Minnesota’s Northern Lights Express passenger train back on track?

December 17, 2015

In a little more than four years from now, state-of-the-art passenger trains could be traveling between the Twin Ports and the Twin Cities four times a day, bringing riders to Target Field Station in 2½ hours for a fare of between $30 and $32.Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

That was the vision presented on Wednesday as advocates for passenger rail presented a scaled-down version of the sidetracked and long-dreamed-of Northern Lights Express rail connection.

“I’m pleased to say that I’ve moved from cautiously to enthusiastically optimistic,” said St. Louis County Commissioner Steve Raukar, the chairman of the NLX Passenger Rail Alliance, during a news conference at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in the Depot.

 The primary reason: a reduced price tag, from an estimated $1 billion in 2009 to between $500 million to $600 million today, according to Frank Loetterie, project manager in the passenger rail office for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which is now the project’s lead agency.

In an interview, Loetterie said the savings can be achieved by two alterations to the original plan: reducing the top speed from 110 mph to 90 mph and cutting the number of daily round trips from eight to four.

Click here to read the full story from the Duluth News Tribune.


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