The museum was founded in 1976 by some members of the Bluegrass Railroad Club, a model railroad group. It began to acquire equipment from local railroads, initially storing the equipment in the old L&N RR’s Lexington yard which is now part of the parking lot for Rupp Arena. The equipment was moved to a siding at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington, KY then to the Bluegrass Army Depot grounds in Avon, KY. In 1988 the museum moved to its present location on Hwy 62 outside Versailles, Kentucky. After a fire in 2006, a partially burned house was remodeled into a Station and Museum.
In 1987-1988 five and a half miles of railroad line from Versailles, KY to the Kentucky River and nine and a half acres of land in Woodford County Park just outside of Versailles were acquired to begin the process of creating a museum site and train ride.
The rail line was originally built by the Louisville Southern Railroad in the 1880s. For a brief time it was leased by the Monon Railroad. Later, it became part of the Southern Railway. While operated by the Southern, a switching accident at the Tyrone Generating Station caused coal shipments to be received by truck, and hastened the end of the usefulness of this portion of the line. Later, the Norfolk Southern Railway operated the line. A few years into NS ownership, the portion of the line between the Kentucky River and Versailles was slated for abandonment, and subsequently sold to the Museum. The line from the Kentucky River to Lawrenceburg, KY was abandoned and sold to a scrapper in 2009. The rails on Young’s High Bridge and into Lawrenceburg were then quickly removed and sold for scrap. Young’s High Bridge itself has been bought by a private party who have formed a LLC to develop the area into a tourist attraction planned to include a pedestrian walkway over the bridge, and zip-lines across the KY River valley parallel to the bridge. The line from Versailles to Lexington has been sold first to the Lexington and Ohio Railroad and now to the R.J. Corman Railroad/Central Kentucky Lines.
photo: www. bgrm.org