Wisconsin Railroad Jobs

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

Wisconsin was once home to many famous classic railroads such as the Milwaukee Road, Chicago & North Western, and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. However, today, if you are interested in Wisconsin railroad jobs the state is home to just half of its peak rail mileage, most of which is currently owned by Class Is Union Pacific, BNSF Railway, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific. As for originated freight, Wisconsin remains diversified among several different areas from agriculture and food to pulp/paper and non-metallic minerals.

A career in railroading can be quite challenging to say the least and if you are particularly interested in working in the industry it would definitely be worth your time to thoroughly look into it (especially if you are rather unfamiliar with railroads). Of course, Class Is offer many different job titles, aside from operating the trains themselves, from mechanics to track maintainers. Or, if management/business is your interest most of the large railroads now offer internships or graduate programs for college students during the summer months (some also offer scholarships).   In the end, you will have to decide for yourself if the long hours required with Class Is is worth the pay they offer. 

Class I Railroads/Amtrak

Amtrak

BNSF Railway

Canadian National Railway

Canadian Pacific Railway

Union Pacific

Short Lines And Regionals

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad: Wisconsin's largest non-Class I railroad, the W&S has been in operation since 1980 operating former Milwaukee Road and C&NW trackage totaling more than 700 miles across southern Wisconsin. Please visit Watco's website for contact information and career inquiries within the company. 

Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad: The E&LS has been in operation since 1978 operating ex-Milwaukee Road and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway (Soo Line) trackage in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Today, it serves a 235-mile system that, while mostly located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan also reaches Green Bay and Marinette, Wisconsin. Visit the E&LS website for contact information and employment. 



Tomahawk Railway: This short line is part of the Genesee & Wyoming's vast family of railroads, operating just six miles of trackage. It currently owns about 6 miles running north and south of Tomahawk and handles chemicals, coal, and forest products. 

Wisconsin Northern Railroad: The Wisconsin Northern Railroad is another property operated by Progressive Rail of Minnesota. The railroad began operations in 2004 and operates over 60 miles of track in the northern part of the state over trackage once owned by the Chicago & North Western and Soo Line. Its current commodities range widely from scrap metal and lumber to fertilizer and agriculture. Visit Progressive Rail's website for career information. 




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Researching Rights-Of-Way

A popular pastime for many is studying and/or exploring abandoned rights-of-way.  Today, there are tens of thousands of miles scattered throughout the country.  Many were pulled up in the 1970's and 1980's although others were removed long before that.  If you are researching active or abandoned corridors you might want to check out the United States Geological Survery's (USGS) Historical Topographic Map Explorer.  It is an excellent resource with thousands of historic maps on file throughout the country.  Just type in a town or city and click on the timeline of maps at the bottom of the page!



Studying Diesels

You will be hard pressed at finding a better online resource regarding diesel locomotives than Craig Rutherford's TheDieselShop.us.  The website contains everything from historic (fallen flags) to contemporary (Class I's, regionals, short lines, and even some museums/tourist lines) rosters, locomotive production information, technical data, all notable models cataloged by the five major builders (American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, General Electric, Fairbanks-Morse, and Baldwin), and much more.  A highly recommended database!



Electro-Motive Database

In 1998 a gentleman by the name of Andre Kristopans put together a web page highlighting virtually every unit every out-shopped by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division.  Alas, in 2013 the site closed by thankfully Don Strack rescued the data and transferred it over to his UtahRails.net site (another fine resource).  If you are researching anything EMD related please visit this page first.  The information includes original numbers, serials, and order numbers.