WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
608/266-3581, [email protected]

Governor Scott Walker today congratulated Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) for rising to the challenge of re-establishing freight railroad service to its customers on the publicly-owned Madison–Prairie du Chien rail line.

The storms of late August resulted in more than $1.5 million in damages, leaving almost 100 separate washouts, two large mudslides, and thousands of feet of track damaged or underwater.

“Leaving companies stranded without the ability to get products to and from market efficiently was not an option,” said Secretary Dave Ross. “Congratulations to WSOR for their immediate mobilization of staff and contractors. By working around the clock, they made the necessary repairs to ensure the needs of industries located along this rail line are met.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) worked with WSOR to create an agreement, which allows WSOR to seek reimbursement for 80 percent of eligible costs, up to a maximum grant of $750,000. Receiving the grant money was contingent on restoring rail service between Madison and Arena by critical deadlines:

1. Service restored to customers in the Middleton Industrial Park by September 1, 2018.

2. Service restored to Mazomanie-based customers by September 8, 2018.

3. Repair all railroad track between Madison and Prairie du Chien by September 22, 2018.

Two of the three deadlines have been met. WSOR expects to complete all railroad track repairs between Madison and Prairie du Chien on or before the final deadline. WSOR may also apply for a railroad improvement loan to help fund the repairs.

So far, more than 22,000 tons of rock (1,100 dump trucks worth) has been delivered and used to reconstruct the embankments that support the railroad tracks. Additionally, 8,500 tons of ballast was used, 1,000 new ties have been laid, and 11 culvert pipes have been installed in five locations.

Railroad specialists from Holubar (Green Bay), E80 Plus (DeForest), Knapp (West Milwaukee), Volkmann (Milwaukee), Kraemer Brothers (Plain, WI), and Diversified Track (Geneseo, IL) have been hired to assist WSOR with the track and culvert repairs.

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