NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The holiday season is almost upon us, and that means Gaylord Opryland’s “Country Christmas” will be getting underway soon.
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For over 20 years, one of the most popular displays is “ICE”. It’s the frozen work of master artisans from Harbin, China, who carve their creations out of two million pounds of ice to create the scenes you’ll enjoy when you walk through the exhibit. This year’s theme is the movie “The Polar Express.”
It just so happens that the locomotive in the movie is the same as the old Locomotive “576” which was on display in Centennial Park for over 65 years.
In 2019, it was towed to the TennesseeCentral Railroad Museum for restoration by the Nashville Steam Preservation Society to become a fully working and operational locomotive again.
Because of the tie-in, last week Gaylord Opryland employees joined volunteers to help paint parts of the steam engine that one day will be pulling excursions out of Nashville.
“When we found out about Locomotive 576, we were so excited to be a part of its restoration,” exclaimed Amanda Taylor, director of special events and entertainment for Gaylord Opryland. “We’re always looking for a good reason to give back to the community, and we thought ‘what a great connection and a natural tie,’ and just something really exciting to be a part of this season.”
Stephen Hook, volunteer coordinator for the Nashville Steam Preservation Society, explained how painting is an important part of the restoration.
“Man’s number one enemy when working on equipment is rust,” Hook explained. “So as we take everything apart, and we clean it, and then we coat it with paint or rust prevention coatings to basically increase the longevity of it, the goal is that once we have this locomotive back together, it is going to be in better than new specification, and we aren’t going to have to tear this apart and do it again for a very, very long time.”
If you would like to volunteer to help with the restoration of Locomotive 576, click here.
To learn more about ICE and to purchase tickets, click here.