Abandoned Railroads, Buildings, Cars and Locomotives

Abandoned railroads, buildings, cars, and locomotives scattered across landscapes tell a story of industrial evolution and decline.

Abandoned railroads, buildings, cars, and locomotives scattered across landscapes tell a story of industrial evolution and decline. These relics, often found in rural and urban settings alike, serve as poignant reminders of a once-thriving era of transportation and commerce.



Lawrenceburg Train Depot

Prior to the arrival of the Louisville Southern Railroad (LS) in Lawrenceburg, the county seat of Anderson County had just a few hundred people. 3 The arrival of the railroad in April 1888 changed that. The railroad connection to Lexington allowed Anderson County distilleries to ship whiskey quicker and easier than by boat via the Kentucky River. Soon, the county seat became a shipping center for whiskey, grain, livestock, and other goods.

The depot was later used as a storage shed by LS’s successor, Norfolk Southern, for equipment and as an occasional resting place for workers. 3

The train depot was scheduled for demolition by controlled burn by Norfolk Southern in 1998. 3 The company intended to replace the building with portable trailers for workers. After reading about its impending demise, Michael Davenport worked a deal with the railroad in 2001 to acquire the building for $5,000 and relocate it to a site along US Route 127 so that it could be renovated as a welcome center. 2

Davenport paid $23,000 for a new roof and spent $50,000 to move the building. 2 On March 17, 2001, workers used a chain saw to cut the depot in half so that it could be relocated via flat car and tractor to Anderson County Park. It was then moved to a location along US Route 127 and served as a seasonal farmers market until the end of 2019.



Gaseous Diffusion Plant Branch

A branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad served the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (USEC) in Piketon, Ohio. The facility was part of a federal program to produce highly enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors and weapons.

Operations at USEC began in 1954 and ended when enrichment operations were consolidated with a facility in Paducah, Kentucky in May 2001. Transfer and shipping operations were moved to Paducah in 2002. USEC today is home to the American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility and the American Centrifuge Plant, a next-generation uranium enrichment facility.

USEC was served by a branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad deviating from the mainline at Germany. It was constructed prior to the USEC’s opening in 1954 and included a significant trestle above Happy Hollow. The branch was dismantled circa 2001. USEC continues to be served by a branch from the Norfolk Southern mainline.

Lake Shore Electric Railway Cars

The Lake Shore Electric Railway (LSE), formed in 1901, grew to encompass 60 miles by the 1910s. The Niles Car & Manufacturing Company of Niles, Ohio, manufactured most of the LSE cars, while the LSE Sandusky Shop handled others. The Great Depression took its toll on the interurban, and the LSE was abandoned in 1938.

Norfolk & Western Railroad Train Station (Portsmouth)

Constructed in 1931, the Norfolk & Western Railroad train station was located at 17th and Findlay Streets in Portsmouth, Ohio. It was used for passenger trains until 1971, but the structure saw continued use for division offices for the railroad. The building was demolished in 2004 for the Scioto County Jail.

Spring Grove Industrial Track

The Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad (B&O SW) Spring Grove Industrial Track was located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The single-track branch split from the B&O SW mainline at Colrain Avenue and proceeded south and east of Spring Grove Avenue, eventually ending at Monmouth Street. It once served the manufacturing center of the Crosley Radio Corporation.


Coster Repair Shops

The Coster Repair Shops were named after Charles Henry Coster, founder of the Southern Railway System, in 1894. 1 The advent of diesel engines caused a decline in work orders, and the repair shops were closed in 1995.

West Virginia

Steam Locomotive

An unknown 0-4-0T No. 1 steam locomotive manufactured by H. K. Porter rests outside the Kenova Historical Commission building in Kenova, West Virginia.



  1. Ferguson, Don K. “Ferguson: Coster yielded to SYSCO.” Knoxville News-Sentinel, 15 Jun. 2008.
  2. Jordan, Jim. “History in the moving.” Herald-Leader [Lexington], 18 Mar. 2001, p. B1.
  3. Carlton, Chad “Norfolk Southern wants to raze building, but Lawrenceburg asks ‘stay of execution’.” Herald-Leader [Lexington], 5 Jun. 1998, pp. B1-B4.

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