The Commonwealth of Kentucky has been served by railroads for well over a century and a half, and for most of that time, railroads, with their primary and secondary routes, helped form the backbone of the state's transportation network.
The Lexington and Ohio, Kentucky's first railroad, was built between Lexington and Frankfort in the early 1830s and began operating in 1834 using horse-pulled cars. Wood-burning locomotives later replaced the horses. The line intended to create west to Louisville, but that Trackage was finished in 1851 by Louisville and Frankfort, a separate company.
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, chartered in 1850, was Kentucky's first interstate standard carrier railroad and completed its mainline to Nashville in 1859. Its construction marked the largest internal improvement project in the state. Louisville provides much of the needed funding. Also, during the same decade, Covington, Paris, and Lexington were joined by rail by the Kentucky Central, and the Mobile and Ohio coming north from the gulf bisected the Purchase area of Western Kentucky to reach Columbus, Ky in 1861.
During the three and a half decades following the Civil war, much of Kentucky's primary rail network was formed. Principal routes included Louisville to Cincinnati, Elizabethtown to Paducah, Lebanon, Corbin to Middlesboro, Henderson to Hopkinsville, Covington to Somerset to Chattanooga, Ashland to Covington and Lexington, Winchester to Jackson, Henderson to Louisville, and Danville to Louisville. By 1900 Kentucky Rail Mileage totaled 3000 miles.
Following the Civil war, bridges were constructed across the Ohio River at Louisville, the first by the L&N and Indianapolis and Louisville at Jeffersonville, Indiana. The second was the Kentucky and Indiana at New Albany, providing the first bridge for horse and wagon traffic. And the third is the Big four Bridge. And Trackage was changed from Southern Gauge to Standard gauge during this time, allowing for through shipments from North to South.
Between 1900 - 1920, essential feeder routes were pushed into the coalfields of Eastern and Western Kentucky by the Chesapeake and Ohio, Illinois Central, Louisville and Nashville, Clinchfield, Southern and Norfolk, and Western.
And during this time, some 250 miles of Electric Interurban Railroads were built as commuter carriers to serve metro areas at Covington, Henderson, Lexington, and Louisville. Peak rail mileage was reached in 1930; steam and electric lines tapped over half the states counties.
While no through routes were constructed after 1930, railroads continued to add more feeder lines to the mining districts in Eastern and Western Kentucky, and countless short lines appeared. Coal long ranked as the principal freight comedy hauled by the state's railroads, although agricultural and manufactured products also contributed to the total traffic.
The largest of these pioneer railroads in Kentucky was the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 's headquarters were in Louisville. Until its acquisition by the Seaboard System Railroad in the 1980 s
Kentucky's railroads provided excellent passenger service and provided an extensive network of mail and express services. The Chesapeake and Ohio operated its George Washington, Sportsman, and F.F.V. The Illinois Central s Panama Limited, and Irvine S Cobb. The Southern railways Royal Palm and Carolina Special, Louisville and Nashville's all Pullman Pan American, Flamingo, Southland, Dixieland, New Orleans Limited. And many other locals playing the main lines and branches throughout the state. The Baltimore and Ohio, New York Central, Monon, and Pennsylvania all served Louisville. with passenger service. Louisville had two main railway terminals, Central at 7th and River and Union at 10th and Broadway.
The 1930s saw the beginning of the federal highway system, and the thirties saw the end of many rail services. The electric interurban came first, and then the traffic on the rural branches of the steam railroads. During World War II, the passenger business swelled to record numbers, and engines and coaches set idle during the depression were pressed into service. But following the end of the war and its traffic, the railroads were back to square one in the passenger business.
In an attempt to draw passengers, the first streamlined trains appeared. The South Wind, Dixie Flagler, and the City of Miami were the first, followed by the New Royal Palm, Hummingbird, and Georgian, but passengers were getting other means of getting places despite their luster. The development of the Interstate highway system and the airline industry slowly killed the passenger business. The local and branch line trains went first. And by the 1950s, local trains disappeared to places like Hazzard, Paducah, Pikeville. The final blow came in the 1960 s when the government eliminated the Railway Post Offices and began the service we know today.
The 1960s saw passenger service on the Southern Railway, Baltimore and Ohio, Monon in Kentucky, and severe cutbacks on the Chesapeake and Ohio, Louisville and Nashville, and Illinois Central. Communities like Corbin Richmond, Somerset, Danville, and Paris were left without service by 1968.
By the end of the 1960 s, only Seven State Routes Survived a Chicago to Washington line operating from Covington Maysville and Ashland and a Louisville Frankfort Lexington route to Ashland used by the Chesapeake and Ohio. A Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville to Gulf Coast Route. A Louisville to Florida Route. A St Louis, Evansville, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Nashville Route operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, A Chicago to Florida route and a Chicago to New Orleans Route at Fulton used by the Illinois Central and a Chicago to Louisville route by Penn Central.
In 1970 Congress created RailPax to bail out the private railroads' passenger operations. This later became known as Amtrak. The slow process of selecting the routes included in the Amtrak system begins. On April 30, 1971, the last trains were operated by the private railroads The Cincinnati to New Orleans Pan American, St Louisville, Evansville, Nashville Atlanta Georgian both operated by Louisville and Nashville, The Louisville to Ashland Section of the George Washington operated by Chesapeake and Ohio, and the City of Miami operated by the Illinois Central were discontinued. Leaving only three rail routes in Kentucky. The City of New Orleans in western Kentucky, The South Wind between Louisville and Nashville, and the George Washington between Cincinnati and Ashland.
The early seventies saw two new rail routes to Kentucky: the Cincinnati to Norfolk Mountaineer, later renamed the Hilltopper, and the Louisville to Sanford Fla Auto Train. These services were both short-lived. Auto train in 1977 and The Hilltopper in 1979.
The Chicago to Florida South Wind was renamed the Floridian. Still, soon, this train became a victim of Penn Central's wrong track in Indiana and was temporally re-routed through Evansville and finally back to Louisville on the Monon. Bad Track and Bad Management By Amtrak caused this train to be put up for discontinuance in 1979 ( see History Of the Floridian Report). In October 1979, rail service ended to Louisville, and Bowling Green a service began in 1859 the Louisville and Nashville.
For a brief period in 1982, the Chicago to Washington Cardinal ( X George Washington) was discontinued but was resurrected by efforts of the City of Cincinnati and Senator Byrdd of West Virginia as a tri-weekly train. In 1996, a cooperative effort between Amtrak and Greyhound connecting bus service to Indianapolis and Chicago to Louisville was restored. And rail advocates in Kentucky and Tennessee are continually working on getting service repaired between Chicago and Florida on the South Wind Route.
There are currently six Major rail operators of freight service in Kentucky and seven regional carriers operating some 2,400 miles of track in the state. These Carriers employ about 4,800 men and women.
Researched and written by Charles B Castner, member of the steering committee Kentuckiana rail Advocates August 1998. FROM TRAIWEW.US. ALTERED ONLY FOR PUNCTUATION, SPELLING/TYPO'S & GRAMMAR. NO CONTENT WAS CHANGED.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (reporting marks B&O, BO) was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. Merchants from Baltimore, which had benefited to some extent from the construction of the National Road early in the century, wanted to do business with settlers crossing the Appalachian Mountains. The railroad faced competition from several existing and proposed enterprises, including the Albany-Schenectady Turnpike, built in 1797, the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. At first, the B&O was located entirely in the state of Maryland; its original line extending from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook, Maryland, opened in 1834. There it connected with Harper's Ferry, first by boat, then by the Wager Bridge, across the Potomac River into Virginia, and also with the navigable Shenandoah River.
The Charleston, Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad, informally known as the Triple C, was a Southeastern railroad that operated in the late 19th century.
The company was formed in 1886 with the idea of extending a rail line from Charleston, South Carolina, to Ashland, Kentucky, in an effort to mine coal and iron ore found in the Appalachians. Construction began at Rutherfordton, North Carolina, with rails being laid both north and south.
In 1890, major investor Baker Brothers & Co. failed and a court-appointed receiver was ordered for the Charleston, Cincinnati and Chicago. Three years later, the line was sold to its bondholders and a new corporation was established: The Ohio River and Charleston Railway.
· The Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway (abbreviated: CNO&TP; (reporting mark CNTP)) is a railroad that runs from Cincinnati, Ohio, south to Chattanooga, Tennessee, forming part of the Norfolk Southern Railway system.
· The physical assets of the road were initially financed by the city of Cincinnati in the 1870s, and are still owned by the city. It is the only such long-distance railway owned by a municipality in the United States. The CNO&TP continues to lease that property and operates one rail line, the Cincinnati Southern Railway, between Cincinnati and Chattanooga.
The Clinchfield Railroad (reporting mark CRR) was an operating and holding company for the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway (reporting mark CCO). The line ran from the coalfields of Virginia and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, to the textile mills of South Carolina. The 35-mile segment from Dante, Virginia, to Elkhorn City, opening up the coal lands north of Sandy Ridge Mountains and forming a connection with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at Elkhorn City, was completed in 1915.
· The Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad ran between Frankfort, Kentucky, and Paris, Kentucky, with a major stop in Georgetown, Kentucky; a distance of 40 miles (64 km). It was at Georgetown that it crossed the Southern Railway.
The Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad is a defunct shortline railroad based in Kentucky. Despite its name, it had no connections with Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad ran between Frankfort, Kentucky, and Paris, Kentucky, with a major stop in Georgetown, Kentucky; a distance of 40 miles (64 km). It was at Georgetown that it crossed the Southern Railway. Early days The Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad was originally known as the Kentucky Midland Railway. Construction of the route began at Frankfort in the early months of 1888, and reached Georgetown in June 1889, and Paris in January 1890. Some of the route laid upon the Buffalo Trace. The total cost of the construction was over $500,000. Its name changed to the Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad in 1899. There were efforts to extend the route to Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and Alton, Kentucky, but it never happened. The total length of the railroad was 40.8 miles (65.7 km). When it started, the Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad had "serious financial reverses" before it even laid its first piece of rail. It even went into receivership in 1894. But by 1899 it was touted as a major factor in the stimulation of Frankfort's 1890s growth. The route between Georgetown and Paris helped distribute the local fine Bourbon whiskey to markets. On October 28, 1909, the F&C was almost purchased by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N), but the Kentucky Railroad Commission objected and the sale was annulled on April 22, 1912. In January 1927 the railroad was sold in public auction, with its owners a collection of citizens of Frankfort and Lexington, Kentucky. End of the railroad On December 31, 1952, the Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad abandoned passenger service, as the advent of wide-scale automobile usage made passenger trains unprofitable. The Cardinal broke an axle on Christmas Eve, and for the last week of passenger service the F&C Superintendent A.E. Parker used his own sedan to transport what few passengers the F&C still had from Frankfort to Paris. In 1961 the company was purchased by Pinsly Railroad Company group of shortlines. The line between Georgetown and Paris was abandoned by the F&C in 1967; pressure by bourbon manufacturers kept the rest of the line active. The Interstate Commerce Commission allowed the F&C to abandon more of the line, reducing the line to Frankfort to Elsinore, Kentucky.
The railroad had shrunk so much that by 1984, it did not own any freight cars, and maintained only one interchange at Frankfort with the L&N. A trestle bridge was damaged by a derailment in 1985, and the F&C could not afford to fix the bridge, leaving the F&C to close. By 1987 all the rails of the F&C were removed. The Cardinal was eventually placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is currently at the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky.
The Lexington and Ohio Railroad was the first railroad in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Its charter proposed the establishment of a link between Lexington in the center of the Bluegrass Region to the river port of Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio by way of Frankfort, the state capital. The line was never completed and the Panic of 1837 led to its complete collapse. The Commonwealth seized the railroad in payment of its debts in 1840.
The rights-of-way of the former L&O were later purchased and utilized by the Louisville & Frankfort and Lexington & Frankfort railroads, which subsequently merged into the Louisville, Cincinnati and Lexington Railroad.
The Louisville and Frankfort Railroad (L&F) was a 19th-century railroad in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Following the 1840 failure of the Lexington and Ohio Railroad, which had only ever managed to connect Louisville with nearby Portland, area businessmen met for years before organizing a new railroad in March 1847. The Louisville and Frankfort was chartered to connect the Ohio port to the state capital, as well as Lexington with any points east. The stretch between the capital and Lexington itself was left for the Lexington and Frankfort, chartered the next year. After purchasing the L&O's rights-of-way west from Frankfort from the Commonwealth, the Louisville and Frankfort issued stock and raised $800,000 from the City of Louisville. Surveys directed by Col. Stephen H. Long of the U.S. Topographical Engineers selected a new route, employing some but not all of the stretches previously graded by the Lexington and Ohio. The rails for the road were purchased in London, England, and shipped upriver from New Orleans. Construction began in March 1849, heading east from Louisville. The one-story brick passenger station, train shed, freight shed, and roundhouse were all located at Brook and Jefferson Streets. Near Cherokee Gardens in Louisville, the line ran adjacent to present-day Frankfort Avenue.
On February 6, 1850, the company held a special round trip to LaGrange for the board of directors and their guests. All the initial track was laid by the spring of 1851 and the completion of a bridge over the Kentucky River near Frankfort permitted the first service along the entire mainline in August. In 1852, the L&F was connected to the completed Lexington and Frankfort mainline and initiated twice-daily service to Lexington. Connection there to the Covington and Lexington Railroad then permitted travel to Cincinnati's Kentucky suburbs.
The L&F and Lexington and Frankfort merged their management and operations on January 1, 1857, and then fully merged as the Louisville, Cincinnati and Lexington Railroad in 1867. The LC&L later made up part of the L&N. Its rights of way now make up part of the CSX Transportation network.
· The Big Four Bridge is a six-span former railroad truss bridge that crosses the Ohio River, connecting Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana. It was completed in 1895, and updated in 1929. The largest single span is 547 feet (167 m), with the entire bridge spanning 2,525 feet (770 m). It took its name from the defunct Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, which was nicknamed the "Big Four Railroad". It is now a converted pedestrian and bicycle bridge from Louisville into Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Mammoth Cave Railroad ("Dinkey Train") was a short rail line with a small train off the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) that went to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. The tiny 9-mile (14 km) railroad from Glasgow Junction (Park City) to Mammoth Caves was started in 1886 and operated for 45 years. The complete Dinkey Train consisted only of a "dummy" 0-4-2T type steam locomotive and a wooden coach to carry passengers and their luggage. Among the many stops on the way to Mammoth Caves were Diamond Caverns, Grand Avenue Cave, Procter Cave and Hotel, Chaumont Post Office, Union City, Sloan's Crossing, and Ganter's Hotel. The Dinkey Train could obtain speeds of 25–35 miles per hour on the lightweight rails.
The Versailles and Midway Railway was a 19th-century railway company in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It operated from 1884 until 1889, when it was incorporated into the Louisville Southern Railroad. It later made up part of the Southern Railway and its former rights-of-way currently form parts of the class-I Norfolk Southern system.
The Woodford Railroad was a 19th-century railway company in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It operated from 1871 until 1889, when it was incorporated into the Louisville Southern Railroad. It later made up part of the Southern Railway and its former rights-of-way currently form parts of the class-I Norfolk Southern system.