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NEWS STORIES

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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Thousands of people came out to benefit the fire department while having a good time. The fire department held the crowd favorite lawnmower races again this year.

They also had a volleyball tournament and games for kids. The fire chief says all the proceeds help the department pay for equipment.

"When we purchased our new fire truck, the fire department funded a good portion of the money, the fundraiser money, to help keep the tax dollars down so the tax payers didn't have to foot the whole bill for the truck," said Arbor Vitae Fire Department Chief Mike Van Meter. "And we also use it to buy turnout gear throughout the year, new air packs. Anything we can do to keep it off the tax roll."

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