The work underway by Volkmann Railroad Builders of Menomonee Falls, Wis., involves replacing 800 ties and leveling track on a three-quarter-mile section of the 7.2-mile line connecting East Troy and Mukwonago, Wis. The segment has been prone to spring flooding.That marsh dates back to the last glaciation, when the ice melt left kettle lakes amidst the moraines (and all the other glacial formations that Wisconsin kids learn about in earth science classes.) Slowly, the plant matter in the lakes decays, and the lake fills with humus. But you can't build a railroad on humus without a lot of fill, and sometimes you build a pile trestle and fill that in.
"Our board of directors recognized the need to make a commitment to regular improvements to the line to offer a better experience for our riders," East Troy President Ryan Jonas says in a statement. "We have replaced more than 400 ties along the line in each of the past two years, but now we have committed to improving the entire line in a more systematic way."
The railroad still operates work equipment built in Milwaukee's Cold Spring Shops, where the Milwaukee streetcars received their heavy maintenance.
It's a preservation railroad, these days, and the resumption of summer service prompted Milwaukee's Channel 58 to despatch Michael Schlesinger to report two features, but those video clips have already gone into the memory hole.