2007 Welded Rail

Welded rail is distributed from a special half-mile-long welded rail train at Bardwell, between Avalon and Walworth. WSOR photo.

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad crews are near completion of installing 14 miles of new 115 pound continuous welded rail in our continuing efforts to rebuild the railroad system for 286,000 lb. standards. WSOR’s 2007 Welded Rail Program included the installation of welded rail between Avalon and Walworth, Wisconsin, on WSOR’s Fox Lake Subdivision in Rock and Walworth Counties. This project included the removal of defective, aged, and lightweight rail that was no longer sustainable for today’s carloads and tonnages. Annually, the Fox Lake Subdivision carries over 65,000 cars and nearly 6,000,000 tons of freight, and these numbers continue to grow as Wisconsin’s economy grows stronger.

Super Trucks unload new tie plates for the heavier welded rail at Avalon Siding. The plates (seen below with old rail and ties) are larger to fit the new heavier rail. Paul Swanson photos.

Beginning at Walworth, the WSOR installed 14 miles of welded rail heading toward Avalon, Wisconsin. This area, in a much greater scope, represents our mainline corridor from Wisconsin to the Belt Railway of Chicago, where most of our Chicago traffic is interchanged with Class I Railroads. WSOR’s operating plan includes daily service between Janesville and Chicago, including three day per week service between Bardwell and Elkhorn, WI. This rail project was the last phase of a larger project which included replacing over 20,000 ties, reconstructing 12 public rail/highway crossings, and upgrading 6 rail bridges. With completion of this project, WSOR will be able to remove numerous slow orders and increase track speed to 25 mph or more.

Installing welded rail is a critical part of any capital upgrade program in the railroad industry. Welded rail allows for years of reduced maintenanc
e costs and makes the track compliant with larger 286,000 pound rail cars that are now the industry standard. This project could not have been accomplished without the support of the State of Wisconsin and 17 southern Wisconsin counties who regard the publicly-owned railroad system as critical to the growth of state and local economies.