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Western Wisconsin CN Rail Revival

Trains are transporting sand for oil drilling from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In 2011, the former Enron — now called EOG Resources — opened one of the largest sand processing plants in the United States on the north edge of Chippewa Falls. Energy companies have since built three more plants to the north, all within 2 miles of New Auburn. A fourth is going up along Old Highway 53.

The construction site with its giant blue silos, towering cranes, workers climbing on rafters, and brand-new rail yard “looks like Valleyfair,” says Jeremy Urlacher, a vice president at Progressive Rail who just moved from the Twin Cities to Chetek so he can keep up with track maintenance. Read more