Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 14

Nick Barrack, left,
and Floyd Jernigan
size up the huge
steam locomotive
on display in Rolla's
Shuman Park.

B ACK ON TRAC K
COVID-19 leads to restoration of Rolla's steam engine

by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

N

ick Barrack had a problem. The president of CSE
Construction and USA Tours thought he had
diversified his company enough to weather any
storm. With a commercial construction division
and a tour and charter bus company, the Rolla-based enterprise had prospered for 20 years.
Then came COVID-19.
"On the construction side, the one job we had didn't
want any strangers in the building," Nick says. "The tour
business just totally died. In one week we went from nine
buses running five to six days a week to zero. I've never
seen anything like that."
Worse, he was forced to refund more than $200,000
on deposit for bus charters. "Some of the deposits we had
were six months old," he laments. "So it was already in the
system and spent. Almost everyone wanted their money
refunded, which we were able to do."

14

RURAL MISSOURI | OCTOBER 2020

Still Nick was determined to keep his team of 26 employees working. He applied for a Payroll Protection Program loan and was relieved when it was approved. Now he
had a new dilemma. The loan would be forgiven provided
employees were kept on the payroll. But Nick had nothing
for them to do.
That's when he approached Rolla's Parks Director Floyd
Jernigan to see if he needed help. Nick suggested restoring the old steam engine and passenger car on display in
Rolla's Shuman Park, and Floyd agreed it was a worthy
project and a good match for the company's skills.
"Nick reached out to us back when the virus first hit,"
Floyd says. "First off, we talked about restoring the inside
of the passenger car. But there's nothing too large for Nick
and his folks. So, it became a complete redo of everything."
Engine No. 1501 was a workhorse for the Frisco Railroad from the time the railroad took delivery in 1923 until
its retirement in 1951. Built to haul freight and passengers
through the rugged Ozarks, the locomotive passed through



Rural Missouri - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 8
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Rural Missouri - October 2020 - 10
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Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2020 - Cover4
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