Chesapeake and Ohio 2716

The Chesapeake & Ohio 2716 is a 2-8-4 "Kanawha" (Berkshire) type steam locomotive built in 1943 by the American Locomotive Company for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. While most railroads referred to these 2-8-4 locomotives as Berkshires, the C&O referred to them as Kanawhas after the Kanawha River which flows through West Virginia. Used as dual service engines, the 2716 and its classmates served the C&O in a variety of duties until being retired in 1957.

Chesapeake & Ohio 2716
KY Railway Museum C&O engine.JPG
No. 2716 on display at the Kentucky Railway Museum in 2009
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderAmerican Locomotive Company (ALCO)
Serial number70865
Build dateDecember 1943
 • Whyte2-8-4
 • UIC1′D2′ h2
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia.69 in (1.753 m)
Loco weight460,000 lb (210 t; 210 long tons)
Tender weight388,000 lb (176 t; 173 long tons)
Total weight848,000 lb (385 t; 379 long tons)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity66,000 lb (30 t; 29 long tons)
Water cap21,000 US gallons (79,000 l; 17,000 imp gal)
 • Firegrate area
90.30 sq ft (8.389 m2)
CylindersTwo, outside
Valve gearBaker
Performance figures
Maximum speed70 mph (112.65 km/h)
Tractive effort69,368 lbf (308.56 kN)
Factor of adh.4.23
OperatorsChesapeake and Ohio Railway
Number in class17 of 90
  • C&O 2716
  • SOU 2716
  • L&N 1992
Retired1957 (revenue)
1996 (excursion)
Restored1980–1981 (1st restoration)
1995–1996 (2nd restoration)
2016–2020 (3rd restoration)
Current ownerKentucky Railway Museum
Southern Railway (1980–1982)
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (1995–1996)
Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (Leased operator)
DispositionUndergoing restoration to operating condition, based in Ravenna, Kentucky

Donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum of New Haven, Kentucky in 1959, No. 2716 has been restored to operation in excursion service twice since its retirement from the C&O. First in 1981 for the Southern Railway's steam program until 1982, and again in 1996 for a few brief excursions in Indiana. Today, the locomotive is undergoing restoration to for a third excursion career, under lease by the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation.


Revenue service and retirementEdit

No. 2716 was the seventeenth member of ninety Kanawhas built for the C&O by ALCO and the Lima Locomotive Works between 1943 and 1947.[1][2] These locomotives were used for heavy freight trains, as well as fast passenger trains.[2] After only thirteen years of service, the C&O retired No. 2716 in 1957 in light of dieselization.[2][3] With the exception of thirteen, including No. 2716, the C&O scrapped their Kanawhas in 1961.[2]

In May 1959, the locomotive was donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky, where it sat on display.[4] Twenty years later, in Spring 1979, the Clinchfield Railroad leased No. 2716 for their steam program.[4] However, as the locomotive was taken apart for restoration, the Clinchfield steam program was cancelled due to its parent company, the Seaboard Coast Line Industries oust the Clinchfield Railroad General Manager Thomas D. Moore Jr.[4] Moore was fired for participating in a scandal of misappropriated money,[5] the result of returning the disassembled 2716 to the Kentucky Railway Museum with an uncertain future.[4]

1981–1982 Southern excursion serviceEdit

Luckily in 1980, No. 2716 was leased by the Southern Railway to pull the longer and heavier passenger trains for their popular steam excursion program.[2][6] Southern brought the locomotive to their Irondale, Alabama steam shops, where some modifications were made to No. 2716 by Master Mechanic Bill Purdie.[2][7][8]

Purdie's general idea was to make the locomotive appear if the Southern would have purchased a 2-8-4 type from new; No. 2716 was painted black with gold pinstriping as well as its headlight moved from its pilot to the center of its smokebox door, decorated with brass flag holders, and General Counsel Jim Bistline's brass eagle.[8][9] In addition, No. 2716 had its bell swinging from the top of its smokebox, and carried the round "SR" emblems on its air pump shields.[8]

After operating on a test run on October 10 and 11, 1981,[8] No. 2716 pulled its first Southern Railway excursions on October 17 and 18, running a round-trip from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Rockwood, Tennessee.[10] In November, No. 2716 pulled excursion trains in Alabama and Georgia.[8][10] In April 1982, the locomotive resumed its excursion duties, pulling trains through North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. [10] But three months later, a very inexperienced fireman cracked the locomotive's firebox.[11][12] This resulted in No. 2716 to be taken out of excursion service for repairs and Nickel Plate Road No. 765, another 2-8-4, based in Indiana, was called into service as a replacement.[11]

Following the merger between the Southern Railway and the Norfolk and Western to form the new Norfolk Southern Railway,[13] No. 2716 was retired in favor of Norfolk and Western No. 611 serving as the main motive power for the steam program.[11] The former was placed in storage at the Irondale Steam Shop in 1985,[14] after attempts to weld cracks in the firebox failed.[12]

1995-1996 excursion serviceEdit

After Norfolk Southern ended their steam program in late 1994, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS), same owner as No. 765, moved No. 2716 to their facilities a year later.[2][15] In July 1996, the FWRHS restored it to its original C&O appearance, repaired its firebox, and operated it on brief push-pull excursions through Logansport, Indiana before the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspectors ordered to give either No. 2716 new flues, or No. 765 a complete overhaul; the latter was the end result.[2][15] The FWRHS decided to return No. 2716 back to the Kentucky Railway Museum in 2001.[15][16]

2016–2020 restorationEdit

On February 7, 2016, the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation (KSHC) was formed and announced that it had signed a long-term lease with the Kentucky Railway Museum to restore and operate No. 2716.[17]

By May 2018, the KSHC partnered with the CSX Transportation to move the locomotive to a former Louisville and Nashville rail yard in Ravenna, Kentucky to build a new rail-based tourist and community development center.[18]

In November 2018, the KSHC acquired three items of rolling stock from the Indiana Transportation Museum (ITM) such as an auxiliary tender No. 251958, which was originally used behind Norfolk & Western No. 611 in the 1980s, and went to ITM in 1988.[19] In addition, the KSHC purchased a railway post office car No. 6565 and baggage car No. 9036, which were both originally owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.[19]

In early 2019, the Big Rivers Electric Corporation in Henderson, Kentucky salvaged a pair of Buckeye three-axle, roller bearing trucks from a flatcar, which was abandoned at their facility property in Hawesville, Kentucky; and donated them to the KSHC to replace the old friction bearing trucks underneath No. 2716's tender.[20][21]

From July 26th to 28th, 2019, No. 2716 was moved out of the Kentucky Railway Museum to Ravenna for restoration along with the help of CSX Transportation and R.J. Corman Railroad Group.[22][a] The locomotive was officially moved into the Ravenna workshop on July 31 and the restoration work on No. 2716 started shortly after.[3]


  1. ^ It was moved for the second time by the Clinchfield EMD F7 diesel locomotive No. 800, who previously moved No. 2716 to Marion, North Carolina for restoration in 1979.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ a b Drury (2015), p. 109.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "C&O 2716". Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Gibson, Becca (July 26, 2019). "Historic 450-ton locomotive heading to new home in Eastern Kentucky". WAVE. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Wrinn (2000), p. 54.
  5. ^ "Britton v. United States". November 16, 1981. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Wrinn (2000), p. 55.
  7. ^ Wrinn (2000), p. 10.
  8. ^ a b c d e Wrinn (2000), p. 58.
  9. ^ Wrinn (2000), p. 23.
  10. ^ a b c Wrinn (2000), p. 115.
  11. ^ a b c Wrinn (2000), pp. 65-67.
  12. ^ a b Boyd (2014), p. 137.
  13. ^ Wrinn (2000), p. 61.
  14. ^ Wrinn (2000), p. 74.
  15. ^ a b c Wrinn (2000), p. 109.
  16. ^ Rohdenburg, David T. (December 10, 2018). "Steam group to celebrate 75th birthday for Chesapeake & Ohio locomotive". Trains. Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  17. ^ Franz, Justin (February 7, 2016). "Kentucky group to restore C&O 2-8-4 No. 2716". Trains. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  18. ^ Gunnoe, Chase (May 19, 2018). "C&O 2716 group partners with CSX on Kentucky rail heritage site". Trains. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Kentucky Steam support cars arrive in Ravenna". Trains. November 16, 2018. Archived from the original on February 26, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Big Rivers Electric Corporation - official website". Big Rivers Electric Corporation. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  21. ^ Anderson, Chris (January 22, 2019). "Roller-bearing truck donation could save Kentucky steam group $100K". Trains. Archived from the original on January 26, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  22. ^ Laytham, Emily (July 26, 2019). "After 60 years, a piece of locomotive history is returning to Lexington". Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "Clinchfield #800". CSX Corporation. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  24. ^ Anderson, Chris (April 17, 2019). "Clinchfield 800 will move C&O 2716 to restoration". Trains. Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "Clinchfield 800 to lead C&O 2716 Move in July". Railfan & Railroad. April 17, 2019. Archived from the original on May 16, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.


Further readingEdit

  • Dixon Jr., Thomas W. (2013). Chesapeake & Ohio K-4 Class 2-8-4 Steam Locomotives. Chesapeake & Ohio History Series (1st ed.). The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society. ISBN 978-0939487592.

External linksEdit