the 1870's, officials of the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific
Railroad began looking for a route through Northern Kentucky to Cincinnati.
The City of Covington was the obvious choice because of its size and
influence in the region. Ludlow, however, was also being considered.
The Ludlow family decided to provide a right-of-way through their property
near Traverse Street to the railroad if they would locate in the city.
Railroad officials quickly accepted the offer.
In general, the citizens of Ludlow also welcomed the railroad. For a
number of years, Ludlow residents were forced to rely on ferry service
to travel to Cincinnati. The ferry operator did not keep a reliable
schedule and he often charged high fares. Ludlow residents looked forward
to the construction of a railroad bridge with footpath that would link
their city to Cincinnati.
In 1877, the railroad officially opened the bridge linking Ludlow to
Cincinnati. To the great disappointment of Ludlow residents, a footpath
was not constructed. The citizens eventually passed a bond issue to
construct a footpath in 1885. As soon as the path was completed, the
ferry operator reduced his prices. This footpath was used for decades
by Ludlow residents. It was a particularly useful when residents attended
Reds baseball games at old Crosley Field.
The railroad has gone been several names during its history. A various
times it was called the Cincinnati Southern Railroad; the Cincinnati,
New Orleans & Texas Pacific Railroad; and the Queen and Crescent
The railroad changed Ludlow from a rural town of well-to-do residents
to a working class city. The railroad employed hundreds of local workers.
In addition, many factories and other business concerns located in Ludlow
to take advantage of the new railroad service. Ludlow had a population
of 817 in 1870. By 1890, the population had increased to 2,469. Many
of these newcomers were Irish and German immigrants.
Eventually, the railroad constructed a large roundhouse and repair shop
in Ludlow. The railroad also attracted the Pullman Company, which constructed
a large car repair shop in 1893. By the turn of the century, over 500
men were employed directly by the railroad; several hundred others were
employed in railroad related industries and businesses.
The railroad provided residents of the city with a good standard of
living and reliable incomes. The dominance of the railroad in Ludlow
also had a negative impact on the city. The economy of Ludlow relied
on the railroad. When railroad traffic slowed, so did the Ludlow economy.
Railroad strikes played havoc on economic health of the town. The Pullman
Strike of 1894 nearly crippled the city (See Also: Railroad
Strike 1894). The Great Depression also forced many Ludlow residents
from their jobs with the railroad. At this time, several railroad operations
were moved to Atlanta.
In the years following the Second World War, railroads throughout the
United States began experiencing a loss of business. Long-haul trucking
companies were gradually replacing railroads as the preferred method
of transporting goods and materials. Eventually, Ludlow's roundhouse
and repair shops were closed.
The Southern Railroad announced the discontinuance of passenger arrivals
and departures from the Ludlow Deport in 1968. Eventually, the depot
was demolished, ending a near century of railroad service to the people
Today, Norfolk Southern Railroad employs only a few residents of the
city. However, the Ludlow yards continue to house the main engine terminal
for Cincinnati area.
See Also: Railroad Strike 1894
News Enterprise, February 8, 1968, p. 1; Ludlow Centennial Souvenir
Program, 1864-1964, p. 14.