Our First 30 Years: 1980-2010

Preparations had been made. The Horicon depot received a new coat of paint. Three SD7 locomotives were leased from the Milwaukee Road. Two of them wore a fresh coat of green paint. The lettering on the side read something new: "WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN RAILROAD CO." At 7:00am on July 1, 1980, the new little road began operations on 147 miles of former Milwaukee Road track stretching from Milwaukee through Horicon to Oshkosh, Cambria, and Markesan. Shippers and local businessmen made it a reality through the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium. The state of Wisconsin stepped in to purchase the property and provide grants for purchase of the track. There were 139 customers in thirty communities throughout an eight-county area. 3,000 cars were delivered to customers by the end of the year. And so began the long journey toward 700 miles of trackage, nearly 200 customers, and 50,000 annual carloads. During 2010, we've observed the accomplishments of our first thirty years. Our new book is now available and we'll explore more of WSOR's history here on our website. Visit back soon.

WSOR 522 switches at Beaver Dam, WI on July 2, 1980. Bob Welke photo.