2nd Chicago-St. Paul Train Study Released

A feasibility study of operating a second passenger train between Chicago and Minnesota has concluded that the service would cost $95 million to implement and require an annual operating support of $6.6 million.

The expected start-up costs would be for infrastructure capacity improvements. The figures are for a Chicago-St. Paul, Minnesota, service. Operating between Chicago and St. Cloud, Minnesota, would cost an additional $46.4 million.

The study was conducted by Amtrak for the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation.

The only intercity rail service between Chicago and Minnesota is the daily Empire Builder, which operates between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.

The study’s scope included an assessment of schedules, ridership, revenue, infrastructure investments, operating costs and equipment needs. It assumed that the second round trip would use the same route as the Empire Builder via Milwaukee and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The study recommended an environmental review of the project. The proposed second train would depart from Chicago in the morning and in mid-day from St. Paul.

Ridership on the additional daily train would be an estimated 155,000 passengers. The Empire Builder carries 104,000 between St. Paul and Chicago.

The study is available at www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrail.


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