NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

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NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:10 pm

Interesting. Northland News Center

High Speed Rail Gains Speed in the Northland

he project was one of 22 successful applicants picked in May of 2011 to receive a 5 million dollar grant from the U.S Department of Transportation.
The train also received 1.1 million dollars in funding from the federal railroad administration.
But money isn't the only thing backing NLX.
"I'll pound on the president's door, I'll pound on the transportation secretary's door, I'll pound on every member of that congress until we get this thing funded and get it moving," said Congressmen Rick Nolon.
...
Taking the train to the twin cities from Duluth would take about 2 hours and fifteen minutes with three stops in between.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:11 pm

Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:02 pm

EIS shows no significant impacts. Looks like all they need at this point is for the Feds to give them the construction funding. http://kstp.com/news/stories/s2987554.shtml
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:23 pm

Just the prelim work won't be done until 2016.. Looks like it'll be quite awhile before this thing can get started.
http://ecmpostreview.com/2013/04/12/hig ... -on-track/
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:35 pm

Aside from the postings here and a few notes on the Northstar Commuter Rail Facebook page, I haven't heard a thing about it recently at the state government level or among local railroad types (professional or amateur, like myself.) Thanks for finding this information, NH2060.

It seems like BNSF would get more use from a non-dedicated second main from Isanti to Hinckley, unless they are actively avoiding whatever equipment would be necessary to run freight on a 110 mph line. Does the plan call for 110 mph over any of the other stretches from Isanti south or Hinckley north?
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:04 pm

Not that I'm aware of. Certainly the number of grade crossings along the line that need flashers, let alone gates or quad gates, will keep top speeds (and therefore costs) down.
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby lpetrich » Sun May 26, 2013 1:47 am

Plans Progress for High-Speed Rail from Mpls to Duluth | KSTP TV - Minneapolis and St. Paul (last month) has a map of the proposed line. I've added metro-area populations:

Twin Cities: 3.3m
Coon Rapids (Twin Cities suburb)
Cambridge: 8k
Hinckley: 2k
Duluth: 280k
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:50 pm

Rather late posting this as it was announced early in September, but some good news for the NLX project:
http://www.northernlightsexpress.org/jo ... ssessment-
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby electricron » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:20 pm

This rail corridor length is 155 miles, the projected elapse time of travel is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
That means this train will average 68.88 mph. Assuming each of the three intermediate stations loses 5 minutes, the train can cover the 155 miles in 2 hours of traveling time, now averaging 77.5 mph. Hello, a conventional passenger train over Class IV tracks can reach 79 mph. Can this really be classified as a high speed rail corridor?
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:41 pm

electricron wrote:This rail corridor length is 155 miles, the projected elapse time of travel is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
That means this train will average 68.88 mph. Assuming each of the three intermediate stations loses 5 minutes, the train can cover the 155 miles in 2 hours of traveling time, now averaging 77.5 mph. Hello, a conventional passenger train over Class IV tracks can reach 79 mph. Can this really be classified as a high speed rail corridor?

Well you're comparing average speeds of 68.88 mph and 77.5 mph vs. an absolute top speed of 79 mph. But to be fair to your calculations only certain stretches (still an overall significant portion nonetheless) of the route will be rated for 110 mph.

I for one am not sure if the Minneapolis-Duluth corridor even warrants a higher-speed rail service like this, but the folks at NLX must know what they're doing and, therefore, must be doing something right. I do think at the very least a 79 mph service with perhaps 2-3 RTs per day is a reasonable minimum service level.
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:36 pm

NH2060 wrote:
electricron wrote:This rail corridor length is 155 miles, the projected elapse time of travel is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
That means this train will average 68.88 mph. Assuming each of the three intermediate stations loses 5 minutes, the train can cover the 155 miles in 2 hours of traveling time, now averaging 77.5 mph. Hello, a conventional passenger train over Class IV tracks can reach 79 mph. Can this really be classified as a high speed rail corridor?

Well you're comparing average speeds of 68.88 mph and 77.5 mph vs. an absolute top speed of 79 mph. But to be fair to your calculations only certain stretches (still an overall significant portion nonetheless) of the route will be rated for 110 mph.

I for one am not sure if the Minneapolis-Duluth corridor even warrants a higher-speed rail service like this, but the folks at NLX must know what they're doing and, therefore, must be doing something right. I do think at the very least a 79 mph service with perhaps 2-3 RTs per day is a reasonable minimum service level.

But the unofficial minimum speed limit on I-35 is 79 mph! :P

In theory, the State could start this service tomorrow by using laid-over Northstar equipment and contracting with BNSF for slots. I don't know whether any parts of the Hinckley and Superior Subs are rated for 79 mph though, let alone their entire distances, and the NLX website makes it clear that BNSF requires extra sidings at the very least for proper train movement. I think the demand is there, as long as MnDOT actually gets all the way to Duluth - no stopping halfway, like with the Northstar service and St. Cloud.
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:24 pm

Ridership survey results are in. Apparently the interest in the NLX is 3x more than what the DOT expected:
http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S3377073.shtml
http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/conten ... lx-surveys
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:10 am

Some news from early in May regarding the location of the Duluth stop:
http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/new ... 83411.html
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:36 am

So it's been awhile, but some recent news on the NLX:

The Minnesota DOT to host 4 open houses on the project:
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/h ... ice--42669

The NLX is to be added to the state's 2015 State Rail Plan update:
Ken Buehler, a member of the Northern Lights Express Joint Alliance, said there are four passenger trains MnDOT is including in this plan, adding that the Northern Lights Express is one getting high priority as they vy for federal backing.

http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/s3623090.shtml
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Postby NH2060 » Thu May 28, 2015 12:06 am

Still in the planning stages, but progress is being made:
According to Francis Loetterle, MnDOT project manager, a second-level environmental review is currently being conducted, as well as ridership forecasts, revenue projections and cost-benefit analysis.

The environmental work is expected to be completed in February 2016, while the ridership, revenue and cost-benefit study, which will include capital and operation cost estimates and the number of trips each day, is anticipated to be done this summer, Loetterle said.

http://abcnewspapers.com/2015/05/15/pla ... s-express/
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