Map of Central City to Dawson Springs line Central City to Dawson Springs

Muhlenberg and Hopkins Counties

36.2 miles

This line began its life as the Elizabethtown & Paducah RR, built in 1869. Later it was absorbed into the Illinois Central RR system and remained there until the mid-1980s when it became a part of the regional shortline Paducah & Louisville RR. The portion between Central City and Greenville was abandoned by the P&L in 1996. Through the interest and initiative of Muhlenberg County Judge Executive Rodney Kirtley and local residents, this section became a successful rails to trails project.

West of Greenville the line was abandoned in 1997. Most of this line is in excellent condition -- either used informally as ATV or non-motorized trails or lying unused and somewhat overgrown. It passes through some lovely natural areas, but also through some recently abandoned strip mine areas that are in varying stages of reclamation. There is a small completed trail in the town of White Plains. This project is about 1.5 miles long and is paved.

The line continues to be in excellent and clear condition as it goes west. The westernmost portion was the most recently abandoned in 2001 (between Ilsley and Dawson Springs). There is a proposal for a trail in the Ilsley area, but there does not seem to be any progress there yet. The rails and ties have been removed to Ilsley and the large crushed stone ballast remains. The right of way is still free from vegetation. From Ilsley to Dawson Springs the rails remain on the ground. Near Dawson Springs the line passes near the Pennyrile State Forest and through some very scenic woodland and marsh areas.