Old 09-21-2014, 03:04 AM   #1
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Default Wisconsin & Southern RR trip report September 2014

The WSOR has been on my list even before Watco took over, as their roster changed greatly since my last visit, which found them upgrading to GP38-2s as "big power." A friend and I visited last week on a long-anticipated trip.

SD40-2s are now the order of the day, and who knows what the future holds under Watco. Some of the original WSOR power has already been shipped offline, and now the WSOR is talking about the need for more power for a heavy grain season, and PTC-equipped units for operations into Chicago on Metra trackage.

We started our trip centered on Madison, WI. We found Madison to be a local hub. If you want to catch single unit consists heading out onto slow jointed rail branchlines, Madison is your spot. All trains (with the exception of the Prarie du Chen line) seemed to operate pretty much in line with the WSOR service plan.

Those seeking larger trains and multi-unit consists need to set their sights on the Janesville, WI area. It is hard to go wrong being around the Milton area pretty much anytime during daylight hours, as trains T4 (Horicon-JVL) and T6 (Madison-JVL) will be around from morning through late afternoon in some form.

T4 seems a bit odd, in that this crew will bring a train in from Horicon, but seems to be immediately turned back out (not necessarily with the same power) to go back to Milton and work the ethanol plant there. On our last day fanning the WSOR, T4 did the oddest move of the entire trip-- they obviously came in from Horicon in the morning, then went back to work the ethanol plant, then met with T6 and took a block of about 60 loaded grain hoppers, and shoved back for a good 5 miles and picked up their original train from Horicon.

This led to a monster train (well, at least for a regional) of about 110 cars to take to Janesville with a trio of SD40-2s. T4 ultimately pulled into the yard in JVL, and then right on out the east end onto the Fox Lake sub. The train was apparently being staged at Avalon, WI for the T2 to take to Chicago.

So T4 seems to be the catch all job of the JVL-Milton area. You can pretty much find it anywhere on its working days (Tue-Sat) in daylight in the areas between Milton and JVL. T6 will pass through Milton Jct. early afternoon (Tue-Sat) and likely make a setoff.

Local L351 east from Janesville makes a fine subject to photograph on Saturdays only, as they make a daylight run east on the Fox Lake sub on an 0700 call. All other days they work are on a 2100 call.

Finally, for those of you with fears of the WSOR being plagued with non-painted units under Watco ownership, in our 4 days on the system we found WSOR-painted power to be the norm, and non-repainted locomotives to be the exception. Some of the photos I have seen on rail photo sites seem to suggest otherwise, so if that is keeping anyone away, I would suggest visiting anyway.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:31 PM   #2
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Where can I find the photos?
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:01 AM   #3
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On several rolls of Provia still sitting in my refrigerator, believe it or not. However, my friend on the trip shoots digital, so I'll post some links when he uploads his photos.
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Old 09-23-2014, 11:35 PM   #4
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I want to see the slides!
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