It’s a rare occasion anymore when I am not stumbling upon an abandoned rail line at least once a week. I was taken in surprise when I stumbled upon the Flemingsburg and Northern not too far from where I grew up and had been oblivious to it’s existence until recently. While tracing out an active rail line, I came across Flemingsburg Junction, Kentucky, which indicated a juncture of a railroad. After scouting the topographic atlases, my hunch was correct.
The Flemingsburg and Northern Railroad was a standard-gauge railroad that existed from the Louisville & Nashville line at Flemingsburg Junction to Flemingsburg. The line was chartered in 1876 as the Covington, Flemingsburg & Pound Gap Railway, and was a proposed 110-mile narrow-gauge from Covington to Hazel Green in Wolfe County via Flemingsburg. The first segment that opened was from Flemingsburg Junction to Flemingsburg in 1877.
The line was extended to Hillsboro by 1876, although nothing more was constructed due to financial issues. The railroad reorganized as the Licking Valley Railroad, with the hopes of at least completing a line to West Liberty, but it soon too reorganized into the Cincinnati & Southeastern. Thirty miles of the route across Campbell County was graded, but no rails were installed.
The company went into foreclosure and reorganized as the Covington, Flemingsburg & Ashland, and later as the Cincinnati, Flemingsburg & Southeastern. But the financial perils of the line became obvious after a trestle southeast of Flemingsburg collapsed. The line was never repaired, and the railroad was truncated at Flemingsburg.
While the remaining six miles were converted to standard gauge in 1909, and reorganized as the Flemingsburg & Northern in 1920, it never became the through route that it’s planners had envisioned. The railroad ran its last freight in 1955 and the line was dismantled shortly thereafter.