Morehead to Redwine

The Morehead & North Fork Railroad

Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Not much is known about this small north-south logging railroad in the mountains of Kentucky. Headquartered in Clearfield, KY, the railroad's northern terminus was a connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad at Morehead, KY. (See The Lexington Subdivision.) At one time it had two passenger trains scheduled in each direction; it also hauled limestone and lumber generated by quarries in the area. As late as 1955, two steam locomotives could be seen plying the rails, which is significant considering that most other railroads this size were in the middle of dieselizing, if they weren't completely dieselized already. The line also included a spur to the Lee Clay Products plant in Clearfield, which closed its doors (and abandoned the spur) in the 1970s.

In 1933, the line was shortened by 21 miles, leaving only the northern 4 miles south of Morehead to Clack Mountain. At some point, the line was operated as the Morehead and Morgan Fork Railroad. It is presumed that the remaining 4 miles were abandoned at some point before the CSX abandoned the the M&NF's only connection at Morehead in 1985. The tracks lay abandoned for a few years before finally being removed in 2001.

The M&NF used two 0-6-0s and a 2-6-2 until July 1963 when 2 Alco S-1 diesels took over. The first 21 miles of track were pulled up in 1933, the last four miles were abandoned in Jan 1973. It was sold to a private owner that summer. The Lee Clay Plant shut down in 1970. Four Baldwins were acquired in 1976 and three are still located in Clearfield along with one steam locomotive, #12. Some of the track is still intact but the whole place is in bad shape.

bryan riggsby
clearfield, KY


When I was a teenager I got to ride the baldwins pulling carloads of lumber to Morehead, what a thrill. That's when I first learned how to run a locomotive. In april 1982 the old Lee Clay plant which was by this time a lumber yard burned down. The mill also lost its drying kilns which provided the freight for the railroad. It took three years to rebuild the mill and they had just started shipping cars again when the C&O pulled the rails in early 1985. The baldwins sat unused until 1989 when the internal organs of the 1202 was sold to Jimmy McHugh to be used at Laclede Steel in one of their S-12s. In 1990 two friends of mine and myself began working on the remaining operable baldwin and #12. We were successful in cleaning everything up and having some railfan days until 1995. Now the state has taken most of the r-o-w for a new road but the shops and yard along with one bridge is still intact. This would still make a nice museum but with today's economy it might take a while.

bryan riggsby
clearfield, KY


Any chance of you posting photo's of the #12 steam loco and shots of the paint schemes on the others? How about some shots of the shops & yard area?

Spartanburg, SC

[I do not have any photos of the M&NF, but perhaps other visitors do? Please let me know, thanks!  —Greg Harrison]


I've seen an old locomotive and some cars sitting near the lumber yard,wondering if there part of the old m&nf?

Eugene Colvin
Louisa, KY


If you want to see some photos of the M&NF,just google it .There are some excellent photos of some of the old steam engines and buildings around clearfield.Also there is a new book out written by a friend of mine,Fred Brown, its called "Steam Through The Heart"Life and times along the Morehead & North Fork.You can get it online or order it at any bookstore for about $25.00.Its a nice hardback book.I do have quite a few photos of the M&NF from its early days up till 1995.I will put them up as soon as I can.One locomotive and a couple of cars are near the lumber yard,a D&S RS-12,and old L&N boxcar #97856,and a Chessie baywindow caboose,B&O #904055,it belongs to the Kentucky Central chapter NRHS.

Bryan Riggsby
Clearfield, KY


When I was in college at ETSU in Johnson City, TN in winter of 1977 I saw 2 Durham and Southern Railroad Baldwin diesels deadheading northbound on a Clinchfield RR train. They must have been in transit to the Morehead and North Fork. Being a railfan I took a picture but it was twilight and is barely viewable.

Asheville , NC


I heard a rummer of and old M&NF Steam engine sitting in a barn some where around Morehead. I know every thing there is to know about the C&O & CSX arount that area. I have some old timetables showing the connection and the track.

Alex Allen
Prestonsburg, KY


As of November 2011 the old M&NF #12 steam engine was purchased moved to the Age of Steam roundhouse in Ohio. According to the new owner, the #12 will be fully restored and run under its own power again. It is currently residing in the backshop for repairs. Although I have not confirm been able to confirm it, I have been told that all of the remaining Baldwin diesels have been scrapped. As much as I hate to hear that #12 is leaving her old home, its nice to know that she'll be taken care of. I only hope that the new owner will keep her in M&NF livery! You can read a little about the move here:

Steven Potter
Fargo, ND


When I was a child, the Durham & Southern ran next to my house and their terminal was about six blocks from my home. I would hear them coming home, hop on my bicycle and ride to the station. They would let me ride in the locomotives as they shifted cars into the interchange with the ACL. Great memories and nice men to entertain a little boy. Sad to hear that the Baldwins, which I so well remember are scrapped. The D&S station survives in Dunn as the office for a concrete company and a short piece of track survives for CSX to make deliveries. All the rest is gone.....except for memories.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson
Dunn, NC


A group of interested citizens has reincorporated the name "Morehead & North Fork Railroad" as a non profit for the purpose of preserving our railroading heritage. We are acquiring a small piece of property where we play to establish a park with a locomotive, boxcar and caboose as the featured exhibit. A museum will be created in the boxcar. We also have plans for an annual "rail day" festival and making presentations to our area schools on railroading history. Join us at our Facebook page or e-mail or call (606) 784-5122

Steve Young
Clearfield, KY


There are three M&NF steam locomotives surviving. One is being rebuilt at Stearns KY to be used on the Big Southfork Scenic Railroad, one is in the Age Of Steam roundhouse, and one is stuffed and mounted at a local museum, I think its in Penssylania.

David Morse
Frankfort , KY


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Do you have any pictures or information about The Morehead & North Fork Railroad? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.