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Wrapping up rail replacement
Wisconsin & Southern to install CWR by month’s end on Fox Lake Subdivision line so trains can boost speed
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) trains heading to Chicago soon will be moving a tad faster and carrying heavier freight cars.
This month, the 700-mile regional expects to complete a rail replacement project between Avalon and Walworth, Wis., that will enable the railroad to remove numerous slow orders, increase train speed to 25 mph or more and accommodate 286,000-pound cars.
Crews are installing 14 miles of 115-pound continuous-welded rail (CWR) on the line in the Fox Lake Subdivision, which handles more than 65,000 cars and about 6 million tons of freight annually.
The line is part of WSOR’s mainline corridor from Wisconsin to the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago’s Clearing Yard in Bedford Park, Ill., where WSOR interchanges most of its Chicago traffic with the Class Is. The regional provides daily train service between Janesville, Wis., and Chicago.
The rail replacement is the last phase of a larger project that included replacing more than 20,000 wood ties, reconstructing 12 grade crossings and upgrading six bridges.
WSOR will spend about $5.8 million this year on maintenance-of-way (MOW) projects. The regional spent $4.2 million last year on MOW.
Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the federal government and province of Manitoba will jointly provide $40 million to help fund upgrades to the Hudson Bay Railway Co.’s line between The Pas and Churchill, Manitoba.
OmniTRAX Inc. — which owns the 810-mile short line — agreed to provide $20 million for the line improvements. The track upgrades will help prevent derailments and maintenance disruptions on the line, which also is used by VIA Rail Canada Inc.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works last month awarded a 10-year contract to Massachusetts Coastal Railroad L.L.C. to operate state-owned freight-rail lines totaling 60 miles.
The contract includes options to extend the operating contract beyond 2018.
On Jan. 1, the railroad will begin operating the lines, which include a Middleboro-to-Hyannis segment; branches to Yarmouth and Falmouth; and routes into Taunton, North Dartmouth and Westport.