Minnesota Report

The idea of reviving the train route from the Twin Cities to Duluth is a high dosage of nostalgia for those yearning for a passage back to another era. The sights of the porters loading the bags and the conductors punching the tickets in their long black buttoned down jackets and funny hats. The sound of the clickity clack of the railcars over the tracks, the excitement of traveling through the sliding doors between the cars with only a scissor gate barrier between you and the world rushing by outside. One highlight, for a child being a trip to the dining car for a box of Animal Crackers. It brings back a host of memories and a pleasant smile while seeing the same, down an aisle, on a shelf at the grocery store. It always interesting how yesteryear easily appears from a distant memory.

As declared this project is one of the most shovel ready and a reading from the MNDOT website says, “The Federal Railroad Administration completed an environmental review and approved the service development plan in early 2018. The project is eligible for an 80% federal matching grant, contingent upon securing state funding.”

The NLX line would be run by Amtrak on rail lines owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). Who doesn’t remember seeing the Mountain Goat on the side of the Great Northern boxcars, or having it on a deck of playing cards at grandma’s house? We encourage all who share our thoughts to make a trip to Duluth and visit the Duluth Depot. The vast array of Iron Horses are on display and polished up to their grand visage, but the sounds of the purging steam, and the bustle of the crowds are missing from the entirety of the picture.

We doubt James J Hill (Empire Builder) would fully approve since he wouldn’t be the owner of the operation

The mainstay of the opposition to the advancement of this restoration stemmed from Republican lawmakers, who conflate the issue of passenger rail with the reduction of service for the NorthStar line. Sen Jeff Howe (R-13, Rockville) who donned the role of chief critic, and expressed his opposition due to the lack of reliability of this other line during COVID. Like staunch opponents to commuter rail in the past like former Rep Phil Krinkie (R-Shoreview) who was a sharp critic of Light Rail, though some conscious observers have seen Krinkie step off of the train at Gopher Football games.

The use of rail, when fully implemented is a very efficient means of travel and takes the care away, when people can ride versus drive from city-to-city. As anyone should know, commuter rail was how President Joe Biden (D) traveled from Delaware to Washington DC. Traveling by this method on the eastern seaboard is a common occurrence and why Washington Union Station is a bustle and hubbub each and every day.

The Zenith City is a serious destination point in our state, and Duluth has suffered greatly since the loss of this method of transportation, and the return of rail will be a boost to the local economy and points along the way.