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When I heard that the trash trains bound for the EnviroSolutions Landfill in western Boyd Co., KY, were coming to an end, I made a point to try and capture the last trains.

The old C&O Lexington Subdivision, shortened to it’s current status by the mid-1980’s, still had one reliable customer: the landfill. It was a guaranteed two trains per day (plus any yard jobs running to Kentucky Electric Steel), one empty and one loaded.

A couple of years before their termination in 2016, trash trains the mainstay of the Lexington Industrial Track in Boyd Co., KY. This used to C&O's mainline to Lexington, KY before most of it was ripped up in the mid-1980's.
A couple of years before their termination in 2016, trash trains the mainstay of the Lexington Industrial Track in Boyd Co., KY. This used to be C&O’s mainline to Lexington, KY before most of it was ripped up in the mid-1980’s. Here at Meads, KY, CSXT 5403 hugs onto the rear of this empty trash train headed for Russell.

Upset locals formed the Boyd Environmental Coalition in order to stop the trains and attempted to shut down the landfill. Odor issues were constantly present anytime, day or night.

They would go to win a lawsuit that forced the closing of the rail terminal of the waste transfer station in Boyd Circuit Court, citing the train for bringing the odor with it during its travel time across the branch.

These signs posted on entrances into the rail waste transfer were part of the agreement when the facility closed by order of Boyd County Circuit Court.
These signs posted on entrances into the rail waste transfer were part of the agreement when the facility closed by order of Boyd County Circuit Court.

The line was originally pieced together after several predecessor railroads built different section, with the Elizabethtown, Lexington and Big Sandy railroad constructing the largest portion just west of Denton, KY. What was left was named the Lexington Industrial Track.

In the mid-1980s, when railroads across the nation were in an abandonment frenzy, the Chessie System was quick to chop the line when it knew a merger with the Seaboard System was inevitable.

The strictly east-west mainline was first torn up between Lexington and Winchester, KY and later all the way to Boyd Co., KY. Ending over 100 years of railroading in the heart of the Bluegrass state.

This line has and will always hold a special place, while I never saw it in full operation but it ran through my county (Carter County), just a couple miles from where I grew up.

There are three railroad bridges that cross the Little Sandy River, my parents would frequently take that route to satisfy my railroad curiosity.

However, today there is only Kentucky Electric Steel at the very end of the line and it only sees a job as-needed. The future is uncertain for what remains of Collis P. Huntington’s Gateway to the West.

CSX Y206-19, the train ID assigned to the last train leaving the Big Run Landfill left the yard around 5:30 p.m. on April 19, 2016.
CSX Y206-19, the train ID assigned to the last train leaving the Big Run Landfill left the yard around 5:30 p.m. on April 19, 2016.

The photo above depicts the very last trash car to pass on the Lexington I.T. — and possibly one of the very last trains at all on the line.

Written by:

Cory Claxon is a journalist/photographer for the Grayson Journal-Times, he is also a avid railfan and historian.

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