A group hoping to preserve or even expand freight rail service has been gathering information to present to the last rail line in the region that there is business here that needs freight service.
The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission has 19 counties from northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. Canadian National is the rail line the group is working with to keep the freight lines going in this region.
Wendy Gelhoff from Florence county is the Northwoods Rail chairperson. She says they've been working to show Canadian National the numbers...
"....they worked hard with (Canadian National) on a template that has all the right questions in all the right format and is the correct units that will mean something to CN as far as specific freight data...."
Gelhoff says their actions are designed to show the company the value of staying in this region...
".....and also prove to CN that there is more freight available out there than they think there is...I guess we need to help them find the markets because they don't seem to put a lot of effort into finding them themselves...."
Economic leaders fear the loss of freight rail service would have a destructive effect on rural economies, already under stress from a slow recovery to the recession. Several Northwoods counties rely on freight service and they say the loss of service would be difficult to cost-effectively replace. Forest products producers are among those groups hoping to use more rail service.
The Commission meets monthly in Rhinelander.