Trains and railroads were the very first major break of industrial-age transportation. They completely revolutionized transportation with transport overland dropping in cost and time spent traveling manyfold. But around much of the planet, rails have struggled to adjust to the new world of trucks, highways, and airplanes. In other places they've been abandoned as the old mines these were built to service have fallen from use.
Kentucky, (like so many other states) has its own fair share of abandoned and forgotten railways. Sometimes you will find decaying rail bridges, stations, and even car cars lift to decay in the middle of nowhere. In addition, there's also many abandoned highways round the United States that you can explore – they are mostly sections that have been bypassed.
Young's High Bridge – Louisville Southern Railroad
Originally there was an agenda to build a railway between Louisville and Virginia. A railroad was built between Louisville and Harrodsburg that ran through Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg. It was constructed in the 1880s and a railway bridge, called Young's High Bridge, was built across the Kentucky River gorge at Tyrone.
Unfortunately for the railroad, it wasn't long until automobiles were increasing – and they ate into its passenger base. By December 27, 1937 passenger services ceased as the freight trains continued to operate until 1979.
In 1985, the section of the line between Lawrenceburg and Versailles was mothballed – including the aging Young's High Bridge.
- Location: New Tyrone, Kentucky
- Built: In 1889
- Last Passenger Train: Crossed On December 27, 1937
- Last Train: Crossed November 1985
The Young's High Bridge is definitely an eye-catching bridge that was inches off being the highest bridge in the United States if this was built. The bridge spans 1,659 feet long, is 283 feet above the river, and includes a 551-foot long cantilever span.
Today the bridge is listed around the National Register of Historic Places included in the Lexington Extension from the Louisville Southern Railroad.
- Attractions: Bungee Jumping, Train Excursions, Sight Seeing
There are efforts to preserve this remarkable derelict bridge, in February 2013, it had been was sold to Young's Bridge Partners LLC. They operate a horseriding platform, so visitors can now experience the thrill of jumping off that which was nearly America's highest bridge.
Another attraction takes an excursion with Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museum to the eastern end of the Young's High Bridge.
Derelict Cabooses And Passenger Cars
According to Abandonedonline.com, there remain various derelict cabooses, passenger cars, and miscellaneous cars along with the former Louisville & Southern Railway Lexington to Lawrenceburg Division in central Kentucky.
- Owned: By the Bluegrass Railroad Museum
They were stored for potential reuse and renovation through the Bluegrass Railroad Museum. It is unclear the number of happen to be restored and just how many remain in a debilitated state. If one takes the museum's excursion trains to the eastern side from the Young's High Bridge, you will get to see the old mothballed trains as well as the old spur towards the now-demolished Tyrone Power Plant.
The museum offers both regularly scheduled weekend train rides and chartered rides as well as a choice of coach and first-class seating.
Prices for regularly scheduled weekend train rides:
- Adults: $14
- Children: Aged 2-12 $12
- Adults: $19
- Children: $17
In addition, they offer their Outside Car “Hobo Experience” costing – Adults $19 Children $17.
About Kentucky's Network of Abandoned Railways
The commonwealth of Kentucky includes a network of abandoned common carrier mainlines, narrow-gauge logging railroads, and short-lived spurs that served coal mines. Explorers can discover many of these today, some are restored as attractions while others are totally abandoned and overgrown.
- Abandoned Track: Around 1,200 Miles Of Abandoned Track In Kentucky
- Setting: Both Urban And Rural Settings
In 2001 Kentucky had only around 2,780 miles of track – that's down from over 4,000 miles at its peak in the 1930s. This means that by Two decades ago their state comes with an astonishing 1,200 approximately miles of abandoned railroad beds in Kentucky. Over 125 different abandoned rail lines happen to be recognized by kyrailbeds.com.
These abandoned lines can be found in both urban and rural settings – so that as of 2001, under 1% were converted into recreational uses.
Other abandoned railway lines in Kentucky:
- Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Passenger Terminal: Ashland, Kentucky
- The Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad: Paris to Frankfort, KY
- The Glo Spur: Glo, Kentucky
- The Lexington Subdivision: Ashland to Lexington, KY
- The Morehead & North Fork Railroad: Morehead to Redwine, KY
- The Western Kentucky Railway: Providence to Blackford And Dixon, KY
To see more abandoned railways lines in Kentucky – and across the whole Usa – make reference to abandonedrails.com. They catalog all the abandoned railways in the united states. It's possible to browse pictures of abandoned railroads and get an unusual reminder of history.