Important resources to help you navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Wisconsin
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

“Sad history of Talgo in Milwaukee” comes to an end, trains moving out

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee still has two high-speed trains that were at one point on track to connect three Midwestern cities. Now, we're learning those trains are on their way out of Milwaukee.

The Talgo trains were constructed for Wisconsin's now defunct high-speed rail service.

"This is one of the ending chapters of the history, the sad history of Talgo in the city of Milwaukee," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett said within weeks, the trains will be leaving Milwaukee -- along with the last remnants of Talgo America.

"The city of Milwaukee's Redevelopment Authority has received notice that (Talgo) will be terminating its month-to-month lease -- that it's ending its operations here," Mayor Barrett said.

The lease will expire sometime during the next 60 days. The lease provided the city with $29,000 a month.

Mayor Barrett says the city's administration remains focused on continuing the redevelopment of a neighborhood known as "Century City."

"We've had interest from companies who are interested in locating there," Mayor Barrett said.

Later this year, Mayor Barrett says construction will begin on a 50,000-square-foot building, which will house an unidentified light manufacturing operation.

"I don't want anybody to think that we're throwing in the towel at this site, because -- to the contrary, we've been investing millions of dollars in this site," Mayor Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett says he's not certain where the trains are headed, but published reports indicate Michigan may be the destination.


  • Bruceben9

    This is tragic, although I knew eventually it would happen. This is one of walker’s biggest mistakes. From what I have read, the annual cost of operation was minimal assuming it would not be used much. Walker turned down 800million in fed money when it would have been a good job source and revenue for the state in taxes. A major fail from the governor. Btw, I am not a dem.

  • cynic

    Actually since Talgo had no orders from any other rail systems in the country they would have been shut down anyway. You know this because if they had other business besides the tax-payer funded Doyle/Barrett pipe-dream, they wouldn’t have pulled out of what was supposed to be their North American headquarters. If our low-speed rail to Madison had been built the best Talgo would have had is the maintenance contract which wouldn’t have even paid the rent on their building. This was destined to fail from the beginning. We don’t need 18th century public transportation.

    • prytania

      18th century=1700s. No trains in the 1700s.

      HSR is a 21st century technology and it will be how most societies move people. It works very well and its efficient, too bad America does not believe that the taxpayer’s responsibility is to maintain infrastructure for future generations.

  • cynic

    Fine, 19th century, my bad. HSR still won’t get me from the west end of Waukesha to northside of Milwaukee every day any cheaper or quicker than my car. Still won’t get the working class poor to their jobs for any price they could actually afford without massive subsidies. Still only slightly helpful for travelling between major metro areas. Again though, round trip from Milwaukee to Madison is a tank of gas for $40 and an hour each way. I think the HSR projections a few years ago were a couple hours each way with several stops, and about $75 with subsidies. So it also wouldn’t help broke students get home from UW Madison on the weekends. Costs too much for commuters, expensive to maintain, not actually high speed (70 mph doesn’t count).

    No matter how you slice it, it is not a good alternative to what we already have. It doesn’t IMPROVE anything.

    • prytania

      It reduces the cost of road construction, gas dependence..which is only going to get pricier because of the energy costs to extract the oil, carbon emissions and it won’t leave our towns and cities dumps oriented around automobiles.

  • Eric Talbot

    It is likely these two unused trains will be broken up for scrap metal since they have been sitting around for so long now, they have deteriorated beyond salvage value.

    These lost trains were an unfortunate waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Lesson learned, I guess – the USA is not a country where trains can fit in. Our economy is based around roads and highways.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.