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gem icon Engine No. 4 [Suggest Edits]

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While the geologic history of Mammoth Caves is one of the major draws to the park, there is plenty of American history to enjoy while you’re there. Stopping by the old Engine No. 4 is a great way to take some time to appreciate the locomotive history in the area. Situated at the start of the Railroad Hike and Bike Trail, this is a great place to learn a bit more about the trail before heading out.

The rail lines between Louisville and Nashville opened in 1859, passing close to Mammoth Caves National Park. The line didn’t have a branch to the park, and visitors hoping to visit the caves had to disembark at a nearby station in Glasgow. At that time, the park was seeing 40,000 to 50,000 visitors annually, most of whom arrived via stagecoach. As more and more transportation options became available, visitors wanted a faster way to reach the Mammoth Caves. In 1886, a rail extension from Glasgow finally reached Mammoth Cave National Park. For many years, the railway brought thousands of visitors to the park annually, making access more convenient than stagecoach rides.

The advent of the automobile brought about the demise of the railroad, though it took 25 years from when the first car was driven into Mammoth Cave to when the railroad finished its last run. Today, visitors can enjoy the locomotive history of the park, and can admire locomotive No. 4, one of the last remaining cars from this historic railway.

Short Walk: The historic engine is stationed outside of the main visitor center.

Gem Type: Historic Site

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on May 25, 2017. All Page Views: 787. Last Month: 5.