Railways and Harbors

Rail - barge offload area at Prairie du Chien

Rail – barge offload area at Prairie du Chien
Photo courtesy Wisconsin-Southern Railroad

Manufacturing and agricultural businesses in Southwest Wisconsin utilize the extensive railway system and river ports for transporting raw materials and finished goods. The port at Prairie du Chien is equipped to handle the direct transfer of cargo between barges and rail cars or trucks.

Wisconsin Railroads and Harbors 2012 Map

Railway Transportation

Ten freight railroads provide key transportation services to the manufacturing and industrial companies throughout the state of Wisconsin. The network of over 3,400 route miles is critical to hauling raw products and finished manufactured goods. Tourists enjoy the summer and fall excursion trains, and Southwest Wisconsin travelers appreciate the Amtrak station in nearby La Crosse.

Wisconsin DOT Passenger, Excursion, and Freight Rail Information

Water Transportation

Wisconsin has 15 commercial ports which handle more than 40 million tons of cargo each year. Barges are often loaded with coal, iron ore, wood, agricultural products and salt. The commercial ports in Prairie du Chien (Crawford County) and Cassville (Grant County) are readily accessible for southwest Wisconsin manufacturers and ag businesses. The Prairie du Chien port handles direct loading and unloading of cargo between barges and rail cars or trucks. The rivers and lakes also provide numerous boating opportunities for people, including cruises, ferries, and personal watercraft. The rivers are alive with activity throughout the warm weather seasons.

Economic Impact of Wisconsin’s Commercial Ports