Northwoods rail system could see possible upgrade Submitted: 07/30/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - Manufacturing businesses still use freight trains to bring in products.

It's easier to use a freight train than a truck to bring those products in.

But the rail system needs to be fixed.

The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission wants to improve the area's rail system.

It can be a more economical way for businesses to transport products.

Governor Walker recently signed a law to help the Freight Railroad Preservation Program.

They need more than 1000 surveys from different businesses in the Northwoods.

They've already conducted surveys, but they need more so they can finalize their report for the fall.

"It would be a very difficult selling proposition on our behalf if we don't have the numbers, obviously it's not going to work," said Oneida County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, Roger Luce.

"No one would invest millions and millions of dollars into the rail system right now."

One mile of new rail cost about more than a million dollars.

Most of the products shipped to the Northwoods by rail are coming in from the south and east.

But they have to go a different route because a piece of rail line west of Rhinelander is out of service.

"So if you're bringing a product from the forest of the upper Peninsula and you want to get it down to Wisconsin Rapids or down to the Rothchild Mill, it's a big mess, it's going to take you quite a bit longer." Luce said.

They have two months to get those surveys from different businesses.

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