The Paducah & Louisville Railway (reporting mark PAL) is a Class II railroad that operates freight service between Paducah and Louisville, Kentucky. The line is located entirely within the state of Kentucky.
The 270-mile line was purchased from Illinois Central Gulf Railroad in August, 1986. The 223-mile main route runs between Paducah and Louisville with branch lines from Paducah to Kevil and Mayfield, Kentucky and another from Cecilia to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The PAL interchanges with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Canadian National (CN), formerly Illinois Central Railroad, in Paducah. In Madisonville, the line interchanges with CSX Transportation (CSXT). In Louisville, the line interchanges with the Indiana Rail Road (INRD), CSX Transportation (CSXT) and Norfolk Southern (NS). Class III line connections are at Princeton with the Fredonia Valley Railroad (FVRR) and at Louisville with the Louisville and Indiana Railroad (LIRC). The line today carries over 200,000 carloads of traffic on a CTC-controlled mainline with welded rail and even a section of double track nearly 20 miles long between Paducah and just east of Calvert City. This is a huge improvement from the little amount of traffic and poor condition the line was in by the time the ICG had sold it. It is today a big regional class II railroad connecting with 4 class I railroads (listed above), as well as the 3 shortline connections it makes which are also listed above. It has 270 route-miles of track, of which 233 miles of it are its mainline running between its namesake towns of Paducah and Louisville, as well as branch lines to Mayfield, Kevil, and Elizabethtown. The railroad serves "many chemical plants and other manufacturing companies, several coal mines, numerous clay and stone quarries, lumber and propane distributors, farm [including a few large grain elevators] and mine equipment suppliers, warehouses, transloads, bulk terminals, riverports, and one military base."
The parent company of the PAL, Four Rivers Transportation, Inc., also operates the Evansville Western Railway and the Appalachian and Ohio Railroad.