A long-dormant CSX car shop and adjacent property at Ravenna, Ky., will soon find new life as a non-profit facility focused on technical skills training, education, preservation and rail-related attractions.
The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. (KSHC) announced at a press conference Saturday, May 19, that it has agreed to purchase the decommissioned shop and 50 acres of property to implement its vision for an education and rail heritage center that benefits the community and attracts visitors to the region.
“By combining the region’s rich rail history with today’s community needs, this project will support education, economic development and tourism in Ravenna and the Eastern Kentucky region for many years to come,” said Shantel Davis, CSX vice president of real estate and facilities management.
The Ravenna Car Shop has been idle since 1991, and the rail line and yard that once served local coal mines has not carried traffic since the mines closed. “As CSX adapts to the shifting energy market and focuses on core markets, this project is providing us with an opportunity to find a new and productive use for the Ravenna property,” Shantel said. “We could not be more pleased to continue to be part of this region’s future through his important initiative.”
In addition to remarks from Shantel and KSHC President Chris Campbell, the news conference featured U.S. Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District and representatives from Estill County Schools and the Estill Development Alliance.
One of KSHC’s visions for the property is to keep alive steam locomotive maintenance and repair skills by providing training to people interested in working on historic equipment. The group is currently working on the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Steam Locomotive 2716.
KSHC also plans to offer space at the Ravenna facility for Estill County School vocational classes and to create a variety of rail-related exhibits that will be open to the public.