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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Wisconsin & Southern calls on feds, state to provide funds for 'shovel-ready' projects


The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) is promoting a plan to federal and state lawmakers that calls for soliciting about $90 million in government funds for “shovel-ready” projects designed to upgrade state-and county-owned rail infrastructure to 286,000-pound-capacity standards. Currently, only about 12 percent of the more than 600 miles of track used by WSOR is 286k compatible, with the remainder restricted to speed limits of 10 mph.

WSOR proposes to upgrade 90 miles of track to increase track speeds from 10 mph to at least 25 mph. The improvements would include the installation of new wood ties, continuous-welded rail and ballast, and reconstruction of bridges. Work would be divided into the following three concurrent phases: between Madison and Whitewater (45 miles); between Slinger and Milwaukee (24 miles); and between Brodhead and Avalon (21 miles). WSOR estimates that workforces and materials could be staged in about 30 days, and new welded rail could be obtained in about 90 days.

The projects would create more than 100 direct jobs in Wisconsin, and some of the materials could be supplied in the state, such as 60,000 ties and 85,000 tons of ballast, WSOR officials said in a news item posted on the regional’s Web site.

“This plan will assist local efforts in creating/retaining jobs right here in Wisconsin,” said WSOR President Bill Gardner.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/25/2010