Steam engine scheduled for transfer to Kentucky next week

Published 5:41 pm Friday, January 8, 2016


The beloved locomotive at the Earle May Boat Basin will be sent away to Corbin, Kentucky, and placed in a museum next week.

Almost a year after the Bainbridge City Council voted to move L&N Locomotive 2132 from the Early May Boat Basin to a rail museum in Corbin, Kentucky, the steam engine is set to make its journey north next week.

Contractors hired by the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission will be in Bainbridge as early as Monday to begin loading the three pieces of Locomotive 2132 onto heavy haul trucks.

Locomotive 2132 is one of three former L&N steam locomotives still in existence. Of 400 steam locomotives built at South Louisville Shops between 1905 and 1923, it is the only one left. It was sold by the L&N to a Florida power plant at Sneeds in 1951. Over 30 years ago, the mayor of Bainbridge proposed the acquisition of movement of the engine some 25 miles north, for display in that community.

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“I understand why the good people in Corbin were so determined,” Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby said. “They spent money, time and effort tracking the train down. I understand why those good people feel like this train needs to come back. I know we would feel the same way about something that is a piece of our history.”

In February 2015, The Bainbridge City Council approved the steam engine’s transfer 5-1. Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer was the dissenting vote. The transfer agreement was $5,000 to Bainbridge, a sister-city relationship with Corbin and mention of Bainbridge’s role in preserving the train in all Corbin Rail Museum promotional material.

Maggie Kriebel, director of the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission, said Corbin was excited to have Locomotive 2132 returning home—so much, in fact, that they are making a documentary of the steam engine’s history.

“It’s regarding the homecoming of 2132,” Kriebel said. “It will be a documentary about the sister-city relationship, the history of the engine, how (Bainbridge) has protected the engine for the last 36 years and how they created a relationship to bring engine back to Kentucky.”

According to a press release from the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission, the return of Locomotive 2132 is uplifting for residents who are faced with a failing local coal business and recent closures of locomotive and car shops.

“It’s part of my children’s lives,” Hobby said. “They enjoyed the train. But I also know if someone were to find an old Callahan steamboat somewhere, we would really want it.”