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Railroads have been an integral part of Wisconsin’s transportation system and economy since 1847, when the state’s first rail service was introduced.
Today, 13 freight railroads operate on a system of approximately 3,330 route miles across Wisconsin. Combined, they move approximately 162 million tons of freight each year. The annual value of that freight is nearly $122 billion.
Amtrak operates two passenger train routes in Wisconsin. The long-distance Empire Builder, operating from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, provides one round-trip daily and makes six Wisconsin stops. The state-operated Hiawatha Service, in partnership with the State of Illinois, carries more than 820,000 passengers annually, on seven daily round-trips between Chicago-Milwaukee. It is the busiest Amtrak corridor in the Midwest.
In addition to supporting passenger and freight rail activities in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation works to improve safety at over 4,400 public highway-rail grade crossings.
- Programs for Local Government (includes programs that can assist railroads, other businesses and groups): freight rail infrastructure improvement program, freight rail preservation program and railroad crossing improvements.
- WisDOT Freight Rail Conference
- Plans & Projects: rail projects, plans and studies
- Safety: highway-rail grade crossing safety
- State railroads & harbors map
- Travel: passenger and freight rail services, park and ride lots
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Last modified: February 4, 2014
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