CN begins construction of western Wisconsin auto facility

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NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – Canadian National subsidiary Wisconsin Central has begun construction on a new AutoPort automobile processing and transshipment facility just west of New Richmond along its former Soo Line/WC Minneapolis Subdivision. The facility will serve as an unloading site for vehicles, which will then be trucked to dealers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

The 58-acre site is being developed with an asphalt pad to allow for unloading of auto rack cars. A trackmobile will handle switching the automobile carriers. The facility will operate Monday through Friday. CN estimates it could receive up to 40 rail cars per day allowing it to process about 100,000 autos annually. Vehicles will be transferred to truck auto carriers; there could be about 80 truck trips in and out of the AutoPort daily.

The new facility offers an uptick in business along the Minneapolis Sub, which has seen traffic declines since CN took over the route from Wisconsin Central in 2001. Under WC control, the line saw coal and coke trains, served a canning plant in New Richmond, and pulpwood was loaded a few miles west in Somerset. All this traffic is now gone. The line is served by only three trains: L516/L517 between Stevens Point and Minneapolis, and a local out of Chippewa Falls. CN says the auto traffic will move on these existing trains. The AutoPort will be operational in June 2020. According to CN, the facility will create 10-12 new jobs, which the railroad will market locally.

The Minneapolis Subdivision consists of 124 miles of track between Owen, the junction with the Superior Subdivision, and Withrow, Minn., where it connects to Canadian Pacific’s Withrow Subdivision into Minneapolis. It was once part of Soo Line’s Chicago – Minneapolis main line. It was sold to Wisconsin Central in 1987 and came under CN control when it acquired WC in 2001.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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