The history of the Paducah and Louisville Railway, one of today's
somewhat unknown Class II regionals, began in the mid-1980s when the Illinois Central
Gulf looked to sell or abandon its main line to Louisville, the extreme
eastern terminus of the railroad. The ICG was a combination of the Illinois Central
and Gulf, Mobile & Ohio railroads in 1972. The trackage the
railroad sold in August, 1986 between Paducah and Louisville to form the
P&L was originally part of the Illinois Central system.
Interestingly, while the IC is most often recognized for Midwestern
north-south railroad it did reach well into Kentucky as well as
In any event, with the sale the Paducah & Louisville instantly became a 223-mile Class II, regional not only because of its initial customer base but also due to the fact that it served two important cities, and three altogether that included at least one Class I interchange partner. Looking back, the ICG would probably have wished it kept the line to Louisville considering what the P&L has since done with the route, exponentially growing its number of customers and bottom line over the past 25+ years.
Today, the Paducah and Louisville Railway connects with four of the seven North American Class I carriers; BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern. The railroad also interchanges traffic with regional Indiana Rail Road
and shortlines, Louisville & Indiana and the Fredonia Valley
Railroad (FV). Overall, the P&L's primary interchange points
include Paducah, Louisville, and Madisonville along with its connection
to the tiny FV at Princeton. Aside from this traffic the railroad also
moves a wide range of general freight from coal shipments, chemicals,
stone and clay to lumber, grain, heavy equipment, warehouses, and even a
local military base.
Diesel Locomotive Roster
|EMD||GP38-2||1998||Ex-Cotton Belt/SSW, Painted In University of Kentucky Livery||1|
|EMD||Slug||2100-2120 (Evens)||Ex-NYC, Ex-N&W, Ex-Alaska, Ex-SP, Ex-SSW||10|
|EMD||GP40-3||2101-2121 (Odds)||Ex-NYC, Ex-N&W, Ex-Alaska, Ex-SP, Ex-SSW||10|
|EMD||GP40-2||2123-2131, 4201||Ex-C&O, Ex-SCL, Ex-NYC, Ex-MILW||10|
|EMD||GP38-2||3800-3801, 3803-3812, 3817, 3831||Ex-SP, Ex-SSW, Ex-CR||13|
|EMD||SD70MAC||2012-2013, 4501-4504, 4510-4512, 4516, 4518, 4522-4523||Ex-CSX, #2012 is painted in a University of Kentucky livery and #2013 in University of Louisville colors.||13|
|EMD||GP39||8507||Ex-Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay||1|
Being located along the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers the PAL offers transload and bulk terminal services
from the numerous barge traffic serving both waterways. These
terminals are located at both Paducah and Louisville. For more
information regarding the Paducah and Louisville Railway please click here
to visit their official website. Also, if you may be interested in
learning more about the history of the Illinois Central please click here.
Currently the P&L’s roster consists entirely of EMDs, all of
which are Geeps. Additionally, they use one of the more attractive
paint schemes for a small railroad using a combination of dark green and
black with white trim.
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Class II Railroads
Paducah & Louisville