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Plans moving forward for Minneapolis-to-Duluth high-speed passenger rail line [MAP]

There hasn't been a passenger rail line connecting Minneapolis and Duluth since 1986. That could soon change.
There hasn't been a passenger rail line connecting Minneapolis and Duluth since 1986. That could soon change.
Image by Tatiana Craine

Plans for a Northern Lights Express train connecting Minneapolis and Duluth recently cleared a major hurdle with the completion of an environmental report that found the high-speed line wouldn't have a major impact on the surrounding area.

FROM LAST YEAR: Plans progressing for high-speed rail to Chicago

According to KSTP, the state is spending $8 million on preliminary engineering work that will begin soon and could take two or three years. The total project cost is estimated to be more than $800 million.

The Northern Star Express is planned to have four stops between Minneapolis and Duluth -- Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley, and Superior, Wisconsin. Here's a map (click to enlarge):


The train would travel at speed up to 110 miles per hour, but even so, it wouldn't get you up to Duluth in significantly less time than driving. According to Finance & Commerce, total trip time on the train would be two hours and 17 minutes, which is just 13 minutes less than what it typically takes to drive from Minneapolis to Duluth on Interstate 35.

Though preliminary engineering work will soon begin, a plan to fund construction of the line isn't yet in place. Finance & Commerce reports that the federal government typically covers 80 percent of the cost of passenger rail projects.


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