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Depot at Fulton

Hickman - Obion Railroad  -  1853-54
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   Hickman, Kentucky, located about 13 miles down the Mississippi from Columbus, also wanted a railroad. Hence, the Hickman & Obion was incorporated, 1853-54, to build a line from Hickman to some point in Tennessee to connect to the then-building M&O, or the Nashville & Northwestern. After the grading between Hickman and Union City, Tennessee, was essentially complete, the property was sold to the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, which railed the line and opened it to traffic before 1860.  It was not until 1887 that the entire route from Nashville to Hickman was finished. On November 10, 1871, the Nashville & Northwestern was sold to the Nashville & Chattanooga. The Nashville & Chattanooga changed its name to the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, legally effective May 30, 1873, with a major portion of its traffic channeled over the Mobile & Ohio between Union City and Columbus. As a result, the Union City to Hickman segment became relegated to the status of a local branch, a category from which it never emerged.
   Nevertheless, a schedule of two daily passenger round trips between Hickman and Paducah via Bruceton, remained in effect for many years. A daily except Sunday local freight between Hickman and Martin, Tennessee, also added traffic to the line. For a time in the twenties, the local freight also carried passengers, giving Hickman citizens considerable latitude in their choice of schedules.
   As originally built, the line entered Hickman from the eas, running along and descending the river bluff. High water frequently got over the rtacks and into the one business street under the bluff, and often trains would come into Hickman axle deep in water. Furhtermore, after the floords went down, the bluff just above the town and the steep slope occupied by the railroad would slip.
   It was decided in 1911 to make a new entrance into Hickman. This route left the old line at Ryan, circled the town to the east, south and west, thus gaining the name "Belt Line". Then on April 22, 1926, the Mississippi River invaded the levee at West Hickman, and the main track of the railroad was broken again. It was necessary to relocateand rebuild the tracks around the loop created by the leveee, involving the installing of 1498' of new track and 705' of new north leg wye track.
   With the coming of the gasoline competition, the only substantial buriness in the Hickman-Union City segment remaining was that of the Mengel Company's Hickman plant, and when it burned in October 1942, business on the branch took a decided nose-dive. After a number of postponements, permission to abandon the line was granted October 3, 1951, as of 12:01 am, Monday October 15. The line was abandoned on that date with the arrival of trains 5 and 28 at Union City.
   This article was taken from "Ghost Railroads of Kentucky" by Elmer G. Sulzer, page 163 - Indiana University Press.
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Host Don Livingston