By Megan Moriarty, firstname.lastname@example.org
As published in the Nashville City Paper
January 30, 2004
Construction on a train shed to protect the one-of-a-kind steam locomotive
in Centennial Park will begin within the next few weeks.
Metro Parks Public Information Officer Jackie Jones said the department
appropriated $75,000 towards construction of the metal “depot-style” shed,
as well as additional work, such as installing new sidewalks around
Jones said with the improvements, which are part of the Centennial
Park Master Plan, the department is hoping to improve the look
and feel of the train itself.
“The upgrades will provide a more aesthetically pleasing
venue for people to view the train,” Jones said.
R.G. Anderson has been contracted by the Parks Department to do
the work, which has already included removing a fence and ramp
near the train.
Engine No. 576, the only surviving example of a mainline steam,
J3-57 class locomotive, was given as a gift to the citizens of
Nashville from the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad
Company following the 1952 retirement of all its steam engines.
The American Locomotive Company built engine No. 576. Following
a decline in train traffic after World War II, J3's were bumped
from prime service spots to lesser passenger and freight trains.
With the exception of the locomotive in Centennial Park, all of
the J3's were scrapped after being withdrawn from service.
Native Nashvillian and train enthusiast Tom Knowles as well as
several others have lobbied for such a shed while expressing concern
over the state of the steam engine, which has been exposed to the
elements for more than 50 years.
“A shed over the engine almost guarantees that the engine
will still be restorable by someone in the future when the economic,
legal and political climates are more favorable to such a thing,” Knowles
said. “The current decision makers in Nashville are to be
thanked for their pro-active approach to something that none of
their predecessors saw as important.”