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Off the abandonment list: Wisconsin purchases CN line to preserve rail service


A 37-mile line slated for abandonment in Wisconsin won't be mothballed after all. Last week, the state of Wisconsin purchased the Saukville-to-Kiel line from Canadian National Railway Co. for $1.9 million. Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) — which opposed CN's abandonment plans — will operate the line.

In June 2004, CN filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board to abandon the line. The board approved the application in October.

However, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) held several public meetings at which numerous business owners and elected officials from municipalities along the track expressed concerns about losing the line. WisDOT also conducted an economic impact study that showed seven shippers using the line provide 145 jobs with an estimated payroll of $5.8 million.

"Preservation of this rail corridor is important to the continued economic growth of businesses and communities throughout the Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc county regions," said Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in a prepared statement.

To purchase the line, the state used funds from WisDOT's Freight Railroad Preservation Program, which enables the state to buy abandoned or slated-for-abandonment lines to preserve rail service. WSOR and several shippers along the line provided some funds toward the purchase.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/18/2005