Rail Line Closed by L&N in 1932

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Rail Line Closed by L&N in 1932


In 1932, at the request of the owner, the L&N Railroad, the Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington examined the conditions of the 77-mile rail line that ran through Madison County via Valley View, Richmond and Brassfleld, and allowed it to be abandoned. Known as "the old Riny-B," it was originally the Richmond, Nicholasville, Irvine and Beattyville Railroad. The original company had trouble from its start in the late 1880s, not meeting construction deadlines and suffering financial difficulties. Even after the trains started running in 1890, it went into receivership and was reorganized as the Louisville & Atlantic. Still the financial troubles continued, and it was taken over by the L&N in 1909. The line was officially abandoned October 1, 1932. The L&N cited the depletion of timber around Irvine and coal in the Beattyville region, and the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which brought an end to the freight to and from a distillery at Cliffside near Frankfort. However, an editorial in the Register criticized the L&N for abandoning the rail line. "The L&N was glad to acquire the road several years ago," the editor stated, "in order to eliminate a competing line (to) secure more advantageous freight rates. It is a comparatively easy matter to route freight around the line in question, (and) keep tonnage from going over it to accentuate the loss sustained." The state highway commission in Frankfort ordered a survey to determine if the high, imposing bridge at Valley View, with its curved approaches on each side of the Kentucky River, could be used as a highway bridge. It was rejected by Jessamine County, then Madison, because it would be only one lane, and widening the approaches would require many tons of additional rock and dirt. Some speculated that you could never get a person to drive across "that thing way up in the air." In last week's column on the abandonment of this railway, we misspelled the name of W. S. Sowers, the man who provided the 8x10 inch timbers for the building of the trestle from Marble Creek to near Million on Tates Creek Pike. W. S. was the father of J. L. Sowers who worked for the Richmond Daily Register in the early 1930s. William Burgess, who had the contract to haul the timber, had a son of the same name who was a U.S. marshall at Richmond. Construction in this county was started on the C.J. Jenkins farm at Valley View, at the place where Miller High School later existed. Robert Harris was the first express and baggageman when the trains first started running in 1890; his brother J. R. Harris was the brakeman on the first regularly scheduled passenger trains. J. R. Pates was the first conductor on those passenger trains.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “Rail Line Closed by L&N in 1932,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed June 15, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/951.