No. 576 and the Shawshank Redemption

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Friday, January 11, 2019

NASHVILLE – There is a scene in my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption, in which escaped prisoner Andy DuFresne (actor Tim Robbins) is smiling broadly as he drives a convertible along gorgeous cliffs overlooking a spectacular seashore. Narrator Morgan Freeman describes the moment like this: “Andy Dufresne, headed for the Pacific.” If you’ve seen the movie, you know what sort of hell DuFresne has endured as a wrongly imprisoned man, and how he outwitted his captors and how sweet his triumph over them is.

I thought about that scene early Saturday morning while letting my eyes wander across Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 No. 576. The locomotive has been in Nashville’s Centennial Park since 1953, and the Nashville Steam Preservation Society is removing the engine Sunday to begin a multi-year restoration that will lead to it pulling excursions between Nashville and Watertown, Tenn. The locomotive was loaded on a multi-axle lowboy trailer earlier this week, and the tender will be loaded Saturday afternoon. It is a sight that many never thought would happen: Over the years, there have been multiple attempts to remove the Stripe and restore it. Only now is it happening.

I don't think of No. 576's time in the park as being harsh -- the Metro Parks folks were thoughtful enough to put a shed over her years ago. But certainly a living, breathing steam machine is much better than a cold dead one stuffed and mounted. The thought of another legendary 4-8-4 in steam on the rails of the Nashville & Eastern short line thrills me. I hope it excites you, too. Join us Sunday morning about 9 a.m. central time to see this once-in-a-lifetime sight. We’ll be live streaming the move live on Trains’ Facebook page. I hope you’ll share this experience with me. I fully expect to hear Morgan Freeman's voice Sunday morning, saying, "No. 576, heading for a new life, back in steam." 





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