Map of Worley to Bell Farm line Worley to Bell Farm

McCreary County

14.2 miles

This line was constructed to serve the mines and lumber operations of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company around 1900. It is well suited for trail development because it is mostly within the property of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Big South Fork National River Recreation Area. It begins at a point near Worley. The south end of this section is part of the BSF Scenic Railway which brings trains from Stearns to Blue Heron, but there are rails on the ground until about a mile past Worley. It is unclear where the point of active use of the rails ends, but at Worley they are warped, buckled, and washed out so it is clear these are no longer maintained. The ownership of the right of way that contains rails is also unclear, though according to maps from the National Forest, it lies completely within the boundaries of the national recreation area. The actual tracks may be owned by the Kentucky & Tennessee RR, which runs the BSF scenic railway.

At Worley there are the remains of the coal processing facility, tipple, and conveyor bridge across the river. North of Worley there is at least one foundation visible from a former home or industrial building. Near the bridge at Yamacraw there are no longer rails on the ground (there are ties embedded in the grass for a while) but the right of way is clear and wide and appears to be mown regularly. The concrete bridge at Yamacraw was built in 1907 and is still in remarkably good condition. The span is ballasted and covered with grass -- there are no holes and it is safe to walk on, except for the lack of guard rails. West of the bridge, the condition is not as clear. Parts of it are grassy and run next to the road, while others are more overgrown and cross over to the other side of the creek from the road. It appears though that aside from some erosion, the bed is intact in these places. Just west of Yamacraw Bridge, there is a remaining concrete coaling tower or tipple structure.

Between White Oak Junction and Bell farm the line is used as a gravel auto road. While there is little opportunity for this to be converted to a dedicated non-motorized trail, it has very little traffic and would be well suited for hiking and biking and passes through some very scenic areas and along creeks. South of Bell Farm it appears that the line continues as a road through the National Forest and NRRA and connects with other hiking trails in the area. The line connects with the Sheltowee Trace trail near Yamacraw and passes near several amenities of the National Forest including several other trails, the coal camp museum Blue Heron, fishing and boating areas on the river, and campgrounds and horse camps.