Freight Rail

Marti Mikkelson

Several hundred tanker cars are parked in a north side Milwaukee neighborhood. They’ve been there for months, and neighbors are afraid the cars could explode.

Rail officials insist the tankers contain only crude oil residue and pose no danger. Yet, community activists demanded action on Wednesday.

A couple dozen people crammed onto a narrow sidewalk near 35th and W. Capitol Drive. Behind them, a row of rail cars stretched over a bridge, as heavy traffic passed underneath. The cars are stamped with stickers reading Haz Mat crude oil.

S Bence

Two tanker derailments over the weekend in Wisconsin have put some people on edge. On Saturday, more than 18,000 gallons of ethanol cascaded out of train cars not far from the Mississippi River.

Susan Bence

UPDATE:  Earlier this month, emergency responders told the the city's public works committee that if a rail crisis occurred in downtown Milwaukee up to a half mile area might be evacuated. That topic reverberated again at today's meeting.

It was attended by Canadian Pacific Railway representatives and Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale.

S Bence

Since mid-February, four accidents in the U.S. and Canada have heightened concerns over transporting oil via rail. None have occurred in Milwaukee, but critics fear it’s just a matter of time. 

So the city’s Public Works Committee took up the issue on Wednesday.

City residents seemed to occupy most of the seats in the meeting room at City Hall, but Alderman Bob Baumann urged them to save their comments.

Responders Ready If Rail Mishap Occurs

Apr 15, 2014

Recent rail mishaps, including tragic derailments in Canada and Texas have put the focus on rail safety here and in other urban centers.

Freight Rail Shipments Up Across Wisconsin

Apr 14, 2014

Have you noticed longer and more frequent delays at railroad crossings in Milwaukee and throughout the state?

Randen Pederson,

You may not often see them, but plenty of trains crisscross Wisconsin these days carrying freight. The state and rail companies have been bringing old lines back to life because of increased demand, but much work is needed.