Railfan News - 2006

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December 28, 2006
Editorial: Wheels on highway bulldozers keep going 'round and 'round
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
America's addiction to driving and the continual building of roads to feed our dependence is a national disgrace.

December 22, 2006
Editorial: Want it? Gotta pay for it
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
We'll wager all the candy canes in our stocking that there aren't many elected or civic officials around here likely to confuse Karl Ostby with Santa Claus this week.

December 22, 2006
Not on board with tax: Train, bus funding plan opposed
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A proposed three-county sales tax for commuter trains and public buses is certain to be reworked in the face of swift opposition from local leaders and state legislators Thursday.

December 21, 2006
Bell Tower Crushes Car
WTMJ TV (Channel 4)
A bell tower has fallen and crushed a minivan at the Milwaukee Amtrak station. The building is  owned by the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation. The crane was removing the tower when it fell. No one was hurt. St. Paul Avenue was closed following the accident, but has reopened.

December 21, 2006
Sales tax proposed for train line: Funds would also take buses off property tax
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The new Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority is considering local sales taxes to help pay for a proposed commuter train line and to take public buses off the property tax in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.

December 17, 2006
Editorial: A chance to link communities
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin is positioned to take advantage of a critical economic development tool that will link the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee corridor with metropolitan Chicago.

December 16, 2006
Contest winners riding to North Pole
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fifteen winners will take the express rail to Santa today as part of the Cousins Subs "North Pole Express" train.

December 13, 2006
Why Wisconsin wants its own commuter rail trains
Racine Journal Times weblog - The Bottom Line by Michael Burke
Commuter rail is a concept whose time may be arriving for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (thus "KRM") area. And quite a few Journal Times readers are already all aboard as supporters.

December 13, 2006
Man hit by train drives himself to ER
Pleasant Prairie police investigating reports of a man struck by a train used a helicopter and K-9 unit to locate the victim but didn't find him until he walked himself into a hospital emergency room last night.

December 8, 2006
'Holiday Train' makes stop in Pewaukee
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Canadian Pacific Railway "Holiday Train" will make a stop in Pewaukee. This festively decorated train makes stops throughout the Midwest and southern Ontario every holiday season, collecting donations for local pantries. Pewaukee is one of three Wisconsin stops.

December 3, 2006
Holiday Train rolls for food bank: Sturtevant stop includes entertainment, Santa, pitch for help
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sturtevant - Santa Claus and his helpers again will chug their way into Sturtevant to raise money and collect food for local food banks.

November 29, 2006
Editorial: Rail, water issues loom
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The Milwaukee 7 regional development group is expected to discuss a $237 million plan to link Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee's southern suburbs with commuter trains today. The group will probably support the concept - as it should. This rail line would be a key economic development tool, helping to link workers to jobs throughout the region, and a vital part of an infrastructure that ties the region closer together to the dynamic economic hub of Chicago.

November 27, 2006
Chain reaction crash injures 4
Sturtevant - A chain reaction accident this morning led to four cars being damaged as they stopped for a train, police said.

November 26, 2006
Midwest governors should advocate for high-speed rail
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
[Editorial on high-speed rail] Nationally, while the public voted for change on Nov. 7, Midwest voters re-elected four pragmatic governors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

November 25, 2006
New route for commuter rail: Proposal requires more money, more trains and Kenosha terminus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
As soon as next month, regional leaders could start discussing whether to get aboard a $237 million plan to link Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and the southern suburbs with commuter trains.

November 25, 2006
Bike path might pave new way along KK river: Coalition envisions redevelopment, revitalization
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The City of Milwaukee's commitment to build a 2.4-mile bike path along the Kinnickinnic River corridor next year has sparked an ambitious effort by a broad coalition to create a long-term plan for broader redevelopment and revitalization along the long-neglected south side river.

November 20, 2006
A train to Santaland: A few lucky kids will get a ride to visit Santa, courtesy of Cousins and Children's Hospital
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Magic trains to Santa's hometown usually show up only in Hollywood movies, but on Dec. 16, conductors will call "All Aboard" for one materializing at Milwaukee's Amtrak station.

November 14, 2006
Part of Tower complex sold
The eastern portion of Tower Automotive Inc.'s former industrial complex has been sold to local investors, who will seek new industrial and office tenants for the site.

November 11, 2006
WSOR Runs Santa Train
On Saturday, November 11, 2006, the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. helped bring Santa Claus to town via the Santa Train 2006. The train was displayed with Santa in his old caboose to greet the kids at Burnett and Hartford, Wis. on WSOR's Northern Division. Steam Locomotive 1003, normally stored at the Wisconsin Automotive Museum at Hartford, was there to keep everyone warm. See a photo of the train at WSOR's home page.
For other photos see Erik Rasmussen's photos.

November 9, 2006
Sturtevant brush fire threatens rail cars
Sturtevant Firefighters from Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant were called this afternoon to battle a large brush fire in the area of Highway H & Braun Road that was threatening railroad cars.

November 7, 2006
Teens could stand trial for their roles in taking rail spikes: Otto, Schopp entered not guilty pleas at pair's preliminary hearing
Ozaukee County News Graphic
PORT WASHINGTON - An Ozaukee County Circuit Court judge Friday ordered Robert M. Otto and Steven A. Schopp to stand trial for removing more than 100 rail spikes from the Canadian National Railroad tracks back in August.

November 7, 2006
7-year-old Racine girl clipped by train
A 7-year-old Racine girl is recovering at a hospital today after she was clipped by a freight train Monday evening, police said.

October 22, 2006
Rolling along: Couple will leave train tracks behind as they head to Colorado
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Hartford - Sandy and Tom Artzberger enjoy a sweeping view of Pike Lake and the western horizon from their house, situated high on a bluff.

October 10, 2006
Editorial: Criticism of railroads is misdirected
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Some media reports from recent state Public Service Commission hearings on Midwestern rail service suggest that the several railroads serving Wisconsin and the region are somehow not doing their jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

October 5, 2006
Sounding the warning signal: Fire official calls for changes at railroad crossings in Village
It is not a matter of if a tragic accident will occur at the Village train tracks, it is a matter of when, said Wauwatosa Assistant Fire Chief Mike Anton last week as he looked eastward from the tracks behind the Chancery.

October 3, 2006
Editorial: Time to review the railroads
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Agricultural groups and the state's largest utility complained at a Milwaukee hearing on rail shipping last week that tight capacity and poor service were becoming chronic problems.

September 27, 2006
Shippers feel railroaded: Train service for Midwestern goods poor, some industry leaders tell state officials
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Railroads are on a roll, but some key Wisconsin customers, including the state's largest utility, aren't enjoying the ride.

September 21, 2006
Silver Spade bites the dust: Born here, the last of the super shovels will rest where it died
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
When a mining shovel named Silver Spade was built in South Milwaukee in the early 1960s, it took 250 railroad cars to send the behemoth to a coal field in Ohio. [Not exactly railroad related, but very interesting. - JR]

September 16, 2006
2 killed in train crash 'loved a lot of people': Investigators looking at fog as a factor in accident; witnesses say crossing lights were flashing
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mount Pleasant - Therese Smith loved children, so much so that when her sister gave birth to a little girl she could not care for, Smith opened her arms and her home.

September 6, 2006
Dead body travels 1,000 miles on Amtrak
CHICAGO (AP) -- An Amtrak passenger traveling with her ailing father waited nearly 23 hours and about 1,000 miles to tell authorities he had died so she could avoid the cost of shipping the body home, police said.

September 6, 2006
UP derailment at Mitchell Yard
On September 5 there was a major 5-car derailment at the UP's Mitchell Yard.

August 27, 2006
Train depot painting captures history in motion: Money from sold prints will benefit Sturtevant's 100th birthday party
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sturtevant - The old Amtrak depot on Wisconsin St. might be part of the village's past, but it won't be forgotten now that it's been immortalized in a watercolor painting by local artist Tom White.

August 24, 2006
Tracks reopen after derailment: Rails making up 18-hour delay; damage estimated at $1.5 million
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Waukesha
Waukesha - The derailment of a 46-car Wisconsin & Southern train caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage, including an economic loss of $18,500 per hour when the tracks were not usable, state Railroad Commissioner Rodney Kreunen said Wednesday.

August 23, 2006
Freight train derails downtown: No-one injured, but crossings damaged, traffic stalls, oil spilled
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Waukesha
Waukesha - A freight train about 2,600 feet long derailed downtown Tuesday night, tearing up track and indefinitely blocking traffic at major street crossings.

August 20, 2006
Riding the rails: Passengers say new Amtrak depot looks good but needs a few tweaks
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Sturtevant
Sturtevant - Passengers who ride the rails to work every day from Sturtevant think the new Amtrak depot has a pretty building and nice landscaping.

August 12, 2006
Old depot broken into, vandalized
Racine Journal Times - Sturtevant
Sturtevant- Sturtevant police are investigating a break-in at the old Sturtevant depot that occurred days before the building is to be vacated.

August 1, 2006
Railroad commissioner cited for disorderly conduct
Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - State railroad commissioner Rodney Kreunen was cited for disorderly conduct after a railroad president kicked him out of a locomotive's engine room during a festival.

July 30, 2006
City plans grand opening for depot: Governor expected to attend Aug. 12 event
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Sturtevant - It may have taken several years, but the new Amtrak depot in The Renaissance business park will begin serving commuters Aug. 14.

July 24, 2006
Hiawatha fares to increase by $1 starting in August: Ridership sets record for first half of year
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Fares are rising $1 next week on Amtrak's Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line, which is in the middle of a ridership and building boom, authorities say.

June 29, 2006
Smooth pedaling through New Berlin on the ol' TM
Joe Russ
The New Berlin Recreation Trail, on the former TM right-of-way which parallels the UP's ex-CN&W Waukesha branch, was paved in late June. This was done as Waukesha County received a Federal CMAQ Grant to fund the paving. The 10-foot wide trail runs from Greenfield Park to Hwy. 164 in Waukesha.

June 29, 2006
Man in truck hit by train not seriously hurt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
City of Pewaukee - A 28-year-old Germantown man escaped serious injury Wednesday when his dump truck collided with a train at 3:45 p.m. and one rail car derailed, police said.

June 18, 2006
Steam engine train to make weekend trips in state: Excursions will raise funds for museum
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Sturtevant - Area residents will get to see a piece of local railroad history in action when a special series of steam train excursions runs next weekend between Milwaukee, Sturtevant and Wisconsin Dells.

June 8, 2006
Milwaukee woman killed by train
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
A Milwaukee woman died Wednesday after she was struck and killed by a train in a case being initially investigated as a possible suicide, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said.

June 3, 2006
Why the light rail hysteria?
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
[Editorial on light rail] Most of us find that there are certain topics of conversation we need to avoid in social situations if we want to keep things civil. Abortion and gay marriage are two that come immediately to mind.

June 2, 2006
Inquiry into '97 death near tracks reopened: Tip suggests man may have been pushed
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Waukesha
City of Pewaukee - Police are reopening a 1997 death investigation after they received information that a man found dead along railroad tracks may have been pushed off a train.

May 30, 2006
Did you know that on May 30, 1860, the first street car ran in Milwaukee over the River & Lake Shore Street Railway? Read more about it.

May 29, 2006
Transit system at ‘critical point’ Transit funding options skidding into pressures on tax dollars
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
It is a route that never seems to change.

May 20, 2006
Bridge to past not too far away
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Ramsay, Mich. - I left the highway between Bessemer and Wakefield and headed south toward what's left of the onetime lumber town of Ramsay in search of the historic keystone bridge and, suddenly, there it was. [While not in Southeast Wisconsin, or even Wisconsin, the keystone bridge was built in 1891 by the C&NW from limestone quarried in Kaukauna and is one of the largest stone arch bridges in Michigan. So I thought this article was worth listing. - JR]

May 16, 2006
Milwaukee needs a transit solution
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
By pulling the plug on the electric bus system study, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has opened a much-needed discussion about the future of transit in southeastern Wisconsin.

May 14, 2006
Getting bike on track along Pine Line Trail
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Ogema - When you are riding on a path as straight as a bullet's flight, it's all right to let your mind wander. Pedaling along on the Pine Line Trail in the company of red-wing blackbirds and the occasional pastured horse, I couldn't help but imagine the long-gone time when this pathway of leisure was once a hard-working railroad line. [Not in SE Wisconsin, but still interesting - JR]

May 6, 2006
UP derails We Energy cars in Cudahy:
On May 6 the UP derailed three WEPX hopper cars at Five Mile Road in Caledonia on the Kenosha Sub. The derailment, which put two of the cars on their side, occurred where the UP installed a derail on the siding to keep stray cars from entering the mainline. For more information and pics visit the the page at Mark Hintz's Fuzzyworld3.com.

April 26, 2006
Users raise stink over rail rates : Utility files suit as coalition protests to Congress
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Utilities, manufacturers and electricity customers are mobilizing to pressure Congress to respond to rising railroad prices that threaten to increase Wisconsin's electric rates.

April 20, 2006
Alderman trying to doom connector project: He wants panel to OK rail system instead
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
After a major boost from the Milwaukee County Board last week, the Milwaukee Connector project is heading for a debate by the Common Council, where a downtown alderman is vigorously trying to kill the $300 million guided electric bus plan.

April 14, 2006
Over or under? Crossing hearing draws crowd
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Waukesha - With a daily traffic count of 27,600 vehicles and 42 trains crossing each day, a public hearing on turning the Canadian National Railway crossing near Frame Park into either an overpass or an underpass drew a crowd this week.

April 1, 2006
Extended Canal St. offers new opportunities: Rebuilt street makes more Menomonee Valley land available for development
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
The newly extended W. Canal St. opened Friday, bridging a transportation gap in the western portion of Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley - and setting the stage for further development there. [The view in the Valley has changed, but might make for other railfan opportunities. - JR]

March 31, 2006
Tower Automotive plant reaches end of the line: Last 65 workers leave after final truck frame rolls off the factory floor
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Eddie Ballard left tiny Shuqualak, Miss., for Milwaukee at age 18. [All those flat car loads of frames won't be rolling out of Milwaukee anymore. - JR]

March 19, 2006
Riding rails with Ike and Big Boy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Green Bay - On my way out of town I was stopped abruptly by the insistent lights and bells of a railroad crossing, which on any other day might have been an annoyance.

March 15, 2006
Train Victim Speaks Out
WTMJ Channel 4 - Milwaukee
CUDAHY - An Oak Creek woman who survived a horrific train accident spoke exclusively with TODAY'S TMJ4 Wednesday night. [Accident was on Feb. 24 - JR]

March 15, 2006
Metal shop withstands test of time: Employment, sales soar for 116-year-old Milwaukee Boiler
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
In 1890, the first entirely steel-framed building was built in Chicago, rubber gloves were used for the first time in surgery, and Milwaukee Boiler Manufacturing Co. was in business on the city's south side.

March 10, 2006
TAKES FIVE; JIM BARLOW; Model railroader shares his hobby with Domes
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
It's fair to say rails run through Jim Barlow's life. Barlow, 69, worked in customer service for Chicago & North Western Railway for 40 years and has collected model trains for roughly 68 1/2 years.

March 8, 2006
Solvay site may have buyer: Investor has plans for cleanup, redevelopment
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
The former Milwaukee Solvay Coke Co. plant may have found a buyer in a Waukegan, Ill., investor who hopes to redevelop the 46-acre property in the Walker's Point area.

March 4, 2006
Barrett proposes Metra rail service through valley
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Chicago's Metra commuter trains could run not only to Milwaukee's downtown Amtrak station, but also through the Menomonee Valley to Miller Park and State Fair Park, under a proposal from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

March 1, 2006
Eugene Skoropowski 'Takes Five': Commuter rail line can mean more than just a ride to work
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Eugene Skoropowski says he started his railroad career 36 years ago as "an angry rider" and transit activist who wound up on the budgetary board for the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority. An architect and planner, he later worked on commuter rail and high-speed rail lines in Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Florida and Europe. He is now managing director of the Capitol Corridor, a 170-mile commuter rail line linking San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento, Calif. Skoropowski was in Racine on Tuesday for a speech on the economic benefits of commuter rail, in connection with plans to extend Chicago's Metra commuter trains from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee. He discussed the issue with Journal Sentinel transportation reporter Larry Sandler.

February 26, 2006
Depot oversight could cost Sturtevant an extra $50,000: Plans for new train station failed to include closets with plumbing
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Sturtevant - Because some necessary components for the village's new train depot were unaccounted for in the original design, the village might have to pay as much as $50,000 to correct the problems, officials said last week.

February 26, 2006
Metra agreement signed: Area mayors, county executives to work on extending service
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Southeastern Wisconsin mayors and county executives signed an agreement Friday to work together on extending Chicago's Metra commuter trains from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee.

February 25, 2006
Catching the train in Fox Point
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
One of my sisters started to shake the dice for her turn at our game of "Monopoly." Then we heard a rumble. She stopped to listen, her head cocked. We all listened, and each of us heard it.

February 24, 2006
Car vs. train
WTMJ Channel 4 - Milwaukee
CUDAHY - Two women were rushed to the hospital when a train and a car smash into each other in Cudahy overnight.

February 22, 2006
Transit authority tax to start June 1
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
The Milwaukee area's newest government body has decided to start collecting the region's newest tax on June 1.

February 22, 2006
Bike trail plan gets DNR approval
JSOnline Off the Couch weblog - Madison
Madison - The Department of Natural Resources moved forward on Wednesday with plans for a 40-mile bike trail that will run from Madison’s south side to the Illinois line.

February 5, 2006
Building amid ramps used to serve rails
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
All that's left is rubble. For the past few weeks, wrecking crews have been chipping away at the eight-story building, brick by brick and window by window, until only its dusty footprint remains.

January 29, 2006
All aboard: Hooked on the rumble and roar of America's railways, enthusiasts often spend hours train-spotting
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Sturtevant - They gather in a lobby with dingy white wooden walls, two fluorescent lights and four rows of ripped gray and black chairs.

January 22, 2006
Pain, but no answers: Teens killed by train seemed happy, parents say
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
On the Web site, a pale girl stares out from under black-dyed bangs. Her thick eyeliner is black. Her hooded sweat shirt, black.

January 20, 2006
Transit authority urged to focus on new funding
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
A Milwaukee County Board committee is trying to steer the Regional Transit Authority onto a new track.

January 17, 2006
Woman walking on tracks killed by train
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Town of Addison - Arlene DeLeon was walking on the Canadian National Railway tracks less than 100 feet north of state Highway 33 in the unincorporated community of Allenton shortly before 1 a.m. Monday when she was struck and killed by a northbound freight train, authorities said.

January 13, 2006
Real estate firm exits with $20 million: CMC Heartland never executed 'grandiose' plans
The Business Journal - Milwaukee
For more than a decade, representatives of CMC Heartland Partners talked about grandiose development plans for many of the prominent sites it owned in the city of Milwaukee, including a proposed retail center on a 150-acre site in the Menomonee Valley east of Miller Park.

January 10, 2006
Amtrak's Olympics hopes: Upgrade of Hiawatha line likely if Chicago wins Games, official says
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee
Aboard the Hiawatha - Amtrak Board Chairman David Laney said Monday that faster and more frequent service on the railroad's Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line is "almost inevitable," and the route will likely get a big boost if Chicago succeeds in landing the 2016 Olympics.

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Updated: 1/15/07
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