The abandoned railway was built by the Jackson Branch Railroad Company; its intent was to connect Jackson to The Belmont Branch in the southeast corner of the county. The thought was that if Jackson did not have rail service, its important would diminish and the town would cease to exist.
The original line was meant to connect with the Belmont Branch at Allenville and travel through Jackson into Perry County and a ferry connection along the Mississippi River. When the line reached as far as Jackson from Allenville in 1885, construction stopped, and railroad freight service commenced. The JBRR was soon absorbed into the Saint Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, which itself was merged into the Missouri Pacific years later.
The MP first submitted the line up for abandonment in 1932, but it was denied. And while technically not abandoned, the tracks remain in various states of disrepair, and talks of converting the right-of-way into a rail-trail occur regularly. Indeed, a filing for abandonment of the line by the Jackson, Gordonville and Delta Railroad has been submitted as of May 14, 2012.
See also The Cape Girardeau Northern Railroad, which also served Jackson.