The Spring 2023 General Membership Meeting for the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers has been set for Saturday, March 25, 2023 beginning at 10am CDT. This Spring the meeting will be conducted by Zoom Meeting software only. The virtual meeting will be sponsored by and hosted by the High Speed Rail Alliance.
WisARP Spring Meeting Agenda-Sat. March 25th, 2023
10:00 am John Parkyn (President of WisARP) – Opening Remarks
10:05 am High Speed Rail Alliance presentation-Rick Harnish (Executive Director)
10:35 am Lisa Stern (WisDOT-Chief of Harbors & Railroads) presentation
11:00 am Break
11:10 am Scott Rogers (VP of Governmental Affairs-Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the West Central WI Rail Coalition) update on passenger rail developments for West Central WI and the region.
11:35 am Mayor Don Merkes-Menasha, WI & Mayor Tony Penterman-Kaukauna, WI will give a joint presentation on the efforts to extend passenger rail service from Milwaukee to Green Bay via the Fox Cities.
12Noon John Parkyn (President of WisARP) Closing Remarks & Adjournment
December 27, 2022 – The fourth edition of Badger Rails is out. A monologue by Brian Nelson, President of All Aboard Minnesota is contained in this issue of Badger Rails, but is not the complete document. Below you can read or download his complete comments. Enjoy.
September 21, 2022 – For those of you not on WisDOT’s e-mailing list for updates, the information below was blasted out on September 19. We’re all waiting for more information on exact dates and locations.
The Design Phase of the Twin Cities – Milwaukee – Chicago Rail (TCMC) Project has Begun!
We wanted to give you a heads up for the upcoming public involvement meetings that will be scheduled in late October or early November so you can view the design plans and offer input for the Twin Cities – Milwaukee – Chicago (TCMC) project. The project will add a second, daily round-trip passenger rail service to the 411-mile corridor used by Amtrak’s long-distance Empire Builder route between Milwaukee and Saint Paul.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), has initiated the final design phase of the Twin Cities – Milwaukee – Chicago (TCMC) project.
The design phase will include the development of detailed plans for the improvement areas and will provide opportunities for local governments, agencies, stakeholders, and the public to provide input on those plans. This final design phase is expected to be complete in Summer 2023 with construction running from late 2023 into 2025. The additional train service is expected to start in 2024, or earlier.
The design phase follows a robust planning and environmental study that determined improvements to rail infrastructure so the corridor can handle freight and increased passenger traffic. The project has secured $53 million in federal, state, and Amtrak funding to allow the design and construction of tracks, signals, and railroad crossing improvements in La Crosse, Wis., La Crescent, Minn., and Winona, Minn. The existing stops and train platforms along the corridor will be used for the TCMC service.
Public Involvement Meetings showing the design plans will be held in late October or early November 2022. A second virtual public meeting is expected in 2023 prior to construction. In addition to public meetings, the project team will conduct meetings with stakeholders, local officials, and property owners as needed throughout the design phase. Meeting invitations will be emailed as well as periodic project updates.
For additional information about the TCMC Project please visit the WisDOT and MnDOT project webpages.
To provide comments about the TCMC Project please use this comment form.
June 5, 2022 – The latest information I have is in the May 27 issue of TCMC Newsletter. Available as a download, check out the newsletter itself featuring photos from Alan Baker of the new Siemens ALC-42 leading the Empire Builder through Wisconsin. The complete unedited copy is also available for download.
July 16, 2021 – Nice name! And how appropriate. The name actually comes from a May 6, 2021 U.S. House of Representatives hearing staged by the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. This hearing was over two months ago, but much of the discussion will have legs for the next year or three. The impact on Wisconsin Passenger Rail is yet to be seen. You can go to YouTube and watch the entire hearing… all 4 hours and 45 minutes of it. ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………. Or you can catch some of my edits below.
The YouTube link above is for segment five. (I know I’m going backwards.) Here are some notes I made over what I thought was important discussion: About 49 minutes CA rep Doug LaMalfa’s monologue. About 39 minutes AR rep Bruce Westerman’s questions about cost per mile. About 26 minutes WA rep Marilyn Strickland questions/ exchange over HSR. About 16:15 minutes MA rep Seth Moultan questions/ exchange over the speed of HSR with Flynn of Amtrak. A very interesting exchange, and one that shows how really splintered the information conveyed by the supporters of HSR can be. (Research this topic yourself on Wikipedia.)
By the way, each of these segments I have edited in questions from lawmakers from their five minute sessions, as opposed to watching the Q&A segments and getting scattered occurrences of questions and answers.
Segment two is Judge Trey Duhon from Waller County Texas, a well-spoken, well prepared testimony against Texas Central. Any of you that are strong advocates of HSR should watch this and learn about the headwinds that are naturally going to happen with any NEW HSR project. Even Mr. High Speed Rail Seth Moulton appeared effected by his testimony.
Segment four video is Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. I thought this would be a little more spicy coming off of Judge Duhon’s testimony. But I was wrong.
Segment three is John Porcari, former Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Obama. He’s currently the Secretary of Transportation for the State of Maryland. No question this gent received the most questions from lawmakers. Considering his current status in transportation, this surprised me. I think he answered questions in a rather level-headed manner. There’s no outrageous marketing-type answers here.
Segment one is the opening statements from the two transportation chairs: Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. from New Jersey and Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon. There is plenty of sizzle here, particularly if you watch segments two, three and five. Enjoy!
The Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers (WisARP) is holding its Spring Meeting 2021 via Zoom on Saturday, March 27th, 2021 9:00am to Noon Central Time.
Click on the Link below to register. There is no fee for this meeting
Arun Rao, Passenger Rail specialist at WisDOT, is scheduled to speak. Other speakers are being finalized. The meeting will focus on the second train Chicago – Milwaukee – St. Paul, and restoration of Hiawatha and Empire Builder service post Covid.