Ludington to North Epworth

The Ludington Northern Railroad

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

(Forwarded from the Ludington & Northern Railway)

Showing of

Looking south towards the Pere Marquette/C&O/CSX yards in Ludington. The wheelstops in the foreground represent the end of trackage. Photo by Jeremy Harris, October 2009.

This railroad, also known as the Ludington & Northern Railway, was built in 1896 as the Epworth League Railway, and ran for two miles between Ludington and Epworth. It joined with the Ludington Division of the Pere Marquette Railway, a subsidiary of the Chesepeake & Ohio, just southeast of Ludington proper. In 1901, it became the Ludington Northern.

Its main commodity was sand: The Sargent Sand Company operated numerous sand mines north of Epworth, near Ludington State Park, to which the Ludington Northern provided shipping service. The sand company soon purchased the Ludington Northern outright, and extended the line northwards to access other sand mines within Ludington State Park.

The entire line was abandoned in 1982, after Sargent Sand discontinued mining operations in the area. The C&O line to which it connected is still active today, however, operated by CSX.

Also featured in this page is the abandoned Pere Marquette/C&O line that offered access to Lake Michigan from the Ludington Yard. This abandoned extension, about 3/4-miles in length, ran west from the yard, past the Ludington Passenger Station, to the dock on Lake Michigan, where the SS Badger would ferry the rail cars across the great lake to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on the other side.

I worked on the ludington northen railroad from 1969 to 1981 i worked on the section crew and later on the derailment crew also filled in as a switchman on the engine.Leon Tenny was the engineer at the time.othier that work there were joe tibal skip shoemate vern collins Isadore Hernandez.kenny Bates Jack hallberg.camilo Gonzales was the forman

Joe A Hernandez
Ludington, MI


I remember that rail line from when I was a young kid, My Grandfathers house was next to the tracks. In fact the tracks were right next to his big garden. The train would stop at his garden and flip the switch to go to the great lakes foundry across the street to get particular day my cousin and I were in the garden when the train stopped and as they did their business someone asked if we would like to go for a train ride. I remember it was someones birhtday so we sang happy birthday and got a stick of gum. Great memories,if only my kids could have had things like that happen for them.

Steven Kella
Muskegon, MI


My dad, Don Jackson worked for the Ludington and Northern Railway from 1938 to 1970 and was the Superintendent of Operations and Maintenance of Way from the 1940's to his retirement in early 1970. I worked on the section crew in the summers of 1956 and 1957 during my college years. I had many rides on steam Engines 27 and 28 and operated diesel Engine 16 (Bought new in 1952)on a couple of occasions. I have a picture of the first load of sand hauled in July 1937 which includes the owners of the railroad (including Ford Sargent) and the train crew. (Mac Laird engineer) I also have pictures of steam engine 28 and other historical information on the L&N if anyone is interested.

Vic Jackson
Okemos, MI


I'd love to correspond with anyone that has more information and more importantly photos of the LUN.

Feel free to email me at


Bob Teusink

Bob Teusink
Milkwaukee, WI


I would like to connect with Vic Jackson as I'm doing some research on #16 sand train and knew his father, Don, when I was a youngster. My Uncle Vern Lorentz was an engineer on #16 and I had many rides when we came on vacation in the summer. We live in Phoenix but summer in Ludington in my parents old house in 4th Ward.

Brian Johnson
Ludington, MI


Sorry, I forgot to give my email address:


Brian Johnson
Ludington, MI


My father-in-law was Water Davis, long time manager of Sargent Sand Co. in Ludington. My wife may have some information, though not too many pictures for those interested. I have an article from an unknown newspaper (it may be Ludington Daily news) about all of the engines used by the L&N. It lists all by number and has a picture of #18 with Vern Lorentz in the cab. I also have pictures of some cars and equipment used at Sargent Sand.

Jim Hubbard
Gaithersburg, MD


Do you have a new email address? i tried to send you a photo that I found in my family pictures of a town I cannot place. It has a photo of a L & N train in the photo and the homes look is probably a 80-100 years old.

Harrison, MI


Just a question. I owned a small house in the path of this line. I was told that at one time it was a Rail Road Station. Which by its odd floor plan makes it impractical as a house or rather small cabin. The house now is just to the south of South bayou.

Patrick Karp


My grandfather was Leon Tenney, engineer for L&N from 1953?-1982. I would like to contact anyone who knew him, he died when i was a baby, and I'm kind of the family historian. I have a lot of info about his WW2 service but not much on his railroad days.

please email me

Jake Tenney
Custer, MI


I am curious as to why you say the name was changed to "Ludington Northern". The diesel shown in one of the pictures, taken in 1953, shows the name "Ludington & Northern", which was what it was called. Also, where did "North Epworth" come from? The name was - and is - Epworth Heights. Additionally, on one of the photo captions, US 10 / Ludington Avenue is labeled as "Route 70". Interesting article, but have to wonder at the accuracy of the research... I lived adjacent to the train tracks just off Lincoln Lake (next door to Don Jackson) and remember the steam engine plus the "new" diesel engine. Used to put pennies on the track for the train to flatten.

Nancy Keith
Ludington, MI


I remember the L&N well. would like to contact Vic Jackson-- we were in high school together.

Maurice Bailey
Ludington , MI


Rail car ferry service ended in 1991 with the final years of cars crossing from Ludington to Kewaunee WI. All the rails near the ferry docks in Manitowoc and Kewaunee are gone. Looks like I have some future projects.

DePere, WI


I would like to correspond with anyone that is a fan of the ludington & northern railway. when i and my family camped at ludington state park summer 1968, we got plenty of chances watching LUN SW8 #16 pull hoppers of sand down the line. shame its gone now, would have made for interesting excursion train ride.

Larry Lewis Jr
Bay City, MI


Apparently the first owner of our house, at 112 N. Emily St. James L. Murray, had a son, Colonel Max S. Murray who worked as a conductor for three years on this train. He graduated from West Point Military in 1911, so it likely would have been before that. He was born August 19, 1885.

Ludington, MI


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Do you have any pictures or information about The Ludington Northern Railroad? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.