MNDOT State Rail Plan- Our response

Every five years, the State of Minnesota is required to update and submit its rail plan, among others, and resubmit to the Feds.  That time is now, and The All Aboard Minnesota Board has taken a comprehensive look at the plan and has written a thorough response.  It is posted in the About Us section of the site – in What’s New.  Its quite long, but we felt this is our chance to give thoughtful input to MNDOT based upon our view and expertise.

You will note its similar in scope to other statements we have published, like our views on service to Rochester, but this statement covers every aspect of MNDOT’s passenger rail plan.  Overall we felt the plan is very comprehensive – but far to Minnesota centric.  We feel there should be greater connectivity to the national network as a whole.  So, If you have some time please read it and we welcome your comments and feedback.

Our response has been submitted to MNDOT, and also several key contacts that have influence with the plan.

Happy New Year – and Empire Builder to resume “normal” schedule

Happy New Year to all!  The Board of All Aboard Minnesota would like to especially thank all of the members that have joined us this year and we sincerely appreciate all of your comments and suggestions.  We could not do our work without you!

As we noted in our December newsletter, the Empire Builder will go pack to its previous schedule- prior to April 15, 2014 on Jan 12, 2015 – the following article was published in the Trains Mag newsletter:

CHICAGO — Amtrak’s Empire Builder is scheduled to end its detours through North Dakota and resume its normal route and schedule, effective with departures of Jan. 12.

Amtrak announced the move this week. It will bring an end to reroutes made to accommodate BNSF Railway construction.

“Amtrak and BNSF continue to work cooperatively on the operational and maintenance issues that affect Amtrak trains on this line,” the passenger railroad says in a press release. “BNSF is commited to work to improve the performance of the Empire Builder going forward.”

Three hours were added to eastbound schedules and 90 minutes to westbound trains. Bus connections were used to serve passengers in stops at Rugby, Devils Lake and Grand Forks, N.D., that were missed by trains traveling in one direction.

Originally, westbound train No. 7 took a detour over BNSF’s KO subdivision while eastbound No. 8 followed the regular route, but the trains flipped routes in October to expedite traffic patterns during the grain-harvest season.