Ashland, KY (AKY)
Customers board on the platform across from the city's transportation center, which occupies a rehabbed 1906 Chesapeake & Ohio Railway freight depot that also includes a popular events space.
99 15th Street
Ashland, KY 41101
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2021): 1,165
- Facility Ownership: City of Ashland
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Ashland
- Platform Ownership: City of Ashland
- Track Ownership: CSX Transportation
Customers at Ashland use a shelter on the platform across from the city’s transportation center, which was built in 1906 as a freight depot for the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway. In 1997, the city of Ashland purchased the depot and restored it using $525,000 in federal funds from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act (ISTEA) of 1991. The transportation center is served by long-distance buses and local buses, and includes a waiting room, restrooms and an events space that can be rented. The facility is not open when the Cardinal makes its early morning and late evening stops.
The original C&O station, a spacious and classic multi-story brick structure with a porticoed entrance and large arched windows, was completed in 1925 and stands a few blocks away. It now houses a bank; some of its passenger canopy has been preserved, and a former passenger car still sits on the bank lot. Amtrak stopped at this facility from 1971 until 1975, when a pending change to the rail alignment caused Amtrak to move five miles south from Ashland to Catlettsburg. Amtrak relocated to the site of the Ashland Transportation Center on March 11, 1998, and the Catlettsburg station was then closed.
The Scots-Irish Poage family migrated from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia through the Cumberland Gap in 1786, where the present-day states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet. They continued northward to the Ohio River, where they settled and founded Poage’s Landing. The community remained mostly an extended-family community until 1854, when Levi Hampton, one of the founders of the new Kentucky Iron, Coal and Manufacturing Company, suggested changing the town’s name to “Ashland.”
By this time, the town was beginning to become industrialized, and Hampton, an admirer of Henry Clay and his Lexington home, Ashland, requested that the town be renamed in Clay’s honor. The company laid out the town at that time. Other notable employers in the town by the beginning of the 20th century were Armco, Ashland Oil and Refining Company, the C&O Railroad, Allied Chemical and Dye Company’s Semet Solvay Division and Mansbach Steel.
Today, Ashland, Catlettsburg and Huntington form a metropolitan area. With the fourth-largest hospital in Kentucky in Ashland, its economy has diversified from manufacturing and steel.
The spring of 1994 saw the winding miles of Kentucky Highway 23 designated by the Kentucky Assembly as the Country Music Highway, in recognition of the large amount of musical talent that originated in those deep green hills and coal mining and steel towns along the route. Ashland is a significant stop along this route, as the hometown of stars Wynonna, Naomi and Ashley Judd; Billy Ray Cyrus and other notables of the country music industry.
One of the reasons Ashland continues to be a regional arts center is the historic Paramount Arts Center, a few blocks from the train station. On September 5, 1931, the Paramount Theater opened in Ashland, showing the first “talking” movie in the area—ironically titled, “Silence.” This large, beautifully-appointed Egyptian-themed Art Deco movie palace, which can seat over 1,000, remained a premiere cinema in this portion of the Ohio Valley until 1972.
The Foundation for the Tri-State Community formed in that year to re-open the Paramount as the Ashland Performing Arts Center (as it was called at first). Since then, the theater has been restored and renovated several times, preserving this historic structure. The theater has seen many live performances since then, being in almost continual use since its re-opening. A wide variety of performers have played there, including theater, ballet, symphonies, comedy, and popular music, from the Moscow Ballet to the Neville Brothers.
Ashland has another much quieter and more ancient heritage, as well: Ashland’s Central Park downtown holds six Adena Indian burial mounds, dating from 800 B.C. to 800 A.D. Visitors can learn more about the community’s rich past by visiting the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center located in an historic former department store. Exhibits include a 19th century classroom, an exploration of regional music and an interactive zone for kids.
Platform with Shelter
- ATM not available
- No elevator
- No payphones
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- Vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- No payphones
- Accessible platform
- Accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- Accessible waiting room
- Accessible water fountain
- Same-day, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- Wheelchair lift available