Paris, TN to Paducah, KY
The Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad ran from Paris, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky and was originally constructed around 1890. In 1982, a thirty-mile section of the railroad between Paducah and Hardin, Kentucky was abandoned and the rails were removed. The right-of-way can clearly been seen in aerial images.
Shortline railroads operated from Hardin through Murray and on to Paris, Tennessee over the next few years. Most notably, the Hardin Southern Railroad ran nostalgia passenger trains from about 1994 through 2004 from Hardin to Murray. In 2005, HSRR ceased operations and the nine-mile track was acquired by the Murray-Calloway County Economic Development Corporation for the purpose of Murray's Industrial Park. In March of 2009, the MCCEDC abandoned most of the line from about two miles north of Murray to Hardin.
Tracks are currently being dismantled through the small communities of Almo, Dexter and Hardin, which is also the location of a small yard. The KWT Railroad continues to operate freight trains using a small section of the MCCEDC-owned line in Murray as well as their own tracks from about Highway 80 in Murray down to Bruceton, Tennessee.
Thanks to Shawn Dunnaway for contributing information.
Nice story but a sad one a tragety for Kentucky. We have seen a lot of lines disapear since the early eightees. If you ever get in the Princeton area stop in at the Caldwell County RR museum and meet Glenn Martin. A great person and an expert of rail history in West KY.
Great photos, although sad to see the removal process.
Are any of these rails still on the ground? If so, how much? Or are they all gone now?
I think this line extended even further to go right by the Paducah Railroad Museum as some track is visible above the roadway leading to and maybe past Ingram Barge Co.
I moved to Murray, Ky in 2002 after my wife passed away. Our son is a graduate of Murray State. I love this area of the country. It is beautiful all year round. I agree with Mr. Gordon, it is a tragedy to see these rails removed. We could connect so many wonderful communities with a light rail system. What a wonderful way it would be to travel close, or far, from home.
Some remembrances of this line as a boy in the early 1960's. There was one train a day on the L&N, that ran from Bruceton TN to Paducah. The CB&Q also had one train that ran from Centralia IL to Paducah. Both trains arrived in the late afternoon, interchanged cars, and returned back to their origins in the morning. The crews would set their cars out on a couple of sidings, along what is now known as Irvin Cobb Drive, just east of the now Paducah & Louisville yard. The locomotives and cabooses would then proceed to a point along South 6th St, where there was a small office and bunk house, where the crews would spend the night. Both L&N and CB&Q crews stayed there. If you befriended them, they would offer tours of the diesels and cabooses, and engage in conversation about the railroad. The L&N diesels were always interesting because of the wide variety of power assigned to the train. It was not unusual to see an Alco RS one day and a F7 "covered wagon" the next. Some still in NC&StL livery.
Both the L&N and CB&Q, joined IC track as they entered Paducah, and the track that branched off to the bunk house facility, was the former NC&StL that proceeded to the riverfront and the old NC&StL freight house. Even in the early 60's,this track had been abandoned at some point between South 6th St and the riverfront. The last I saw of diesels parked at the 6th St location, was around 1980. The line was pulled up shortly afterwards. The many mergers, had made this north-south interchange between the 2 railroads at Paducah unnecessary.
This would be a great pathway for a bike route. The government should think about it as a great resource and stop destroying the ROW. It would be a great tourist attraction.
Before I moved to Murray in 2007, I lived in Mandeville, Louisiana. When the track between Covington and Slidell was pulled up, the county turned the forty odd miles rail bed into the Tammany Trace for the use of walkers, joggers, bicyclists, roller bladers, and horseback riders. Several small parks with picnic tables, shelters, rest rooms, and play grounds were built along the trace.