There were two reasons for the arrival of the railroads. The first was to provide passenger and freight connection between Central Kentucky and Ashland Kentucky where connections were made for points mostly east and north. Until the advent of the railroad, commerce in Morehead and surrounding areas was slow. It took weeks, sometimes months to get products from and to nearby towns. Likewise travel for individuals was nearly non-existent. A simple trip to nearby Farmers (about five miles) was an all day trek along cow paths and the fording of creeks.
The second reason, of more immediate local importance, was transportation of timber and lumber. Before the turn of the 20th century the virgin growth forest produced trees six, eight, even ten feet in diameter. Logging and the sawmill industry were crucial to the early economic development of Rowan county. Roads were either non existent or so crude as to be impassable. It became the task of the railroads to bring the logs from the forests to the sawmills and then, once sawn, to haul them to lumber markets around the country.
The impact of the railroads cannot be overestimated in terms of the opening of both commerce and individual travel to Rowan County.