Rally Indicates Statewide Support for More Passenger Trains

March 12, 2019

For immediate release: March 12, 2019

Supporters Rally at the State Capitol for more Passenger Trains in Minnesota
Event activated supporters of passenger rail expansion to meet with their legislators

March 12, 2019 (St.Paul, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota conducted a rally for more passenger train service in Minnesota at the State Capitol on March 6, 2019. More than 70 supporters from around the state attended, coming from Brainerd, Winona, Red Wing, St. Cloud, Duluth and the Twin Cities metro area.

The event spurred action for supporters to meet individually with their legislators for more passenger rail service as defined in the MnDOT passenger rail plan. Supporters reported that their legislators were positive for legislation to fund more passenger service,

The event highlighted new planned service from the Twin Cities to Duluth, and additional service between the Twin Cities and Chicago, with extended services to St.Cloud and Fargo eventually bringing new and expanded service to 25 out-state communities.

Representatives Dan Wolgamott, Alice Hausman, Frank Hornstein, and Senators Melisa Franzen, Jerry Newton, and Senate President Jeremy Miller all spoke at the event in support of more passenger train service for the state. Representative Hausman stated: "Many other Midwestern states are investing in passenger rail, they see the benefits. We are being left behind and it will hurt our economic competitiveness if we don't step up."

Rail advocacy groups such as the Great River Rail Commission, Northern Lights Alliance, West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition, Smart Transportation, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center presented at the event. Amtrak and MnDOT representatives also attended.

All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson stated: "For the first time in years there is real momentum in the House and Senate to fund more passenger trains in Minnesota, with several funding bills introduced in both houses, and the Governor's Bonding request for $11m. Now is the perfect time to raise awareness within the legislature about the benefits of more passenger trains."

"More passenger trains offer tremendous economic and mobility benefits," Nelson added. "The additional service between the Twin Cities and Chicago would alone generate about $23M in net benefit to the state, along with reducing 15 million car miles in this corridor when this new service is provided.* For many types of travelers who do not like or cannot drive or fly, the train offers a real alternative," Nelson added.

About All Aboard Minnesota
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.

For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

*Rail Passenger Association report "Impacts from a Second Train to Minnesota." Full report can be found: https://www.allaboardmn.org/riding-on-a-train/economic-and-environmental-benefits-of-passenger-rail/

2019 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

Get on Board Forum in St. Cloud Press Release

September 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: September 12, 2018
Get on Board forum is September 26 in St. Cloud
Event to educate and activate supporters of passenger rail expansion


September 12, 2018 (St. Cloud, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard
Minnesota is encouraging community members to learn more about the benefits of
proposed additional passenger train service connecting St. Cloud to Fargo, the Twin Cities
and Chicago on September 26.


The Get on Board forum takes place Wednesday, September 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30
p.m. at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud. "There has been discussion of
extending the Northstar commuter service to St. Cloud. We will discuss the differences
between commuter rail service and long distance Amtrak type passenger service" said All
Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in and around St.
Cloud will benefit personally, the advantages of adding more long distance rail passenger
service, and what citizens can do to make these plans happen.”


Nelson will present details of the proposed additional passenger train service and believes
more train service is a great step towards a more connected Minnesota. “Did you know that
139,000 Minnesotans annually use the one train we have currently, the "Empire
Builder?" said Nelson. “Offering more passenger train service through St. Cloud to the Twin
Cities and Chicago expands mobility opportunities not only for travelers between the two
major metropolitan areas, but for all of the other communities in between.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.


For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Press Release - First Ever Upper Midwest Rail Summit

May 24, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: May 24, 2018
First Ever Upper Midwest Regional Passenger Rail Summit June 1, 2018


Event to educate and activate stakeholders and the public on passenger rail expansion,
including Amtrak, commuter rail, and light rail transit.


May, 24 2018 (St. Paul, MN ) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota in
conjunction with The Rail Users Network is encouraging community members throughout
the upper Midwest to learn more about plans for more rail passenger service as part of a
balanced transportation network with a public event on June 1, 2018.
The event will offer an opportunity to see the proposed plans for more rail service between
the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago, Duluth, Des Moines and Kansas City, in addition to
what the proposed plans are for more commuter and light rail service around the Twin
Cities metro area. The event will offer the opportunity to learn about large scale benefits for
the economy that passenger rail represents, as well as what community members can do to
make these proposed plans happen.


The Upper Midwest Regional Passenger Rail Summit takes place Friday, June 1, from
8:00am to 4:30pm, at the downtown Minneapolis Hennepin County Central Library,
located at 300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, MN. “Anyone who currently uses passenger
rail service and advocates of alternative transportation are all great audiences for this
event,” said All Aboard Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in
the upper Midwest will benefit personally and the economic benefits of adding more rail
passenger service.” Richard Rudolph, Chairman of the Rail Users Network added, “This
first ever regional rail summit for the upper Midwest will offer a very holistic view of the plans
for long distance service and light rail transit, and what additional rail service can do to
balance the transportation picture for all citizens.”


Speakers include Brian Lamb-General Manager of Metro Transit to give an update on light
and commuter rail expansion, MN House Rep. Alice Hausman to provide her view on
funding for passenger rail in Minnesota, Dan Krom-MnDot State Rail Passenger office
director to give an update on the State Passenger Rail plan, Kevin Brubaker –
Environmental Law & Policy Center to discuss how additional rail passenger service has
benefited communities in the upper Midwest, among other speakers.


The afternoon will include a round-table forum from the leading rail advocacy groups from
the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota to discuss their plans for making more rail
service a reality. Nelson believes additional rail service is essential for a more connected
Minnesota. “For too long, Minnesota has mainly focused on transportation funding for
roads, bridges and airways exclusively. Our peer states, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and
Missouri have recognized that additional passenger rail services can be added for less cost,
provide great mobility benefits, are definitely greener that cars or airplanes, and should be
part of a balanced transportation system,” said Nelson. Rudolf offered, “We are excited to
have this meeting in Minnesota. There is so much potential for additional rail services and if
the public is educated about it, they will realize the benefits for the economy and mobility
that other transportation options cannot provide.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
About Rail Users Network.
Rail Users Network is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization which promotes an extended and
positive rail passenger experience throughout the US. Rail Users Network can be reached
on line at: www.railusers.net; http://www.railusers.net
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Get on Board Forum in Winona Press Release

March 12, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For immediate release: March 12, 2018
Get on Board forum is March 27 in Winona
Event to educate and activate supporters of passenger rail expansion


March 12, 2018 (Winona, MN) The passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Minnesota in
conjunction with Amtrak is encouraging community members to learn more about plans for
a second daily train between the Twin Cities and Chicago with a public event on March 27.
The event will offer an opportunity to see the proposed plans of the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-
Chicago Second Train and learn about large scale benefits for the economy and the
Winona area, as well as what community members can do to make these proposed plans
happen.


The Get on Board forum takes place Tuesday, March 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the
Winona County History Center located at 160 Johnson St. in Winona. “Anyone who currently
uses Amtrak service, fans of alternative transportation, college students, and those who
seek another way to see our region are all great audiences for this event,” said All Aboard
Minnesota President Brian Nelson. “We will focus on how those in and around Winona will
benefit personally and the overall benefits of adding more rail passenger service.”


Nelson will present details of the Second Train service. Winona Mayor Mark Peterson will
provide an introduction. Derrick James, Senior Manager of Amtrak’s Government Affairs
Midwest Region will talk about how additional state corridor services benefit communities.
Nelson believes the Second Train is a great step towards a more connected Minnesota.
“Did you know that 41 percent of Winona college students have taken Amtrak to college at
least once?” said Nelson. “Offering a second train between the Twin Cities and Chicago
expands opportunities not only for travelers between the two major metropolitan areas, but
for all of the other communities in between.”


About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.
2018 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Minnesota Could Lose Passenger Trains - Press Release

April 24, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minnesota in danger of losing inter-city passenger trains
Trump budget eliminates AMTRAK Empire Builder train. No funds provided in State
budget for existing or planned passenger service.
St. Paul, Minnesota (April 24, 2017)


The Twin Cities Metro and 10 outstate cities will be without ALL inter-city rail service under
the Trump Transportation budget. Reductions call for eliminating long distance Amtrak
trains like the Empire Builder, currently the only inter-city passenger train serving
Minnesota. The Empire Builder provides service to Chicago and the West coast including
service to the Twin Cities Metro, Fargo/Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Staples/Brainerd, St
Cloud, Red Wing, Winona and La Crosse/La Crescent.


On the state level, the house and senate omnibus transportation bills completely eliminate
all funding for MNDOT’S state rail planning office. If that office does not get funding,
additional planning for expanded rail passenger service for Minnesotans would cease. It
would eliminate the projects to initiate service from Minneapolis Target Field to Duluth via
Cambridge and Hinckley, from St. Paul to Milwaukee and Chicago, and proposed service
from the Twin Cities to Des Moines and Kansas City.


Amtrak is the only public passenger transportation service in an increasing number of
communities that lack intercity bus and airline service, especially in rural Minnesota. The
Empire Builder served 146,689 Minnesota residents for their transportation needs during
2016, which is up 5.8% from 2015. The train over its whole route carried almost 450,000
passengers in 2016*. Planned additional service between the Twin Cities metro area,
Duluth and Chicago could add over 700,000 riders per year.


From an economic standpoint, Amtrak employs Minnesota residents, paying out almost
$3.4 million in wages and benefits, and spending almost $59 million on contracts and
procurements in the state during 2016. Every dollar spent on Amtrak service in a state
generates four dollars in economic activity*.


Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by DFM, a professional research firm,
demonstrated there is widespread and bi-partisan support for Amtrak. When asked if the
government should end all funding/support for Amtrak, 70 % of all interviewed, 6 0 % of
Republicans and 70% of Independents said NO! Over 80% said that funding for Amtrak
should stay the same (42%) or INCREASE (40%). Also, a clear majority, 56%, supported a
second Twin Cities -- Chicago Amtrak schedule. Modern Amtrak long distance trains trains
provide comfortable seating with ample leg and luggage room, with options to move around,
enjoy the scenery and fellow passengers.


“Legislators on the state and federal level need to understand that Amtrak long distance
trains are a needed and desired service for Minnesotans,” said Brian Nelson, President of
All Aboard Minnesota, a rail advocacy group.


The proposed legislative plan assumes the only forms of transportation that should receive
government funding are road and airway service. Rail provides a real transportation option
especially in rural areas where roads now are the only option.


“Expanding, not eliminating inter-city rail passenger service makes sense to serve
Minnesotans growing transportation needs, especially for rural Minnesota. As highways
become ever more expensive, upgrading existing rail lines to accommodate more
passenger service generally is one-tenth the cost of building new highways. Passenger
train service is also 33% more energy efficient than cars, and 20% more efficient than
airplanes.” Nelson stated.


For those citizens concerned about cuts to passenger train service in Minnesota, we urge
you contact your state and federal elected representatives today and state your opposition
to these cuts.


* Source – Amtrak
About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization
focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as
part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast,
comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to
the upper Midwest.


For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the
Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.


2017 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

September 22, 2016

Posted on September 26, 2016


MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian W. Nelson
612-781-2894 (Telephone)
[email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Legislators need to fund transportation – giving Minnesotans true transportation mobility

St. Paul, Minnesota (September 22, 2016 ) – All Aboard Minnesota was disappointed that a special session was not held to adequately fund transportation for Minnesotans. As state legislators reconvene in 2017 for a new session, we urge legislators to deliver a 2017 Transportation package that includes the $21 million needed by MnDot to fund rail passenger development on existing rail corridors designated in the State Rail Plan. The $21 million as proposed by bills HF 2791/SF2257 provides funding to expand intercity rail passenger service (Amtrak) on four key corridors within and connecting the state of Minnesota to the upper Midwest. These four main corridors are:

  1. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago
  2. Twin Cities to Duluth
  3. Twin Cities to Des Moines and Kansas City
  4. Additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Fargo/Moorhead

Passenger rail provides convenience and true mobility options to small communities in rural areas where airline and bus service is expensive, or lacking. It also provides travel options for college students, the disabled, and the elderly that have difficulty driving or flying. It provides all weather travel safety and reliability that other modes of transportation can’t match.

More passenger rail frequencies between the Twin Cities-Chicago, Duluth and Kansas City make sense. For the additional frequency between the Twin Cities and Chicago alone, Amtrak and MnDOT recently released studies that found this service would be very popular. The preliminary study estimates that over 200 additional riders would be drawn to the service each way daily, giving people a lower-cost alternative to flying.

Additional frequencies and new service would create substantial new economic growth and increased tourism all along these four routes that could offset modest annual operating costs. It is estimated that for every dollar invested in passenger rail service, local communities benefit by up to four dollars that is brought by tourism, and additional services purchased.

“Amtrak has realized record passenger growth during the past three years, hauling over 30 million passengers each year. People from all generations all over the country are voting with their ridership that they want more passenger train service,” said Brian Nelson, President of All Aboard Minnesota, a citizen advocacy group promoting increased train travel options in Minnesota.

“The state of Minnesota is underserved by Amtrak,” he said, “with one single train, that operates through the state in the middle of the night west of the Twin Cities and only provides one daytime frequency to Chicago. Other states have invested in more and better train service: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, California and others. They have all seen tremendous ridership growth. Illinois doubled its train frequency and saw the trains fill up in a matter of weeks! Illinois now fills 5 trains a day from Chicago-St. Louis. It only makes sense that fast, comfortable, modern trains should be a part of a truly balanced transportation system that provides Minnesotans with mobility options,” he added.

Additionally, there is the issue of energy efficiency and environmental impact. Trains are 30% more energy-efficient than cars, 20% more efficient than airplanes, resulting in less air pollution, less highway congestion, and less reliance on expensive regional air services.

Nelson also urged Minnesotans who would benefit from additional rail passenger services to get in touch with their state and federal legislators. “Legislators need to know their constituents are in support of expanded, better, and more convenient train service,” Nelson said, “and the upcoming session in 2017 is a good time to do it… while legislators are considering transportation issues. From the evidence we see, Minnesota could add significant new train services for one tenth of the cost of new roads in many cases… not only would it benefit the entire state economy, it would also benefit citizens from all over the state!”

About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and development of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.
For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at: www.allaboardmn.org.

2016 All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.

BNSF Update

April 21, 2016

We have created this page to give you an idea of the massive construction effort BNSF is taking in North Dakota to expand capacity along the Hi Line. The following trip report will give you indication of what is happening. This construction will ultimately alleviate, we hope, the persistent timekeeping problems with the Empire Builder and provide better freight service.

Spring 2015 Construction Update:

The BNSF 2015 construction season has begun. 6 billion dollars are being spent to upgrade and add capacity all over the railroad. Several of these projects will benefit the Empire Builder. Within Minneapolis itself the BNSF is adding a second main from Minneapolis junction (where the line to Willmar connects) through Union Yard to St Anthony tower (where Amtrak turns off the BNSF and onto the Minnesota Commercial). This will help keep Amtrak and certain freight trains from interfering with work at the BNSF Midway Hub Center.

Here is a photo looking East from the 15th street pedestrian bridge in Minneapolis. You can see where the sub grade has been exposed in order to lay the new track.

https://flic.kr/p/s7GGT9

And a view looking west from the same foot bridge.

https://flic.kr/p/spfBAM

All Aboard Minnesota goes to North Dakota to see why Amtrak is running so late

In late September 2014 your President, Brian Nelson and Treasurer, Bob Moen, went to North Dakota to see firsthand why the Empire Builder is running so late and what can be done about it. What we found was an army of men, bulldozers and equipment stretching across the state. BNSF started rebuilding and re-signaling the line from Fargo-Grand Forks-Minot last year. They expect to have that work done by freeze-up on December 1st. What the Empire Builder will have is a new railroad capable of 79 mph with modern signals, CTC sidings and crossovers. The line across the lake at Churches Ferry has been raised with a new bridge. This line will serve as the second mainline between Fargo and Minot complementing the traditional mainline via New Rockford. That line will also see upgrades and more sidings next year. BNSF is implementing directional running where all the trains on one route will run west and all on the other route will run east. Only Amtrak and a few freight trains will run in both directions on the Grand Forks line once the work is done.

The main work this year was west of Minot where BNSF has been building a second track to Williston on what had historically been a single track railroad most of the way. They have been bulldozing hills, filling in valleys and pushing dirt out into small lakes to build a second track. There are many stretches of the 120-mile route where track is in and operational for 6-7 mile sections. We found a significant portion has been fully graded, shaped and tamped into a roadbed awaiting ties, ballast and rail. It appears that BNSF crews have been trying to grade and shape as many miles as possible before freeze-up and are planning to lay rail, ties and ballast in the winter months when it is impossible to grade dirt. If this winter is severe, this work may have to wait for next spring. As of late September crews were filling in a large valley east of Epping and only a mile or so from the existing double track into Williston, ND. They expect to have 55 miles of double track completed by the end of the year on this segment. This is the biggest amount railroad construction in North Dakota since James J. Hill built the Great Northern in the 1890’s and the Milwaukee Road built across the southern section of the state in 1907.

We came away with the clear picture that BNSF is doing everything physically possible to get the congested railroad in North Dakota unclogged as quickly as possible. The problem the Empire Builder is facing, is the same one all shippers of grain and oil are facing. There is simply too much traffic and too many trains for the railroad to handle. The line is handling almost twice as much traffic as it handled ten years ago and probably 8 times as much as in the Great Northern days of the 1960’s when more passenger trains operated over the route. The fact is that the “pipe” is only so big and only so much can be pushed through it. No amount screaming, investigations or pressure from government entities is going to change that physical fact. Only adding another pipe (track) can fix the problem, which is exactly what BNSF is doing as fast as possible. We are as frustrated as anyone at the terrible on time performance of the Empire Builder, but we do not see any way this can be changed until these improvements are implemented. The day we were there, we observed over a dozen freight trains between Minot and Williston trying to pass each other going opposite directions on single track. Then we watched BNSF move all the freight trains out of the way for Amtrak. As soon as the Empire Builder had passed, the freight train traffic jam resumed.

Next year BNSF plans to finish North Dakota and concentrate on the line from Fargo to Minneapolis to add capacity there. We will keep up the pressure in Washington and St. Paul, but until the track work is done, we do not expect the Empire Builder to return to its traditional on time performance.

Here are some new pictures of the construction:

Here is a slightly tardy westbound Empire Builder at Berthold ND just some 23 miles west of Minot. Here you can see what looks like a road next to the tracks. That is actually the sub grade for the new second main. Note also the new welded rail sticks on the ballast next to the active mainline. While Berthold already had a siding it was left unaltered to become just a feeder track for the oil loading facility there. A completely new second main track is being laid rather than simply extending the Berthold siding to the next location.

In another view at Ross which is 61 miles west of Minot we see a BNSF local in the distance stepping through the construction zone. Note the new signals in the distance which will control a crossover point there. A crossover is just a group of switches that allow a train to move from one main track to the other. Note also the wide right of way and fresh rail laying on the new sub grade waiting for the track laying machine. As of February 2015 the second main is in place and active up to that ‘future’ crossover point in the distance.

Here are some other pictures:

Two Passenger Trains to Chicago and Back are a Real Possibility

April 18, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two Passenger Trains to Chicago and Back are a Real Possibility

St. Paul, Minnesota (April, 18, 2016 ) – Travelers between the Twin Cities and Chicago who are tired of the frustrations of flying and the hassles of driving (or taking a bus) have, for years, had the choice of just one Amtrak passenger train–, the “Empire Builder” — which leaves St. Paul for Chicago in the early morning hours and returns from Chicago in the late evening.

Now there is a real possibility of a second daily train leaving St. Paul’s Union Depot before noon and returning from Chicago at around the dinner hour…much more convenient for many more travelers between these two major metropolitan areas. The Departments of Transportation in both Minnesota and Wisconsin have agreed to study how to set up this new service.

Unlike the Empire Builder, which originates eastbound in Seattle, the new train would run exclusively between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago on the same route used by Amtrak’s current train. This should greatly increase the on-time reliability of the daily service.

Amtrak and MnDOT recently released studies that found this service to be economically viable. The preliminary study estimates that approximately 155,000 additional riders would be drawn to the service in its early years… reducing congestion on parallel I-94 and giving people a lower-cost alternative to flying.
In addition, this new additional service is expected to create substantial new economic growth and increased tourism all along its route that could offset its modest annual operating cost.

“Most people don’t realize it, but Amtrak has realized record passenger growth during the past three years, hauling over 30 million passengers each year,” said Brian Nelson, President of All Aboard Minnesota, a citizen advocacy group promoting increased train travel options in Minnesota. “People all over the country are proving with their wallets that they want more trains.”

“The state of Minnesota is underserved by Amtrak,” he said, “with the Empire Builder operating through the state in the middle of the night between Chicago and the Pacific northwest. Other states which have invested in more and better train service, such as Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Maine, North Carolina, California and others, have all seen tremendous ridership growth. It only makes sense that fast, comfortable, modern trains should be a part of a truly balanced transportation system,” he added.

And of course, there is the issue of energy efficiency and environmental impact. Trains are 30% more energy-efficient than cars, 20% more efficient than airplanes, resulting in less air pollution, less highway congestion, and less reliance on expensive regional air services.

Nelson also observed that trains are a uniquely satisfying way to travel. Modern coaches are quiet and comfortable, offering large seats that fully recline, and a smooth ride. Riders can get up and walk around, enjoy quiet time for reading or online surfing, have a snack or beverage in the lounge car, or simply relax and watch the scenery.

Nelson urged Minnesotans who would be interested in the second train to Chicago to get in touch with their state legislators and Senators. “Nothing will happen unless the legislators know their constituents are in support of better, more convenient train service,” Nelson said, “and NOW is a good time to do it… while legislators are considering transportation issues…. from the evidence we see, Minnesota could add significant new train services for one tenth of the cost of new roads in many cases… not only would it benefit the entire state economy, it would also benefit citizens from all over the state!”

About All Aboard Minnesota.
All Aboard Minnesota is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit advocacy and education organization focused on the expansion and developments of more long distance rail passenger service as part of a balanced transportation system. We are dedicated to the development of fast, comfortable, frequent, intercity passenger train services within and connecting Minnesota to the upper Midwest.

For more information, All Aboard Minnesota can be reached at (612) 781-2894 or on the Web at:
www.allaboardmn.org.

All Aboard Minnesota. All other trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.