March 15, 2019 – PRESS RELEASE for immediate release, prepared by Terry Brown.
As I’m sure you are aware, several weeks ago Governor Evers released his biennial budget. The analysis began and several outlets have noted Line 18 of the Transportation section of the budget was aimed at passenger rail.
I’m certain some of these funds are for the Hiawatha, but not all. I believe the intent for some of that money should go towards the TCMC train, but something short-circuited along the way to the Governor.
WisARP PR mar15 TCMC budget correction
The link above is a PDF file containing the full Press Release. WisARP is asking everyone to please contact your Madison lawmakers and make them aware of this oversight.
March 12, 2019 – Yesterday the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) issued a press release trumpeting the record ridership on the Hiawatha train for 2018. This is good news for Milwaukee, and good news for the efforts to increase the frequency of the Hiawatha to 10 trains per day.
The link below is the WisDOT press release for this story. The site hosting the press release is UrbanMilwaukee.com.
February 24, 2019 – The recent Town Hall Meetings in Tomah and Portage have passed, but our work is far from finished. Our elected representatives in Madison are now and will continue to be working on the budget bill for several months. We need to encourage both Senators and Assembly Representatives to earmark money for the Second Daily Amtrak Train to help finish up the preliminary studies: Finishing the environmental impact studies and The Service Development Plan are next in line for this multi-year process. Without this allocation, this train could be set back years before it comes to fruition. To learn more, check out this video.
WisARP.info Call To Action
The attached PDF file ( WisARPinfo Call To Action ) has some instructions on how to find out who your legislators are in Wisconsin. Write them an e-mail! Make a phone call to their office. But please do not sit by and allow this chance to pass. Let your elected representatives in Madison know that you are hopeful the Second Daily Amtrak Train along the Empire Builder route is important to you!
February 18, 2019 – Rail Passengers Association (RPA) in their February 15, 2019 News Hotline divulged information that WisDOT will receive up to $5 million to construct a second platform at the Mitchell Airport Amtrak Station.
Although details of the grant were not specific, it is widely understood the second platform would be similar to the tower formation constructed at the Sturtevant Amtrak station, finished in 2006. The grant comes from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.
This station improvement is part of the process of increasing Amtrak Hiawatha frequency from seven to ten trains per day. Documents from the October 2016 public hearing of the Phase I Environmental Impact Study (EIS) specifically state a second platform on the west side of the tracks was necessary.
Among several Canadian Pacific comments in the Phase I EIS, a second platform was requested at the MARS (Milwaukee Airport Railway Station) stop to keep all trains on their normal track and eliminate crossover movements. This has been deemed more efficient in keeping all freight and passenger trains fluid through MARS compared to multiple crossovers.
This story prepared by Terry Brown.
February 8, 2019 – WisARP has scheduled two Town Hall Meetings during the second week of February 2019 in Tomah and Portage, Wisconsin. These meetings will review the current status of the second Empire Builder train (TCMC) and what action YOU can take to help make this train become a reality. The meetings will be led by Terry Brown, Vice-President of Communications.
Wednesday, February 13 in Tomah at 7p. The Meeting will be located in the Chamber Room of City Hall, 819 Superior Ave.
FEB8 UPDATE!! The Tomah meeting will include two guest speakers: Arun Rao, Passenger Rail Implementation Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and Marc Magliari, Public Relations Manager (Spokesman) and Amtrak Government Affairs & Corporate Communications Manager.
Thursday, February 14 in Portage at 7p. The Meeting will be located in the Portage Enterprise Center, 1800 Kutzke Road, in conference room 101. Please enter door one.
FEB8 UPDATE!! WisARP is obviously excited to have these two officials appear at the Town Hall Meeting in Tomah, but disappointed these two are unable to attend the Town Hall Meeting in Portage. Terry Brown will convey much of the information delivered by Rao and Magliari at the Portage meeting, so those attendees will be fully informed.
Attached to this blog below are flyers/ posters for the two meetings. If you live near Tomah or Portage and can help out notifying the public of these meetings, please download these flyers and post in appropriate places. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated!
Tomah meeting flyer
Portage meeting flyer
Platform remodeling and a wheelchair ramp addition in Portage
January 12, 2019 – Outdoor station remodeling continues at the Amtrak Station in Portage, WI. Beginning last fall 2018, reports are this construction will wrap up Spring 2019.
Passengers using the Portage Station should always remain away from the tracks since this is a crew change point for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
WisARP reminds all Amtrak passengers can check the status of their train at Amtrak.com. Click on TRAIN STATUS on the upper right of your screen. Or check out the Amtrak app for Android or iOS. You’ll need to know your train number.
MORE VISITORS FOR PORTAGE HOLIDAY TRAIN STOP
December 15, 2018 – The CP Holiday Train made numerous visits in the state of Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday, December 7 & 8. In fact, the CP Holiday Train made more stops in Wisconsin this year then in its 20 year history.
One notable stop this year was Portage, WI. The Holiday Train visit this year was opposite the Amtrak train station taking advantage of open space off of Averbeck St. Steven Sobiek, Director of Business Development and Planning for Portage said “the new venue on the north side of the tracks allows for more people to get a much closer and better view of the train concert.” There was ample room for parking this year, and the hope is room for a larger crowd in the future.
The CP Holiday Train is an effort to raise, money, food and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. Photo credits: top photo courtesy of Steven Sobiek, City of Portage; bottom photo courtesy of Lyn Jerde, Portage Daily Register.