CSX restores C30-7 for Kentucky Steam Heritage

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Written by

William C. Vantuono, editor

CSX’s Huntington, WV Locomotive Shop cosmetically restored the former Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) General Electric C30-7 No. 7067 for the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.

No. 7067, “a locomotive that ruled the rails of Appalachia more than four decades ago, was in danger of being scrapped just a year ago,” Kentucky Steam Heritage said. “But it rolled out of Huntington stores on April 25, looking very much like it did in 1980 when it was delivered to CSX’s predecessor, L&N. The transformation is due to an unlikely turn of events, underscoring continued collaboration between CSX Transportation and the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Irvine, Ky.

In May 2021, Kentucky Steam negotiated the donation of 7067 from the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, which was liquidating some of its assets. “The locomotive, located in an industrial area of ​​Huntington, was deemed surplus,” said Historical Society President Skip Reinhard. “Because it was too expensive for many rail preservation groups to move, we started soliciting offers for its divestiture. Not having the means to restore it and knowing that it was a rare locomotive, we looked for a group that would have the means to restore it to its original appearance. We didn’t want to scrap it, knowing its history. Kentucky Steam was the organization we found that had the facilities to restore the titmouse, and their leaders accepted our donation.

Kentucky Steam President Chris Campbell said the donation “proved to be exciting yet empowering for our fledgling organization, which is still in its sixth year of operation. The locomotive is exactly what has anchored the old CSX workshop we now own in Kentucky’s Appalachia. But being in the midst of several resource-intensive restoration projects, we considered 7067 an eyebrow. We wanted to save it, but weren’t sure when we would have ways to make it worthy of display on our growing railroad campus.

But in late summer 2021, 7067 was towed several miles from its showroom to Huntington stores, where it was stored until it could be ready to be shipped to Kentucky. During this time, a plan was put forward to cosmetically restore the unit to its as-built paint scheme, a livery that has not been seen for approximately 30 years.

“CSX worked 7067 into his busy paint shop schedule, and using diagrams provided by the L&N Historical Society, turned out to be a shining example of what ruled the rails about 40 years ago,” said noted Campbell. “CSX has been a great business partner over the years, and this is another example of how they have demonstrated their commitment to helping us tell the story of the railroad in Appalachia. We thank all the employees who contributed to this project. CSX has proven time and time again to be a top notch organization. »

Kentucky Steam said it “is no stranger to CSX’s generosity. In 2019, we received two significant donations from the railroad giant: a fully refurbished 1969 Chesapeake & Ohio Railway caboose, as well as a similar operating vintage L&N diesel locomotive, both of which are current standouts for KSHC’s seasonal operations at our 40-acre campus in Estill County, Ky. The cosmetic revival of 7067 is a significant achievement for both organizations , as it is one of the last of its kind in the United States.

7067 is one of several GE highway switches that operated on American rails in the 1980s and 1990s. The L&N ordered 44 C30-7s between 1979 and 1980, although most of the service life of these units was for CSX Transportation after the L&N was consolidated with many other railroads in the early 1980s.

After CSX retired the 7067 in 1999, it was painted in Marshall University colors by the CSX Huntington Locomotive Shop and was used for years in the area at college functions. CSX donated it to the CP Huntington Group in 2017. During this time, nearly all other C30-7 engines in the United States had been phased out.

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation was founded in 2015 with the intention of restoring and operating historic C&O steam locomotive 2716, which was leased on a long-term basis to the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Ky. In 2018, Kentucky Steam purchased a large portion of a former CSX rail yard in Ravenna, Kentucky, and established a railroad maintenance facility in the former auto shop complex. The complex itself once housed a locomotive maintenance station which housed 7067 and similar locomotives. Kentucky Steam plans to make the locomotive an interactive display on its developing railroad campus called “The Yard”.

“As we develop our attraction, we feel it’s important to pay homage to the different eras of the railroad that were significant to the Appalachian region,” Campbell said. “This locomotive will honor a relatively recent time, in which many of our members have actually participated.”

Kentucky Steam will take delivery of 7067 later this spring. The locomotive itself will find a prominent place on display at “The Yard” when the organization finalizes major renovations to its campus, thanks in part to an award from the federal EPA Brownfields program announced in 2021.

A dedication ceremony is planned for later this summer, and the locomotive will be prominently displayed during the group’s ‘Engineer U’ summer program, which offers visitors the opportunity to learn how to operate a locomotive. Kentucky Steam is also planning summer visitor hours that will allow the public to view the continued progress of the restoration of C&O 2716 and other projects. Engineer U tickets go on sale May 1. www.kentuckysteam.org.

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