Canadian National

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A northern Wisconsin legislator says the debate over the state Transportation budget puts a focus on some recent decisions and getting wood products to market from the Northwoods.

State Senator Janet Bewley, whose district includes parts of Vilas, Iron and Price counties, attended the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission meeting in Rhinelander Friday. The Commission has been working to find ways to get the forest products industry, and other businesses, to use more rail with a fear that freight rail service in northern Wisconsin and the U.P. could be gone.

The need for freight rail service to keep the Northwoods economy was driven home this week to the state Secretary overseeing the service.

Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb heard from local officials about the possible interruption in freight rail service through Rhinelander. County Economic Development Director Roger Luce showed an aerial map of several businesses on Highway 8 west that depend on rail service.

Later, Gottlieb said 'freight rail is always a challenge', but they're putting together a plan to keep service viable...

The state's top Transportation official says there isn't much the state can do when private firms decide to abandon rail line.

Secretary Mark Gottlieb was asked by members of the Northwooods Rail Transit Commission meeting in Rhinelander Friday to outline what can be done to halt, for example, the abandonment of the Canadian National railway line between Crandon and Argonne. He says since the railroads were deregulated, it becomes a private business choice...

Several northern Wisconsin and Michigan counties are working on a grant to buy rail cars to lure more rail business in the region.

Wendy Gehlhoff from Florence county chairs the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.

The group has been meeting quarterly to keep rail service viable in the region. Canadian National provides service in this region.

She says one approach is to buy rail cars to haul logs, called the Great Lakes Log Car Fleet...


Canadian National Rail Strike Averted

Feb 6, 2014

Wisconsin farmers, loggers, and factories have avoided what could have been a major disruption in their operations. Many of them use the Canadian National Railroad, which faced a possible strike this weekend until Canada's government put the clamps on it. A union that represents three-thousand conductors, train workers, and rail-yard employees issued a strike notice early yesterday, after they rejected a tentative pact from last fall. Late yesterday, a new three-year contract agreement was announced.

An Upper Peninsula college professor says communication breakdowns between business and the railroads is hurting commerce in northern Wisconsin and the U.P.

The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission met last week in Rhinelander. The group is composed of 11 Wisconsin counties and two from the U.P., trying to increase rail use in the region.

Three Michigan counties have joined the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission, Wisconsin's largest Rail Transit group.

Iron, Ontonagon and Dickinson counties join 12 central and northern Wisconsin counties to promote more rail service here. Canadian National provides the service.

Wendy Gehlhoff from Florence County is the group's chairperson....