Bugline Trailhead Train Depot, Wisconsin

The Village of Sussex, Wisconsin found an innovative way to repurpose an unused historical train depot into a trailhead for the Bugline Trail

The Bugline Trail, located roughly 20 miles northeast of Milwaukee, is getting a big trailhead upgrade from the Village of Sussex, located around the halfway point of the trail. The old Sussex train depot will now serve as a trailhead complete with bathrooms, a bike repair station, and a space for community rentals.

by American Trails


The historic train depot being moved into place, in front of the brand new train-themed playground.

The Bugline Trail in Waukesha County, Wisconsin is a 16 mile rail-trail, open for cycling, walking, and horseback riding. The trail winds through several parks in the county, including Madeline Park in the Village of Sussex. Recently, thanks to a Recreational Trails Program grant, the village of Sussex was able to come up with an innovative trailhead idea, which repurposes their unused historic train depot as a trailhead in the park. The train depot previously housed the Sussex-Lisbon Historical Society, but was left empty after they moved to another location.

Rather than demolish the train depot, the town came up with the plan to create a unique trailhead that would have a deep connection to the town, and the rail-trail. The RTP funds were used for several things during this multi-step process. Firstly, the train depot had to be relocated from its previous position in the town to where it now sits in Madeline Park.

Other aspects of the project included, renovating the depot so it can serve as a functional trailhead, constructing a playground in the park next to the train depot, constructing an additional parking lot in the park for anticipated greater use with the new playground and trailhead, creating a new cross walk outside of the park for pedestrians, and creating a new asphat pathway from the Bugline Trail to both the new trailhead and the new park.

Madeline Park will officially open its train depot trailhead on June 1, 2019 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The train depot features a bathroom accessible to trail users as well as rentable space for events and parties. It will also house a bike repair station. The playground adjacent to the trailhead features train-themed, interactive play.

This project, which will create a community space and bring more people onto the Bugline Trail, is just one of thousands of projects funded every year through the Recreational Trails Program. If you have an RTP project you would like us to feature, please email trailhead@americantrails.org, and let us know.