The Tennessee state legislature chartered the Edgefield & Kentucky Railroad on Feb. 13, 1852, to build a line between Edgefield Junction near Nashville, Tennessee, and the Tennessee-Kentucky state line (Guthrie, Kentucky). The railroad completed its line toward the end of 1859. It consolidated with the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad, chartered in 1867, in 1871. In 1879, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad purchased the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville.
The genesis for the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad dates to the late 1860s and 1870s. The railroad formally emerged after merging three lines: the Mobile, Clarksville & Evansville Railroad, the Princeton & Ohio River Railroad and another company named the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad. The railroad was unable to raise the capital needed to build much of a railroad and completed only about 30 miles of narrow gauge line between Clarksville, Tennessee, and Gracey, Kentucky, by 1886, when the Louisville & Nashville purchased the line. The Louisville & Nashville subsequently broadened the railroad to standard gauge and abandoned the route in May 1933.
The Paducah, Tennessee & Alabama was created following a July 1889 consolidation of several earlier companies. However, by the end of October 1893, a federal judge appointed a receiver for the road following a lawsuit filed by creditors in St. Louis. The move made it a prime candidate for a takeover. In October 1895, J.W. Phillips of St. Louis purchased the company for $1 million. He also secured the Tennessee Midland with the intent of merging the lines into a single company. It was soon revealed the Louisville & Nashville was behind the acquisition. The owner resold the companies to the Louisville & Nashville on December 14, 1895.