Railroad:  AuSable & Northwestern Railroad

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     The AuSable and Northwestern Railroad was primarily a logging route, which also ran passenger or mixed trains between the towns in the northeastern region of Michigan's lower penninsula.  The railroad was first built from the Potts Lumber and Salt Company headquarters in Potts (along the AuSable River, 12 miles east of Mio) northeast to Russell, in Alcona County.  The railroad was originally narrow gauge [3 foot].  The company overextended itself late in the century when it tried to built a line from Potts to AuSable on Lake Huron.  The railroad was purchased by the Loud Lumber Company and the name of Potts was changed to McKinley, in honor of the United States President.  McKinley continued to be the AS&NW hub until the many of the railroad facilities burned.  The Loud company picked up what was remaining and moved to Comins in northeast Oscoda County, which was known as "The End of the Line", because it was the farthest inland passenger stop.  Only logging branches went further.  The AS&NW was sold to the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad around 1910 and became the AS&NW branch of the D&M.  The gauge of the main line and some branches was changed to standard gauge at that time.  The AS&NW branch was completely abandoned during the depression.



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