Plymouth Line

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Update (12/23/04): Plymouth Line to be operated by WSOR
On December 23, 2004, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) granted the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) petition for declaratory order, finding that it and the Eastern Wisconsin Counties Rail Consortium (EWCRC) would not become rail common carriers as a result of purchasing a 37-mile line of railroad, known as the Plymouth Line, extending from milepost 114.8 near Saukville to milepost 151.8 near Kiel in Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties, WI., thus removing uncertainty on this matter. Full text of document.

On December 20, 2004, the STB announced a decision that the Wisconsin Central Ltd. has agreed to grant overhead trackage rights to Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) over WCL's rail line between the WCL/WSOR connection at North Milwaukee at milepost 95.18 and the property line at Saukville, WI, at milepost 114.8, a distance of approximately 19.62 miles. The trackage rights allow the WSOR to connect the Kiel-Saukville line with the rest of its rail system and provide shippers on the line with more frequent, locally oriented service than is currently provided by the WC. Full text of decision.

[NOTE: Below is a summary, some verbatim, from the STB decision on November 5 - JR]
On October 27, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) jointly filed an offer of financial assistance (OFA) for WisDOT to purchase the assets of, and for WSOR to operate, the entire 37-mile Plymouth Line. By decision served on November 1, 2004, WisDOT and WSOR were found financially responsible, and the effective date of the decision and certificate was postponed to permit the OFA process to proceed.

On October 29, 2004, the Decatur Junction Railway Co. (Decatur Junction) filed a motion seeking a 30-day extension of the time for filing an OFA. Decatur Junction indicates that it previously filed a notice of intent to file an OFA and entered into negotiations with WCL to purchase the entire line. Both WCL and WSOR opposed Decatur Junction's motion, and the Surface Transportation Board ruled Decatur Junction had not justified its extension request, and denied the extension on November 5.

History of this issue: Per the decision of the Surface Transportation Board on October 18, look for part of the Plymouth Line to be abandoned. The decision is a long document, but reading the full text of the decision provides interesting insight to a railroad's business logic and why you may see more trucks on the road.

On July 15 the Surface Transportation Board decided that a public meeting be conducted by Board staff regarding the abandonment of a Wisconsin Central Ltd. line in Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties. The public meeting was held in the theater of the Random Lake High School on August 13. You can also read the text of that decision online. (Thank you to Paul S. Highland on for this info.)

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