Thursday, June 6, 2019

Midway Heritage Day, July 27, will celebrate history and culture with visit of steam locomotive to be restored

Adapted from a press release

Midway will celebrate its railroad heritage July 27, centering a day-long festival around the arrival of a historic locomotive that hasn’t visited the region in more than 60 years.

The City of Midway, Midway Renaissance and the Midway Business Association will sponsor Midway Heritage Day in conjunction with the morning arrival of Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad steam locomotive No. 2716. The event will include live music, food vendors, historical displays and walking tours, including a look at the massive visiting locomotive.

The 400-ton engine is being moved from the Kentucky Railway Museum at New Haven to be restored at the new Kentucky Rail Heritage Center in Estill County, a project of the nonprofit Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. The locomotive’s move will be a mobile kick-off for the project. 

The unprecedented event will be held in collaboration with CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad bed, and R. J. Corman Railroad Group, which leases it. The move will include several stops and a public excursion on July 26, the proceeds from which will be shared by Kentucky Steam Heritage and the Railway Museum. The locomotive is scheduled to be on display in Midway from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The schedule is subject to change. 

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in the historic move that is part of a larger plan to use the railroads to revitalize parts of Eastern Kentucky,” said Corman President and Ed Quinn. “Working with Midway is always a pleasure, and their willingness to host this unique and fun event brings us even more excitement for the move.”

July 27 will also be one of Renaissance's "Midsummer Nights in Midway," with entertainment and vendors from 6 to 10 p.m. Renaissance President Christy Reaves said the news of the locomotive’s visit prompted the idea of “Heritage Day” to revolve around the history and culture of Midway. She said, “The citizens of Midway look forward to welcoming people into the community to celebrate the rich heritage of the railroad and the extraordinary sense of community that Midway enjoys. The festival will feature in-depth presentations, artifacts, discussions and tours regarding the history of Midway.”

Scale model of Midway in January, before restoration
The artifacts will include a 1950s scale model of Midway that Reaves and others have been restoring for several months. 

The main attraction, No. 2716, was built in 1943 and visited the Bluegrass Region frequently while in service until its retirement in 1956. It was one of the largest locomotives to ever run on the line between Louisville and Ashland. After being retired, it was donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum. Kentucky Steam Heritage leased it in 2016 with plans to run it on excursions and use its operation as an educational tool.

Both nonprofits will have booths at the event, promoting rail tourism on both sides of the state. The locomotive will make several other stops over the course of the weekend. For more details and updates, information on membership and donations, and to order tickets, visit www.kentuckysteam.org or the event website, www.heritagehighball.com. For more info about the Kentucky Railway Museum, visit www.kyrail.org. Further information on Midway Renaissance visit http://MidwayRenaissance.com.

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