- Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad
Infobox SG rail
railroad_name=Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad
Wisconsinand northern Illinois
Madison, WisconsinThe Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad Reporting mark|WICT was a Class III shortline railroadthat operated in the southern portion of Wisconsinand northern portion of Illinoisfrom 1985 until 1997.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, financial difficulties forced the
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroadto abandon much of its trackage in southern Wisconsin, including lines from Prairie du Chien to Madison, Madison to Janesville, and Janesville to Fox Lake, Illinois. At the same time, the Illinois Central Gulf Railroadabandoned its line from Madison to Freeport, Illinois. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation formed the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission (WRRTC) in March 1980 in the interest of preserving rail service on these lines. Two short line operators, Wisconsin Western Railroad (WIWR) and the affiliated Central Wisconsin Railroad (CWRC), were contracted to operate on the Prairie du Chien-Madison and Madison-Freeport lines.
These two operators filed for bankruptcy in December 1984, leaving WRRTC to find another operator. The Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad (WICT) was formed on
January 1, 1985. WICT would eventually operate all of the above-mentioned rail lines, as well as lines from Janesville to Waukesha, and Janesville to Monroe. In 1989, the first Wisconsin & Calumet trains ran from Janesville to Fox Lake on the route known during the MILW era as the "J-Line". Shortly thereafter, WICT reopened the line between Janesville and Madison; bringing rail service back to Milton, Edgerton, Stoughton and McFarland.
The Wisconsin & Calumet was purchased by the
Wisconsin & Southern Railroadin 1992, but it continued to operate as a subsidiary until it was officially merged into the WSOR in 1997.
* 1985: Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad is formed.
* 1989: Wisconsin and Calumet begins operating the rail lines from Janesville to Fox Lake and Janesville to Madison, restoring the entire railroad connection from
Chicagoto the Mississippi Rivervia southern Wisconsin.
* 1992: Wisconsin and Calumet Railroad is acquired by
Wisconsin and Southern Railroad
* 1993: Former
Illinois Central Railroadline from Madison, Wisconsin, to Freeport, Illinois, is embargoed and placed out of service by WICT due to unsafe conditions. Despite initial plans to restore rail service to the line, it sat abandoned and was eventually removed to make way for a bike trail in 1999.
* 1997: WICT is officially merged into the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and ceases to exist as an employer, as ruled by the United States
Railroad Retirement Board.
The route today
Most of the rail lines operated by the Wisconsin & Calumet remain in service today under the
Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, with the notable exception of the line from Madison to Freeport which was removed in 1999. The Badger State Trailcurrently occupies the old road bed.
Equipment & Preservation
The Wisconsin & Calumet's motive power primarily consisted of early generation GM-EMD
diesel-electric locomotives, including the GP7, GP9, and F7. Many of these locomotives originally belonged to the Milwaukee Road. Others, including the F units, were privately owned by an individual named Glen Monhart. WICT followed the (by then relatively unusual) practice of naming their locomotives. Several WICT locomotives were named after the counties the railroad served, such as "Dane County", "Rock County", "Walworth County", etc.
Several of Wisconsin & Calumet's F7 locomotives are on display at the
National Railroad Museumin Green Bay, Wisconsin. Another F7, #96A, was later repainted and renumbered to WSOR #71A and currently operates on the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroadin Michiganand northern Wisconsin as their #600. WICT caboose#529 (ex-AT&SF) can be found at the Mid-Continent Railway Museumin North Freedom.
List of United States railroads
List of Wisconsin railroads
* [http://www.co.dane.wi.us/rail/status95.htm 1995 Status Report on Railroad Operations in Dane County, includes information about the WICT]
* [http://www.rrb.gov/pdf/bcd/bcd97-108.pdf WICT employer status determination by the USRRB; December, 1997]
* [http://www.wrrtc.org/history.htm History of the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission]
* [http://www.whrc-wi.org/History/Central%20Wis/centralwis1a.htm Photo gallery of WICT predecessors WIWR and CWRC locomotives in Madison in the 1980s] .
* [http://ribbonrail.com/Videos/wisconsin_calumet.wmv Madison WMTV Ch. 15 news video of WICT's first run on Janesville-Fox Lake line in 1989] .
* [http://www.danenet.org/bcp2006/madfreeport.html 1998 letter from WisDOT regarding decision to remove the Madison-Freeport line]
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