Showing posts with label Kentucky - The Bluegrass State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kentucky - The Bluegrass State. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dave's Depots - Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis Freight Depot, Paducah, KY

This edition of "Dave's Depots" takes us to Paducah, Kentucky. When most people think of railroads in Paducah, they rightly think of the Illinois Central. After all, the IC's main locomotive shops were located in Paducah, and were famous for the rebuilt steam and diesel power that came from its erecting halls.

Paducah, however, was served by other railroads, including the Burlington, which meandered to Paducah on its southern Illinois coal line. The Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis also came to Paducah, from the south. The line was a branch that came north from Tennessee, passed through Murray, Kentucky, and ended on the waterfront in downtown Paducah.

This branch has been cut back, and is currently operated by the Kentucky & West Tennessee Railway. However, the freight depot in downtown Paducah survives, as seen in these photographs, taken in February 2010. The depot sits about 1,000 feet from Illinois Central 1518, a 2-8-2 that is on display by the flood wall.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dave's Depots -- Murray, Kentucky -- N.C.&St.L.

On January 14, 2010, I found myself returning to my native Kentucky for work. Work took me far from my Nelson County birthplace to Murray, Kentucky. Murray is located in Callaway County, in the far western portion of the state. Those of you who live in Illinois and travel up and down I-57 may notice that Murray State University advertises heavily as Kentucky's "Public Ivy University."

Located just a block from the Courthouse is this depot. Built by the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, this structure most recently housed a locksmith. A check of the interior finds that the depot was gutted mostly for this new use. Now abandoned, the depot remains in fair shape, along the tracks of the Kentucky & West Tennessee Railroad, current operators of the line.

This trip also netted visits to the NC&StL freight station in downtown Paducah, the old ICRR shops, also in Paducah, and IC steam locomotive 1518, all which will be covered in future posts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dave's Depots -- Deatsville, Kentucky

While Randy and the other IRM volunteers were working away in Cleveland in November, Katy and I visited my parents in my hometown of Bardstown, Kentucky. Bardstown, as you may know, is the center of the bourbon-making industry.

On Sunday, as we headed out of town, we stopped at the town of Deatsville, Kentucky. The town sits on the former L&N Bardstown branch, now operated by RJ Corman as his Bardstown Line. The line was and is known as a supplier for the bourbon-making industry. Deatsville was home of the T.W. Samuels Distillery. The distillery closed in the 1950s, another distillery owns the trademarks. The facility is still used for storage and for a while hosted a spring water company. The Samuels family went on to bigger and better things, namely founding Makers Mark in nearby Loreto.

The Depot at Deatsville is one of 3 depots on the line still in existence. The other two are at Bardstown, and the depot/distillery office at the old Jim Beam distillery. The depot is in good shape, and was used for many years as a antique shop. It sits empty now. It is of standard L&N design.

I've rolled past this depot twice on a train, once on an L&N 152 excursion on the branch sponsored by the Kentucky Railway Museum, and another time on RJ Corman's dinner train.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trip Report/Dave's Depots - Bowling Green, Kentucky

On Saturday, November 28, 2009, Katy and I visited Bowling Green Kentucky. Bowling Green is home to the Bowling Green Historic Railpark and L&N Depot. The facility is housed in the former L&N depot. The purpose of my visit was for me to talk about the 728th Railway Operating Battalion, a unit sponsored by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad during World War II. The Bowling Green Daily News covered the event.

As you can see here, the station building is a grand structure. When originally built, the facility contained offices for the L&N, a ticket office, waiting rooms, a restaurant, and space for baggage and express operations.

The depot was vacated with the end of Amtrak service in the area in the late 1970s, and over the years succumbed to neglect and vandalism. I remember seeing the depot in 1995 and it was in deplorable shape. All of the windows were broken out, major portions of the tile roof were missing, and vagrants were living inside the structure. At that time members of the Bowling Green community came together and begun to raise money to renovate the structure. After CSX Transportation donated the depot and platform structure, the restoration work begun. By the time I graduated college in 2002, the major restoration work was completed. In addition to leasing some space for use by a local business, the depot houses a nice museum on the L&N in Bowling Green, a community room for events, some nicely-restored and maintained pieces of equipment.

Since then, the group has acquired 6 pieces of rolling stock, and has displayed them at the depot. As one drives to the depot, it looks as if the Memphis section of the L&N’s crack passenger train The Pan American is about ready to depart the station. Heading up the display train is “L&N” E8 number 796. This unit, a shell is restored from a former CN&W unit. Following the locomotive is a former L&N RPO car, completely restored inside and out, a former L&N 6-4-6 (6 sections, 4 double bedrooms, and 6 roomettes) sleeper Towering Pine, a former SP diner painted as an L&N dining car and a steel-sheathed business car, L&N number 353. Also in the collection is a Chessie System caboose painted as an L&N caboose.

All of the equipment is maintained in very good condition, and restoration work is actively going on. Most recently, restoration volunteers have replaced much of the steel in the sides of the Pullman car. Longer range plans are to cover and enclose the equipment in a glass structure, and continue the restoration work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 728th Railway Operating Battalion in World War II

For those of you who will be in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Saturday, November 28, 2009, I recommend you stop by and say hello to me. Bowling Green, besides being home to my alma mater, Western Kentucky University, is also home to a very nicely restored Louisville & Nashville Railroad depot and museum, now called the Bowling Green Historic Railpark.

The Railpark his hosting yours truly as a guest speaker. The subject: The 728th Railway Operating Battalion in World War II. This battalion consisted of many employees of the L&N, and was instrumental in supporting the Allied advance through France in the months following D-Day. The L&N helped re-open and operate the railroad from Cherbourg, France to Paris.

The reason for the invite is more complicated. Back at WKU, I wrote my senior thesis on the 728th, and largely forgot about the subject. A few months ago, a volunteer at the Railpark was doing research on the 728th so he could give the presentation, found my thesis, and managed to find me, all the way out in Missouri.

Of note, the depot includes several restored railcars on display, and I'll take lots of photos for a new Dave's Depots feature.

UPDATE: WKCT Radio in Bowling Green is doing a phone interview with me at 1:30 PM CST on Monday, November 23, 2009. There is a "listen live" feature if you dare.
UPDATE-UPDATE-The interview is a taped one, so don't listen live.