Rail line project moving forward smartly

IT’S TRACKS AHEAD AT full speed for the restoration of the Plymouth to Sheboygan Falls rail line – and that’s good news.

Local stakeholders – business leaders and government officials, primarily – were updated last week on the progress the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad is making restoring the long-dormant 11- mile line.

The report was that work should be completed by mid- to late-summer next year, meaning trains should be rolling over the line by next fall at the latest.

That will be a welcome sound for companies like Bemis Manufacturing in Sheboygan Falls that have been scrambling to bring in needed raw materials since the Union Pacific Railroad abruptly halted service to Sheboygan Falls through Sheboygan nearly a decade ago.

The Wisconsin and Southern stepped into the breach, bringing the railcars over their line to Plymouth where they were offloaded and trucked to Bemis’ Sheboygan Falls plant. But that was only a temporary measure and not a cost-effective long-term solution.

So a coalition of state and local governments, businesses and the WSOR came together to bring the rail line from Plymouth to Sheboygan Falls back in business.

That $19.1 million effort will be completed next year, and it will mean more than just a lifesaver for Bemis.

It will bring with it the potential for many new industries in wideopen industrial parks in Plymouth and Sheboygan

Falls who can take advantage of the economies offered by rail service to bring needed new jobs to our area.

It’s been a challenge getting the rail line back in service after decades of dormancy and neglect. But WSOR and its partners have done a great job thus far, working with the communities and residents along the way to ease the process as much as possible.

The reactivation of the line will require readjustments for all of us and will take some getting used to, especially for those living closest to the rails.

But railroads have been part of the American way of life – and business – for more than a century and a half, to the benefit of all.

And it should be remembered that this will be a short spur line, which means a limited number of shorter trains running at far less than full speed – not a busy mainline with long, disruptive trains traveling at high speeds.

Rail service restoration in other parts of the state and across the country have time and again spurred growth and economic development. WSOR has an enviable record of bringing such growth and development to many different parts of Wisconsin.

It should be no different in Plymouth, Sheboygan Falls and Sheboygan County when trains start running again along WSOR’s Sheboygan Falls subdivision next year.

At issue:
Plymouth-Falls rail line
Bottom line:
Back in service in a year

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