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New 2nd Train: Twin Cities to Chicago - Borealis

7/12/2024 - Borealis success is getting noted! Recently Brian Nelson from All Aboard Minnesota was interviewed by WCCO Radio on the train's success; Amtrak’s new train service between St. Paul, Chicago success (

7/5/2024 Borealis Ridership Update - the Borealis continued to do very well in June with total ridership of 18,557, which equals a daily average of 618.6. #1333 Westbound carried a total of of 9,906, or 330 daily, and #1340 Eastbound carried a total of 8,651, or 288 daily (these ridership numbers are from WisDOT). Thanks to all of you who have taken trips on the Borealis. Let's keep this up! At this pace and if this ridership keeps up, the train will be a resounding success and above all forecasts, see below!

6/30/2024 - Borealis Update - the service is off to a great start, with over 600 passengers a day, 329 Westbound per day, and 275 Eastbound per day according to WisDOT . This equates to over 220,000 riders per year! All Aboard Minnesota forecasted 155,000 riders per year, and Amtrak and MnDOT forecasted around 125.000 riders per year. So, the intial resuts are above all forecasts. This proves the demand is there for more rail passenger service in our state and region! We will keep you posted on further progress.

On May 21, our new 2nd train from the Twin Cities to Chicago began, named Borealis! A huge thank you to all of our friends, members, and colleagues who made the Borealis happen! We all worked together for years and it paid off with our new train. We all won together!

Events and ribbon cutting ceremonies were held in St. Paul, Red Wing, Winona, and LaCrosse. Several AAMN members participated in the first run and described it as a great experience! The mood was "celebratory, relaxed, fun, joyful" as our members put it. There were great turnouts at all these stations and covered by local media. We have posted some of that coverage on our Facebook page.

The event in St. Paul was attended by approximately 200 people, and there was great press coverage from the StarTribune, Pioneer Press, MPR, Kare 11, and many others. Ian Buck from Streets MN (with whom we have done a few podcasts in the past) covered the first run. His podcast is posted here

Speakers in St. Paul included:

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan; FRA Administrator Amit Bose; Senator Amy Klobuchar State Director Erika Nelson; Congresswoman Betty McCollum Outreach Director, Charlie Hammond; Minnesota Department of Transportation, Jean Wallace; Minnesota House Transportation Committee Chair Frank Hornstein; Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega; Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Martinson; Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; and Amtrak CEO Steven Gardner.

Amtrak CEO Gardner got off the train in at least Red Wing, Winona, and LaCrosse to cut ribbons and greet passengers! All Aboard Minnesota Board Directors were on hand for the first westbound run to greet arriving passengers and handed out commorative first run post cards!

The Borealis is significant and historic because this is the first new passenger train the state of Minnesota has experienced since 1975, with the advent of the North Star between the Twin Cities and Duluth. We will use this page to promote the new train, and keep you updated with developments and its performance. We strongly believe the Borealis will be a resounding success, and will change the conversation from "why should we add more passenger train service" to "where and when should we add more passenger train service." The Borealis will add mobility options, economic benefits, and offers a greener choice for travel.

AAMN Board Directors talk about the significance of the new train: MAY 21 Borealis Launch

Chris Ott of Midwest High Speed Rail and Brian Nelson All Aboard Minnesota President on May 21

All Aboard Minnesota believes that the Borealis will lead to more passenger rail service for Minnesotans, and the build out of a more robust passenger rail network. The next routes we believe will offer the most potential are:

  • Extending the Borealis to Fargo/Moorhead on a daytime schedule on the current Empire Builder route
  • New sevice from the Twin Cities to Kansas City, connecting us to the California Zephyr serving Denver and San Francisco, and the Southwest Chief, serving Phoenix and Los Angeles

Equipment and Timing

  • Borealis will consist of four refreshed Horizon equipment coaches, and an Amfleet Cafe/Business class car
  • The trian will make the trip between the Twin Cities and Chicago in 7 1/2 hours, about 30 minutes faster than the Empire Builder.

Lets make the Borealis a huge success! Ride it often, and enjoy your trip. Here is the schedule and cafe car menu:

Borealis Timetable (note - includes the Empire Builder schedule for comparison)

Borealis Cafe Menu