You are here

Wisconsin Central Transportation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At one time, Wisconsin Central Ltd. (AAR reporting marks WC) owned or operated railroads in America, Canada (the Algoma Central), the United Kingdom (English, Welsh and Scottish Railway), New Zealand (Tranz Rail) and Australia (Australian Transport Network Limited).

Wisconsin Central Ltd (WC) started in the mid 1980s using most of the original Wisconsin Central Railway's rights of way and some former Milwaukee Road rights of way after the Soo Line acquired the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota holdings of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific RR) and divested its older railway trackage in Wisconsin. In 1993 the Wisconsin Central also acquired the Green Bay and Western Railroad and the Fox River Valley Railroad.

In 1995, the Wisconsin Central acquired the 322-mile Canadian Algoma Central Railroad whose tracks ran north of Sault Saint Marie to Hearst, Ontario. The Algoma Central is best known for its popular tourist passenger train through the Agawa Canyon and Agawa Canyon Wilderness Park near Lake Superior Provincial Park.

In 2001 the Wisconsin Central was purchased by a second Canadian railroad, the Canadian National. Along with the former Illinois Central, the former Wisconsin Central became part of Canadian National's United States holdings and its property integrated into the CN system.
At the time of its sale to Canadian National, Wisconsin Central operated over 2,850 miles of track in the Great Lakes region. The railroad extended from Chicago into and through Wisconsin to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota, to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and north (through the Algoma Central Railway) to Hearst, Ontario.

Timeline

April 3, 1987: The Soo Line railroad announces the sale of its Lake States Transportation Division to private investors, forming the new Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation.
October 11, 1987: The first WC train runs, from Stevens Point, WI to North Fond du Lac, WI.
May 1991: WC shares begin trading under the ticker symbol WCTC, raising $36.2 million.
1992: Railway Age Magazine names WC "Regional Railroad of the Year".
1993: WC acquires the Fox River Valley Railroad and Green Bay and Western railroads through a new subsidiary, Fox Valley & Western Ltd.
1993: A WC-led consortium acquires New Zealand Rail Ltd through a new subsidiary, Wisconsin Central International, and renames it Tranz Rail in 1995.
1995: WC acquires the Algoma Central Railway through a new subsidiary, Wisconsin Central Canada Holdings.
1995: A WC-led consortium acquires Rail Express Systems Ltd in the United Kingdom.
1996: WC partners with Canadian National (CN) and CSX, inaugurating a new intermodal shipping corridor between the west and east coasts of North America.
1996: Three trainload rail freight operators in the UK are united into a new WC subsidiary, English Welsh and Scottish Railway Holdings Ltd (EWS).
1997: EWS acquires two more freight railways in the UK.
1997: Another WC subsidiary, the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Company, acquires 207 miles of track from Union Pacific forming a WC connection between Green Bay, WI and Ishpeming, MI.
1997: A new WC subsidiary, Australian Transport Network Limited (ATN), acquires a one-third ownership and an operating interest TasRail in Tasmania.
1997: Six months later, ATN acquires the Emu Bay Railway in Tasmania.
1999: Railroad industry trade journal Railway Age magazine names WC president Edward A. Burkhardt its Railroader of the Year.
January 30, 2001: WC and CN announce plans for CN to purchase WC for $800 million and the assumption of $400 million of WC's debt.
September 7, 2001: The Surface Transportation Board approves the sale of WC to CN.
October 9, 2001: WC is acquired by CN.

Reporting marks: WC, SSAM, WCCL, GBW, AC
Locale: Wisconsin and surrounding states
Dates of operation: 1987–2001
Successor: Canadian National
Track gauge: 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)