Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Rail

Railroad track near Janesville

Railroads have been an integral part of Wisconsin’s transportation system and economy since 1847, when the state’s first rail service was introduced.

Today, 13 freight railroads operate on a system of approximately 3,300 route miles across Wisconsin. Combined, they move approximately 162 million tons of freight each year. The annual value of that freight is nearly $122 billion.

Amtrak operates two passenger train routes in Wisconsin. The long distance Empire Builder, operating from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, provides one round trip daily and makes six Wisconsin stops. The state-supported Hiawatha Service, in partnership with the State of Illinois, carries more than approximately 820,000 passengers annually, on seven daily round trips between Milwaukee and Chicago. Wisconsin stops include Milwaukee Intermodal Station, Milwaukee Airport Rail Station and Sturtevant. It is the busiest Amtrak corridor in the Midwest.

In addition to supporting passenger and freight rail activities in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation works to improve safety at over 4,400 public highway-rail grade crossings.

Questions about the content of this page:
Office of Public Affairs, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: September 15, 2014

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