NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Four years is how long Stephen Hook has been working on Steam Locomotive No. 576.

“There’s not a square inch on this locomotive that doesn’t take five or 10 hours of work,” he said.

But before Hook was working on this massive train, he was admiring it.

“My first moment with it was when we found a way to get into the cab while it was in the park,” he said. “[I] pulled the plexiglass out of the window, sat down in the engineer’s seat, and said you know I think I’d like to do this.”

For decades, this train sat at Centennial Park until 2019.

The Nashville Steam Preservation Society raised money to move the train with plans to restore it and get it back running again.

“[I] started ground up,” said Hook. “Here’s a wrench, here’s a screwdriver, here’s all this stuff and then gradually we started climbing to alright here’s a torch, here’s a welding rod, here’s a everything.”

After years of work, this train is entering its last mile.

“It’s that last $350,000 we’re hoping to raise to finish off the restoration,” said Joey Bryan.

Bryan is the society’s communications manager and historian and says that the last bit of money will finally get things rolling.

“We do have $175,000 in matching grants so every donation of $576 or more will be doubled.”

More than $2 million has been raised since this project began, but Bryan knows finishing this is something needed for Nashville.

“There’s a whole group of people that actually seek out these older steam engines as a chance to ride behind them,” he said. “So, it will certainly be an economic boom for both Nashville and the surrounding areas.”

Hook has always had a passion for trains, and he hopes when all of this is finished, that passion will be gifted to others who hop aboard this piece of history.

“I think it’s incredibly important, especially with how it ties into Music City,” he said. “I’m doing it because I would like to give that feeling to other people.”

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The society has named its last fundraising efforts “The Last Mile Campaign.”

The campaign is made possible by $100,000 in matching funds from the Walter Ferguson Charitable Trust and $75,000 from the Right Track Foundation.

All donations of $576 or more will be matched dollar for dollar.

Bryan says once they raise this money they hope to reinstall the wheels of the locomotive in the spring.

They also hope to begin reassembling the train by later in the year and steam testing by 2024.

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Bryan says they anticipate having the train up and ready to go for passengers in the next two and a half years.

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