The Chetek Alert Features Groundbreaking Event

Northern Rail and Transload on track to be big

By Carl Cooley

It will be the largest rural transload rail facility in rural Wisconsin, but it all starts with a shovel.

Representatives from Northern Rail and Transload—owned by the Wayzata, Minn.-based Northern Capital Partners—invited local civic leaders to a ground breaking and informational event Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Chief Operations Officer Brian Gilbertson and General Manager Larry McGlumphy, presented the project, touched on what they plan to accomplish in the next year and took questions from the group of about 20.

The 220-acre rail transloading facility will be built three miles south of Chetek, southwest of the intersection of 5-1/4 Avenue and CTH SS. It is scheduled to be completed in May 2015 and will handle more than 1.2 million tons of sand annually from the Fry Hills mine and wet plant in Sioux Creek.

The main function of the facility will be for the drying and loading of silica sand onto 100-car unit trains. NRT will also haul in propane for local distributors and offer the rest of the facility for lease—such as rock, salt, ag and lumber companies.

Three loops of track for loading and staging unit trains will be built, allowing one fully loaded train to depart every three days.

“You won’t see any earth moving going on out there today because we’re waiting on one more stormwater permit from the Department of Natural Resources,” said Gilbertson, noting that other township and county agreements had been wrapped up. All that remained was a final road use agreement—which would determine the truck route from the Northern Industrial Sands (also owned by NCP) Fry Hills mine and wet plant in Sioux Creek along CTH A, AA and possibly CTH SS.

McGlumphy expected the DNR permit to be completed soon and the road use agreement was in the final stages. 

Local Jobs and wages

McGlumphy and Gilbertson said up to 40 jobs would be created with NRT—20-25 on the sand plant and 15-20 for transloading. They were seeking local hires.

“We’ll train them how to do it,” said McGlumphy noting positions will range from heavy equipment and rail operators to electricians.

While he was wary to name an exact number before overhead was considered,

McGlumphy gave his best estimate for wages.

“Maybe around $20,” he said. “It’s going to be pretty close to what everybody else is around here.”

The company has already started soliciting job applications via their website and Gilbertson said they would host a job fair in the fall.

Another 60 jobs could be created by secondary businesses.

Easing propane pressures

NRT hopes to provide another source of propane to local consumers and stabilize the price—which would still be based on market value.

McGlumphy said the company’s plan is to have the main rail switch, spur and facility completed by the corn drying season this year. As soon as that is completed, propane will be transferred directly to bobtail propane trucks using a mobile transloader, he said.

“It’s done across all over the country,” he said in response to safety concerns.

A later phase will construct a permanent propane distribution center in

This project is separate from the proposed Barron project. The Barron site, headed by Alpha Development and Construction, uses the east-west Canadian

National rail line, while NRT uses the north-south Progressive Rail track.

Carl Cooley | Chetek Alert

Chetek Alert 

Local civic leaders attended Northern Rail and Transload’s ground breaking on Wednesday, Aug. 13. Pictured left to right are: Larry McGlumphy, General Manager, Art Klingenberg, New Auburn village trustee, Stephen Smith, state representative, Terry Lee, Barron County supervisor, DeeAnn Cook, county clerk, Marge Okey, Louie Okey, Barron County supervisor, Stacy Neuman, Romaine Quinn, Republican 75th District candidate, Ron Fladten, Barron County supervisor, Terry Moulton, state senator, Mark Edwards, Chetek council member, Bob Newville and Brian Gilbertson, Chief Operations Officer.