77-Mile Railway Once Served Madison

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77-Mile Railway Once Served Madison


A headline in the October 3, 1992 issue of the Richmond Daily Register announced "Railway Line is Abandoned," something the people of Madison County already knew. The 77-mile rail-road that started at Cliffside in Franklin County and ran through Valley View and Richmond on its way to Irvine and Beattyville was permanently out of existence. The Interstate Commerce Commission had given permission some months earlier, and L&N officially abandoned the line on October 1, 1932, ending a long history that started with enthusiastic bond issues in the counties through which it ran. There was next a long time of adversity, then a period of heavy traffic and prosperity, and finally decline and abandonment. Originally named the Richmond, Nicholasville, Irvine and Beattyville Railroad, it was commonly called the Rhiny B. Madison County by popular vote subscribed to $250,000 worth of capital stock, the money to be raised by a bond issue. Failure of the original company to have the railroad in operation by a specific date caused half of the money to be retained by the county, so only $125,000 was actually contributed by Madison County. Many citizens also bought stock in the railroad, and they ultimately lost their money. The RNIB Railroad was organized over a hundred years ago. Construction in this county started at Valley View, with ground first broken on the farm of C.J. Jenkins, later owned by Valentine Tudor. Oak timber to build the trestle at Million was furnished by W.S. Sowders; it was hauled to the site by William Burgess. The first trains ran in 1890. From Million station the railroad ran along the north side of Tates Creek Pike, turning left through the Arlington estate, and going under the Lexington Road where the senior citizens' center is now located. It circled around the north edge of Richmond, arriving at the combination passenger station and freight yard on North Third Street. In later years, the old passenger station was used as the office of a lumber yard. The railroad ran just north of the Old Four Mile Road cemetery, and then on to Moberly and Brassfield on its way to Irvine. Sections of the roadbed in that part of the county were later made into county roads, easily identified by their straight and level roadbed. In the late 1890's the RNIB went into receivership, and the company was reorganized under the name of Louisville & Atlantic Railroad, even though it did not run within 50 miles of Louisville or 500 miles of the seacoast. After more financial failures, it was finally purchased by the L&N in 1909. It carried mostly lumber, coal and other freight for a good many years, but slowly declined.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “77-Mile Railway Once Served Madison ,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed June 15, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/950.