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Business & Economics

Group Discusses Rail Service Discontinuance In Northwoods

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A section of rail line east of Rhinelander won't be seeing train traffic, but the rails will stay in place.

The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission met recently in Rhinelander. Commission Chair Andy Albarado says Canadian National gave notice to the federal Surface Transportation Board that they will be discontinuing service east of Rhinelander...

"....we went on record with the (Surface Transportation Board) acknowledging the discontinuance but getting assurances that they weren't going to pulling out the rails or ties. (Canadian National) responded saying that they weren't going to remove any of the assets, just not having service on that portion of track...."

The portion of track that will not see service is from the town of Bradley to Pembine in Marinette county. He says the organization is updating it's survey to provide rail lines with information about the number of businesses in the region that would consider using rail to haul their freight.

He says a number of places could ship by rail, but service to their location has ended...

"...this gives actual data that shippers throughout northern Wisconsin were contacted to be a part of the study to determine what they are shipping, how they're shipping it, what the volumes are, how many tons of freight that are being put on the road that could be on the rails..."

Albarado says forest products are an example of one business sector that could use more rail if it was offered. He thinks the survey will be concluded in about two months. The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission is composed of 22 counties from Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. They meet quarterly in Rhinelander. The group was formed to preserve and enhance freight rail service in the region.

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