The Cadiz Railroad

Much like the Union Railroad of Oregon brought rail service to Union, OR; the Cadiz Railroad did the same for the citizens of Cadiz, KY, who were otherwise without rail service, with the Illinois Central Railroad line about eight miles east at Gracey as the closest connection to the network.

Cadiz Railroad 100. Image: Trigg County Historical Society

The eponymous railroad would give the city rail service, running 10 miles west from Gracey, KY, and a junction with the Illinois Central, to downtown Cadiz. 

The original track of Cadiz Railroad in Brown between Gracey (or Cadiz Jct.) and Cadiz as shown on our Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines Map.

Grading began in 1901, and the route surveyed included unnecessary curves to artificially increase the size of the line from the eight miles from Gracey, to 10 miles. This source suggests that this was done to make the road an "official" railroad, but I have never heard of ten miles being the cut-off for such a status, if one even exists. Further, we have discussed numerous independent short-lines who were far less than ten miles in length, perhaps most notably the Illinois Midland Railway. My guess is that is this was just done to make the line seem more important in the general sense of the railroad network.

Nonetheless, one year later, Cadiz had rail service.

Image and history of the line.

Tobacco was the major crop in the area, and the railroad facilitated the transportation of the crop to larger markets that would pay higher prices than the nearby towns. In addition, the road also provided railbus service, allowing passengers access to larger cities and towns via Gracey. 

In the 1960's, the auto parts supplier Hoover Spring purchased a 51% stake in the road, and would become its single largest customer. By the end of the 1970's, the line was increasing traffic amid many short lines declining, or being abandoned outright.

In fact, the Cadiz Railroad would actually expand after Illinois Central planned to abandon the 18 mile section of their line between Gracey and Hopkinsville in 1984. With the acquisition of that trackage, the Cadiz Railroad reached its maximum 28 mile length. 

But in spite of the growth, the line couldn't last forever amid competition from trucking, and it would meet its end in 1988. About 2.5 miles of the right of way are today preserved as the Cadiz Rail Trail, and a static locomotive sits on the right of way as a reminder of the days of the line.

Cadiz Railroad 8 locomotive at Trigg County Historical Park. Image: GoCadiz

Thanks as always for reading!


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