Lexington & Ohio Railroad (Elkhorn Locomotive)

During January 1835, the company received two steam locomotives built by Bury & Stephenson, of England, named the Elkhorn and Nottoway[1].  They arrived in Frankfort on the steamboat Argus.  The first run by the Nottoway, on January 24, 1835, covered the 6¼ miles to the “villa” in 18½ minutes.[i]  Unfortunately, the first fatal accident occurred on the return trip, when two cars derailed returning from Villa Grove.  The train consisted of the locomotive, two burden (freight) cars and a passenger car (painted yellow).  The train returned from Villa Grove in reverse order.

There is no image of the locomotive but several diagrams and woodcuts exists preporting to show the Elkhorn.

Woodcut, circa 1830s

Woodcut, 1838

Woodcut, 1845

[1] The company faced numerous lawsuits and injunctions over the use of steam locomotives.  At one point, Louisville banned the “Elkhorn” from the Portland Division.

[i] Observer & Reporter, Lexington, January 24, 1835, page 3, column 3 and Perrin, page 82.


William M. Ambrose, Bluegrass Railways, Limestone Press, Lexington, 2009.