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Commission Leader Says Discussions In Works To Keep Northern Rail Service

Pixabay.com manfredrichter

Nearly two dozen northern Wisconsin and U.P. counties and others have been meeting since 2012 to make sure freight rail service continues in this region.

Northwoods Rail Transit Commission temporay chair Dale Kupczyk of Ashland says there's some quiet negotiations going on that could be productive. The commission began in Wisconsin with counties fearing Canadian National rail service in the area would be abandoned, leaving businesses with a problem getting or shipping goods. Canadian National would like to abandon tracks between Rhinelander and Goodman and another stretch from Park Falls to Ashland.

Kupczyk says the state is interested in keeping rail service in this region and has been talking to Canadian National...

"..so the (Department of Transportation) is working with CN on that. We're just sitting back, waiting for the DOT to do that. They met with (CN) back on June 15. I'm not sure where it went from there. There are certain things we can't talk about at this point..."

Kupczyk says they've also had some other companies who replied concerning operating the two lines. He says the DOT is studying the feasibility of keeping freight rail in this region. He says one complication is the recent Verso Papers announcement closing plants in Wisconsin Rapids and Duluth.

He says a short-line service could do well in the region, perhaps with limited service. He wants to keep the commission together to make sure local communities are served.

We have a link to a webpage here.

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