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National Preservation Month

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May is National Preservation Month, and as part of the Kentucky Railway Museum’s (KRM) non-profit mission, preservation is paramount of what we do and have done since KRM was incorporated in 1954 but we need your help!

KRM has four pieces of railroad equipment on the National Register of Historic Places and Things including steam locomotive L&N 152 and it is also one of several restoration projects currently underway. This preservation project is partially funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program which encompasses a category of Historic Preservation of Railroad equipment.

Historic steam locomotive Louisville and Nashville, light pacific 4-6-2, engine number 152, was built in 1905 by the Rodgers locomotive works. This locomotive has achieved many unique successes such as being part of Al Capone’s prison train, pulling presidential trains for Roosevelt, Hoover and Truman and running operations in Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana regularly. The locomotive was donated to Kentucky Railway Museum and quickly gained notoriety as the show piece of the organization and has pulled coaches carrying passengers for the non-profit organization for decades; it is one of only three surviving L&N steam locomotives. During its 2011 operating season, the locomotive experienced a mechanical failure and after receiving its 1,472-day inspection, it was deemed that the firebox and boiler needed rebuilding; the operations of the locomotive came to an immediate halt.

The project to rehabilitate L&N 152 began in 2015 with its initial fundraising campaign to the members and Board of Directors of KRM. While nearly $200,000 in private donations have come in, it was still not enough to begin and complete the project with a total cost of $725,000.  However, in 2019 the museum was awarded an 80/20 match grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program for $435,000. This grant was set to get the ball rolling on this great preservation project and the project fundraising goal was within close sight! Nevertheless, 2020 and the pandemic were not kind to the world or our organization and it stalled the project and the release of the funding.

Fast forward to today and the pandemic restrictions become more manageable, another well-known issue across the country arose…costs skyrocketed. The change in costs now have changed a $725,000 project into an upwards of $1,000,000+ project which puts us back to fundraising and YOU become a vital part of this project today!

Preserving historic railroad equipment and artifacts for the present and future generations is critical as the railroads were crucial to the expansion and growth of the United States from the 1840’s to the present. At the turn of the century one job in every four jobs in America were either on or related to the railroads. Today it is important that the history of the railroads be preserved, and the heritage of railroads be displayed to the public but we can’t do it without your help.

We ask that if you are able, (trust us, we know it isn’t possible for everyone) please donate to L&N 152 and help to preserve this locomotive and enable each and every person the opportunity to see her not only operational in the future (with great hope that she will operate in 2024) but to also have the opportunity to ride behind this magnificent locomotive! Any amount gets us closer to the end result, and every donation is appreciated.

You can donate through our online store, our website, Facebook or by mailing a check to the address below. You can also follow us on Facebook, at Crew 152 and The Kentucky Railway Museum for great updates and to follow along with the project. We also encourage you to become a volunteer and be a physical part in this great preservation project; contact us today and we are happy to talk with you about our cherished L&N 152!

Happy National Historic Preservation Month!

Greg Mathews, Executive Director

Kentucky Railway Museum

PO Box 240, New Haven, KY 40051

(800) 272-0152           [email protected]

 

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