Big Woods, Red River & Lombard Railroad
The Big Woods, Red River & Lombard Railroad was owned by the Big Woods Lumber Company, which operated the line to three-foot narrow-gauge standards. Its connections to the outside world included the Lexington & Eastern Railway, where finished lumber was interchanged. The railroad began operations in 1902 and utilized about 15 miles of track in all. It remained in use until only 1909 using two Climax locomotives, #1 and #2.
Brodhead-Garrett Lumber Company
This timber operation owned a small standard gauge railroad that served its mill near Lombard. It began operations in 1914 but was a very shortlived railroad as the tracks were taken up by 1917. The line owned two Climax locomotives, 35-ton Class B Climaxes.
Bull's Eye Spring Narrow Gauge Railroad
This logging railroad was built early in the industry's era as
it was first constructed in 1882. The line owned about five miles in
total at its peak and served the company mill, owned by Andrew Brown,
located near Olive Hill. It was built to an odd narrow-gauge, 42.5
inches (about 3 1/2 feet), and utilized three small Lima-built Shays. The railroad remained in use until only 1893.
Dana Lumber Company
The company's railroad was named directly after it and moved
logs located in the Red River Gorge region to a saw mill located near
Lombard. The railroad was only a few miles in length but featured a
tunnel, cut between 1911 and 1912, a rarity in the logging industry back
then (usually lines were laid haphazardly through creeks and up
mountainsides). However, the tunnel served an important purpose of
linking the operation to a main line interchange to ship out finished
lumber. The railroad used two Climax locomotives purchased new.
Operations began in 1906 but were sold in October, 1914 to
Kentucky, Rockcastle & Cumberland Railroad
This railroad was an affiliate of the Turkey Foot Lumber Company.
Its mill was located at the end of the railroad where spurs were
constructed to reach its timber holdings as well as the small hamlet of
Caryton, where a connection with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad
was established. The railroad was chartered on December 3, 1913 taking
over a few miles of track already built and completed about 18 miles of
line in total. It was a standard gauge operation that utilized a fleet
of five geared steam locomotives. The railroad was slowly cutback
starting in 1923 and was completely abandoned by 1935.
Licking River Railroad
The Licking River Railroad was owned by the Yale Lumber Company
having been organized on November 15, 1899. It dated back to the
Licking River Railway that was chartered in 1896 by the Sterling Lumber Company
but failed in 1899. When Yale took over the operation 15 miles had
already been completed between Yale, where the mill was located, and
Salt Lick where a connection to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway had
been established. Under Yale's ownership the railroad was vastly
expanded and by 1905 reached Blackwater, giving it a total system of 35
miles. The line was always three-foot narrow-gauge and owned 13 Climax
locomotives, a massive fleet for a logging operation. Additionally, the
Licking River was large enough that it also scheduled some local
passenger service over the line. Unfortunately, it no longer was
profitable after 1906 and was abandoned by 1913.
Mowbray & Robinson Lumber Company
This logging operation first utilized a narrow-gauge railroad
around 1910 connecting its sawmills at West Irvine and Quicksand with
the nearby L&N. At its peak the railroad was operating 40 miles of
track and eight geared locomotives. In 1923 the timber reserves had
been exhausted and much of the property was donated to the University of
Big Sandy & Cumberland Railroad Company
This railroad was an affiliate of the W.M Ritter Lumber Company,
the largest timber company in the United States who owned vast tracts
of hardwood in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Likewise, Ritter
operated numerous railroads to move logs to his mills as well as the
finished lumber. The BS&C was located in the corners of all three
states mentioned above with a connection to the Norfolk & Western
Railway at Devon, West Virginia. It was a 42 inch narrow-gauge system
(3 1/2 feet) and at its peaked operated about 33 miles of track.
Rockcastle River Railway
This logging line was owned by the Bond-Foley Lumber Company
and began operations in 1912 on a standard-gauge system. It connected
Viva to Bond, with the former location being where an interchange was
established with the L&N. During peak operations the company owned
nearly 27 miles of track and a fleet of seven locomotives. Operations
were discontinued in 1931.
Triplett & Big Sandy Railroad
This railroad was a shortlived operation owned by the Hixson-Rodbourne Lumber Company.
It began operations in 1890 on a five-mile section of track connecting
Rodburn to nearby timber interests located along Christy Creek. A
narrow-gauge line it featured one geared steam locomotive and remained in use until only 1894. For more information about the state's logging railroad history please click here.
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