WATERTOWN, Wis. — Railroad crews on the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad are wrapping up the first phase of a track improvement project that will increase train speeds and beef up infrastructure between Madison and Watertown.
The three-year project, divided into three phases, looks to upgrade the short line route to Federal Railroad Administration Class II standards, which allows up to 286,000-pound cars and train speeds of up to 25 mph. Trains are currently limited to 10 mph speed restrictions, the Watertown Daily Times reports.
Phase one included the installation of 10,000 railroad ties and the addition of several at-grade rail crossings from Madison to Sun Prairie. The first phase will be complete once railroad workers surface the roadbed.
Project leaders are seeking bids for phase two of the project, which will replace another 10,500 ties from Sun Prairie to Waterloo, Wis. Several additional crossings will also be improved in the next phase of the project.
The final phase will replace another 11,000 ties from Waterloo to Dayton Street in Watertown. That work is scheduled to take place in 2018.
Another component of the project is expected to improve six railroad bridges on the route from Madison to Waterloo, specific plans have yet to be released.
Funding for the $7.6-million project is coming from State of Wisconsin and the railroad.
The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad is a Watco Co. railroad operating more than 800 miles of track in Wisconsin and Illinois. The railroad interchanges with all Class I railroads except for Kansas City Southern.