On January 1, 2012, Watco was proud to welcome the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) to the Watco family of short line railroads. The WSOR is a Class II regional railroad company operating in the southern half of the state of Wisconsin and a small portion of northeastern Illinois. WSOR operates 802 miles of branch and mainline track traversing a total of 21 counties in Wisconsin and Illinois, making it Wisconsin’s second largest railroad.
It is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin with access to Chicago via the Belt Railway of Chicago and harbor facilities on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, while maintaining several transloading sites within its system. WSOR has branch offices in Janesville and Horicon. WSOR operates on mostly former Milwaukee Road tracks that were earmarked for abandonment in the late ’70s and early ’80s. These tracks are now owned and managed cooperatively by the State of Wisconsin and 18 counties with which WSOR has a 50-year operating agreement.
WSOR transports a variety of commodities for its customer base including forest products, fertilizers, grain (corn, soy beans, and wheat), plastics, consumer foods, paper, aggregates, chemicals, frac sand, ethanol, and liquid petroleum. Since its inception in 1980, WSOR has quadrupled the freight business of the previous carriers, handling more than 60,000 carloads annually.