Freight railroads

Wisconsin Railroads & Harbors Map  
Wisconsin Railroads & Harbors Map

​Wisconsin's economy depends on a multimodal transportation system that permits the safe and efficient movement of goods across the state. Railroads have been an integral part of Wisconsin's transportation system since 1847, when the state's first freight service was introduced. With over 3,300 miles of rail lines in Wisconsin, a strong freight rail system is a key factor in supporting and growing the state’s economy.

Freight railroads

There are eleven organizations in Wisconsin with common carrier rail freight certificates. The majority of the state's rail infrastructure is privately owned and operated. The state has preserved about 625 miles of previously abandoned rail lines that now operate as shortline and regional freight railroads.

Assistance programs

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT's) role is focused on making investment decisions that support the state's transportation network and the overall growth of the economy.

Railroad safety

Safety continues to be one of WisDOT's fundamental missions. The department works with others including the Federal Railroad Administration, the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads and railroad companies to identify and address railroad safety and security concerns.

WisDOT Rail Asset Management Application (WRAMA)

The WisDOT Railroads and Harbors Section has partnered with the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to develop a pilot application to demonstrate the value of an online interactive map of state-owned rail assets. These assets include:

  • Private and public crossings
  • Bridges
  • Utility permits
  • Right of way boundaries
  • Mileposts
  • Title and line information

As resources become available, the entire publicly-owned railroad system will become part of the application.

Related information: