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Town acquires 104-year-old locomotive, plans to restore for tourist attraction

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The Frisco 1351 has been sitting on the railroad tracks in Collierville for 25 years, but it’s only been in the last month that the 104-year-old steam locomotive has taken official residency in the town.

The paperwork is still being processed, but Memphis has voted unanimously to transfer and convey ownership of the train to the town of Collierville.

Now, Collierville has big plans for restoring the locomotive to its original glory.

The first step is to look at bids for removing the old paint from the train. Once that is done, there are volunteers from groups such as Leadership Collierville, the Collierville Arts Council and others who have been waiting impatiently to get their hands on the project.

“We’ve had good volunteer response so far,” said Town Administrator James Lewellen. “There is a lot of interest and a lot of people want to get involved.”
Lewellen credits the town’s new Director of Tourism, Ashley Carver with taking the train restoration project to a new level.

“Ashley has led us down the path of turning this into a project about the history of trains in general, in addition to creating interest in this train,” said Lewellen.

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Carver researched the Frisco’s history and created a brochure about it that will be available at the Morton Museum’s third annual Train Day on Aug. 13. She will be giving tours of the Frisco during train day, and there will be multiple train-related exhibits and displays at the Museum.

Lewellen said he is excited about the train restoration and about its potential as a tourist draw for Collierville.

“If volunteer enthusiasm for a project is any indicator of its potential for success,” he said, “then the Frisco 1351 should be in Collierville for many years to come.”

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