Canadian National Sale “Great News” for Wisconsin

Governor Evers, Transportation Secretary Thompson Applaud Sale to Watco

Release date: March 30, 2021

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson today praised the announcement that the Canadian National Railroad has reached an agreement to sell key rail lines, including 650 miles of track in Wisconsin and upper Michigan, to logistics company Watco.

“This is truly great news for Wisconsin. This announcement means not only continued freight rail service for Wisconsin’s Northwoods, but it also presents an opportunity to expand service,” Governor Evers said. “That is especially good news for our Northwoods economy and the timber and paper industries that rely heavily on freight rail to connect to major ports and markets all over the world.”

“More than 170 million tons of freight move by rail in Wisconsin each year,” Secretary Thompson said. “For many of Wisconsin’s major industries – agriculture, manufacturing, and wood products – rail is the most cost-effective way to move freight. Having reliable rail access will make our industries more competitive and contribute to our economic recovery. Rail is also a more energy-efficient way to move freight, reducing our state’s carbon footprint. Plus, every ton of freight that move by rail means less congestion and wear and tear on our highways,” he said.

In Wisconsin, nearly all rail lines are owned by private companies. Watco currently operates the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR), which connects to the CN line and other Class I railroads.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581,