Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Dave Ross joined a group of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) employees recently for a tour of the railroad.
According to a post on Watco Companies’ website, this was the first visit of Sec. Ross to the railroad since he was appointed to his position in January 2017. Sec. Ross joined a team of WSOR employees as they inspected rail infrastructure between Madison and McFarland, comparing jointed rail with modernized continuous welded rail and viewing a recently rehabilitated Madison Subdivision along with a portion of the Reedburg Subdivision, which is scheduled to undergo a similar rehab project.
WSOR noted that during the 90-minute trip, WSOR Trainmaster Tyler Crawford and Conductor Alex Blum discussed railroad crossing safety, trespassing, the WSOR’s service plan and customer base in the greater Madison area with the secretary.
“The WSOR is grateful for our partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and is looking forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead,” said Ken Lucht, WSOR assistant vice president of government and industry relations. “We thank Secretary Ross for his strong support for freight rail and economic development here in the state of Wisconsin.”
Earlier this month, WSOR was awarded a $4.5-million state grant for the reconstruction of bridge B-316. WSOR explains that the 1,107-foot-long bridge will be the railroad’s third major structure spanning the Wisconsin River. In addition to the grant, WisDOT will provide a $564,730 loan for the project and WSOR will match the loan to cover the remaining project costs.
WisDOT cited the project as “necessary to improve the safety and operational efficiency of the Prairie du Chien to Madison rail line and reduce maintenance costs,” as well as being important to sustaining economic growth in the area.
Between the state’s financial backing of the project and the visit from the transportation secretary, WSOR says November was “a very good month.”