Thickness gauge checks in the firebox and boiler belly sections show minimal wastage, water space around the firebox looks very good, roller bearings still full of oil and no signs of water or rust. There will be some repair to the wrapper sheet and flexible staybolts and sleeves, especially the ones under the jacket. Everything will be inspected, rebuilt, or replaced as necessary. It is 100% repairable.
Will you offer volunteer opportunities?
Absolutely! Please click here: www.nashvillesteam.org/volunteer or click here to email us with your contact info and let us know that you are interested in volunteering.
What can I do?
We need YOUR help to grow support and get the word out. Be a supporter by your tax-deductible donation.