On Thursday May 23rd The Lee County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner was held at Youth Haven Bible Camp. In attendance at this dinner as a special guest was Chris Campbell; President of the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation. Chris told attendants of how Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. purchased forty seven acres of property from CSX in the L&N built town of Ravenna approximately one year ago. The goal with this property is soon to become the home of the Chesapeake & Ohio 2716, which is a vintage ALCO 2-8-4 steam locomotive. They are restoring the seventy five year old engine for tourism operations. The site they purchased also includes two buildings and a railroad wye for turning locomotives.The buildings consist of a former CSX three-track car repair shop and the former CSX yard office (which will eventually become part of the KSHC exhibit spaces and offices). The grand vision for this property is known as the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center which will be a multi-use facility for rail preservation activity, technical skills training for university and high school students, area recreation (like camping and music venues), and train rides. As an economic development project, the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center aims to bring tourism to Estill County, Kentucky. CSX graciously sent the locomotive to Ravenna for the sole purpose of being the backdrop. Thanks to collaborative efforts from our corporate sponsors, KSHC has already made great progress on both the restoration of C&O 2716 and the rehabilitation of the Kentucky Rail Heritage Center property.
(Info via KY Steam Heritage Corp.)
This coming July 26th from 10am-1pm at the Kentucky Railway Museum will be the “Heritage Highball” hosed by the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp, The Kentucky Railway Museum, Southern Appalachia Railway Museum and Crew 152. The C&O 2716 as mentioned above will be escorted from the KY Railway Museum in New Haven Kentucky to CSX Transportation’s interchange point at Lebanon Junction with an excursion train in tow. This will be a 2.5 hour and 24 mile round trip public excursion. A Clinchfield 800 vintage diesel locomotive will also lead the trip and a recently restored C&O caboose. Tickets are available at heritagehighball.com. Proceeds from tickets will be going directly to the Corp’s restoration of c&O 2716 and the Railway Museum’s rebuild of L&N 152 . Attendants can buy tickets to either ride the train, caboose or vintage coaches. Only four exclusive tickets are being offered to ride in the cab of 2716.
Chris mentioned that most people will agree trains are interesting in general however people will only get a real interest once they can have a hands on experience where they can ride, feel and see the train in person. He stated that he is greatly looking forward to July when he can give his wife the experience of riding the train that he has devoted so much time and heart into for the past year and more.
The reason why this pertained to Lee County is because there is great possibility that this passenger train could make a stop in Beattyville in the future. Lee County has plenty unused railroads owned by CSX. The only thing that stands in the way is the purchasing of the property of where the tracks lay. Chris explained that if this was to happen, the train from Ravenna with passengers could drop off up to 400 people in Beattyville for a few hours then the train would pick them back up. This would allow tourists and visitors to spend their money at local businesses and restaurants. Upon closing Chris was presented with a Lee County afghan by Don Begley.
On the subject of tourism, plaques were presented by Carol Kincaid to Teresa Mays and Dedra Brandenburg for being the Chamber of Commerce Impact winners. A list of Dedra and Teresa’s accomplishments and achievements for Beattyville was read to the crowd.
Attendees of the dinner included members of the chamber of commerce, Judge Executive Chuck Caudill, Mayor Scott Jackson, members of Farmer’s State Banks, Jackson Energy, Citizen’s Bank, and many more. Door prizes were drawn for during the evening by Don Begley.