Owensboro to Moorman

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(Forwarded from the Owensboro & Russellville Railroad)

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Photo by Howard E. Espravnik, 2004.

This abandoned route from Owensboro to Moorman was constructed in 1871 as the Owensboro and Russellville Railroad. It later became property of the L&N, the Seaboard System, and eventually CSX. The segment of the line from Owensboro to Livermore was abandoned in 1984. In 2000, CSX abandoned the rest of the line from Livermore to Moorman.

Rails remain on the portion from the river near Livermore and connect with an active CSX east/west line south of Moorman.

From Livermore, north to Owensboro, the rails have all been removed, but the right-of-way is clearly visible in many spots from US Route 431. The bridges are gone and yellow guard rails are in place in some spots of the ROW. However, some road crossing signal flashers mysteriously remain years after the line was taken out. A small park in Livermore pays tribute to the former line and displays a restored L&N caboose.

The line crosses US Route 431 about four miles north of Moorman. This spot has what looks to be the remains of a reversing wye, and a diamond where another railroad crossed. The other railroad is completely gone. In early 2004, CSX was using the Moorman end to store rolling stock that needed repairs. In late 2004, all of the rolling stock had been removed.

An interesting feature of the line is a massive draw bridge which the railroad used to move trains over the Green River at Livermore, KY. The bridge was turned north/south for trains to cross and aligned in the east/west position to allow the passage of river traffic. It has since been removed.

Thanks to Howard E. Espravnik for contributing information about this route.

I can still remember trains using this and the old Illinois-Central from Owensboro-Whitesville- Fordsville line. I liked the street run this line did from down by the Old Blue Bridge down the middle of what is now J. R. Miller's Boulevard. It used to be near impossible to get into Owensboro without crossing a Railroad.

Brian Gray
Tell City, IN
3/10/2012

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I am interested in learning more about the line that ran through Whitesville, I think it was abandoned in the early 80's but I don't know much more than that. Any futher information would be much appreciated.

Eric Stevens
Whitesville, KY
9/5/2012

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http://kyrailbeds.com/highlighted/othb.html

Brian Gray
Cannelton, IN
9/15/2012

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Mr Stevens,

The link I posted above might give you some onfo you need about the old Illinois Central that went through Whitesville.

Brian D. Gray
Cannelton, IN
9/15/2012

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My parents owned a grociery store just north of Island on this route. The trains use to pull up behind the store and stop so the workers could go in and buy a sandwhich for lunch. On the last day they ran the trains to the Bungee elevator they let us all ride that part of the route and let my oldest brother drive the train. Years earlier my brothers would pretend to be train robbers by holding up toy guns to the trains as they passed and the workers would toss out their coins into our backyard and play along. Today we'd all be arrested by homeland security, but what memories those trainmen gave us three boys.

Rory
Island, KY
12/10/2012

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I think some of the picture captions and the route description are referring to the wrong bridge. The bridge at Livermore has been gone for a long time. The bridge east of Moorman hasn't been gone very long and shows up on older Google Earth imagery.

Tommy Young
Paris, TN
12/11/2012

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This line is before my time, however I live very near where it once was. I'd love to know more about its abandonment and when it was removed. All that I've found that remains in this city of this particular line is one single intact grade crossing and the occasional crossing sign painted on intersecting streets. A recent trip to Russellville revealed that along Sutherland Road and U.S. 431 the ROW is surprisingly very untouched! The ROW of the Illinois Central railroad was also visible along Railroad St. until it was leveled a few years back.

Corby Newton
Owensboro, KY
3/2/2015

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Corby,

The line to Moorman was abandoned in 1984 I think and the Illinois Central which lead to Whiteville,Fordsville and Horse Branch was taken up in 1982,again I think my times are right. The former Moorman(L & N) actually followed what is today J. R. Miller Boulevard,now part of the latter Illinois Central ROW is used for a city walkway out past the 60 bypass and an over pass just west of Highway 54 interchange crosses over the former railway.

I hope this helps but get back if need be.

Brian D Gray
Cannelton, IN
3/2/2015

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Thanks for the info on the Illinois Central, I couldn't find a definitive date on it at all. Was the line to Moorman taken up in 1984 as well or was the track still in place for a while afterwards? I've been into trains and all things related since I was a little kid (late '90s), and I'm almost positive I would have remembered this line if it were still there. Also, after looking this past weekend, it appears that all the tracks have been removed to Moorman.

Corby Newton
Owensboro, KY
3/3/2015

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The Illinois Central from Owensboro to Horse Branch was abandoned in 1982 sorry I didn't make that clear,The Owensboro-Moorman was abandoned in 1984. it's sad to see that towns like Fordsville that used to be railroad cross roads now have no rail service. The town once had the Illinois Central line we have been talking about along with a line pulled up in 1941,the Louisville,Hardinsburg and Western which branched off the L & N's 'Texas Line" from just above Irvington then lead to Fordsville/Ellmitch to Hartford but it was all pulled up in 1941 except for a stretch from Hartford to Moorman.However i don't know if that short stretch(Hartford-Moorman) is still in place or not. One can also find several abandoned Illinois Central lines down around Henderson to Morgantown to Princeton line along with Providence to Wheatcroft-Clay-Blackford line. Blackford being another town once a railroad cross roads but now having no rail service.

Sorry for being so long winded.

Brian D Gray
Cannelton, IN
3/3/2015

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There was once a depot in Livermore on Depot Street between 6th and 7th street. It was long gone in the 1970's. THay boult a small park at the depot location after the rail line closed and the property was sold.

There are photographs of the trestle (during the timber industry days) and of the construction of the rotating drawbridge in the Livermore library. The bridge was constructed 1871-1872 for $106,000.

People used to swim out to the bridge and climb up the horizontal pier protection girders onto the "bumpers" (caisson piers)to jump off 20 feet or so into the Green River. A few people have jumped into the river from the top of the bridge superstructure (one with the last minute assistance from a disturbed hornet or yellow jacket nest).

Since the trains passes through town at restricted speed (5 or 10mph and the bridge had to be rotated to the open position for trains to pass; it was relatively save to walk out to where the tracks ended at the abutments. It was a nice place to sit, late at night and watch the river flow by, reflecting the red and green boat navigation lights attached to the bridge.

Chris Coffman
Huntington Beach, CA
4/24/2015

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