High water, washouts plague Wisconsin railroads

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BNSFwashout1
BNSF crews work to fix a washout near La Crosse, Wis.
Jim Matuska
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Both BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific are dealing with washouts in western Wisconsin on Wednesday following heavy rains that have fallen across the state.

BNSF is advising customers of a washout near La Crosse, reported to the railroad at 2:16 a.m. on Tuesday. There is no estimate for when the line might reopen. The former Burlington Northern route connects Chicago with the Twin Cities.

"CP crews worked diligently through the night to restore the rail corridor near Mauston back to safe operation and re-opened the rail line to traffic at a reduced speed at approximately 10 a.m. local time today," spokesman Andy Cummings tells Trains News Wire. "During the outage, CP communicated directly with Amtrak and our freight customers impacted by this unforeseen weather event.

"CP appreciates passengers’ patience throughout this event, which included a downpour of between 5 and 7 inches of rain, and also shut down highways in the vicinity."

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the passenger carrier expects today's westbound Empire Builder will depart Chicago on its normal route, "subject to delays," with a make-up set of equipment.

"Both Amtrak Empire Builder trains that were delayed in Central Wisconsin have resumed their journeys: east to Chicago and west to Seattle and Portland. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the work by CP to restore the route used by these daily trains," Magliari says.

Earlier this month, Wisconsin & Southern suffered multiple track outages around its network, including one 5,000-foot washout on its Madison to Prairie du Chien line.

–This story was updated at 3 p.m. to reflect updated information from Amtrak and Canadian Pacific.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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