NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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mtuandrew
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:46 am

Got this in my inbox today.
Northern Lights Express Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment document available

Public Meetings to be held in May

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, have released the Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment document on the Northern Lights Express Project, a proposed higher speed intercity passenger rail project to provide rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth.

The NLX Project would operate on approximately 152 miles of existing BNSF railway track.

The agencies prepared the Tier 2 Project Level EA document to meet federal and state environmental requirements to advance the NLX Project into further design and project development.

The Tier 2 Project Level EA builds on the NLX Tier 1 Service Level EA prepared in 2013, and addresses specific project-related issues and likely environmental effects associated with proposed track infrastructure, stations, and layover and maintenance facilities and measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate these impacts.

The Tier 2 Project Level EA document is available on the project website, http://www.mndot.gov/nlx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, and at local government offices and libraries throughout the corridor. A list of locations to view the document is available below.

Written comments on the Tier 2 Project Level EA are due by May 24, 2017.

Send comments to Francis Loetterle, MnDOT, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470, St. Paul, MN 55155 or email to nlx.dot@state.mn.us.

NH2060
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by NH2060 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:56 pm

More progress being made:
DULUTH, MN -
Building the Northern Lights Express train takes money, so next on the to-do list is to secure funding for the passenger rail project serving Duluth and the Twin Cities.

The high-speed train project has the green light to start securing funding.
http://www.kbjr6.com/story/37813521/nor ... ct-process" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

electricron
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by electricron » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:13 am

How can they get away with calling the proposed Northern Lights train high speed rail (HSR) when it is using over 150 miles of BNSF tracks? 79 or 90 mph max speeds should not be called HSR, imho.

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:20 am

electricron wrote:How can they get away with calling the proposed Northern Lights train high speed rail (HSR) when it is using over 150 miles of BNSF tracks? 79 or 90 mph max speeds should not be called HSR, imho.
Note that MnDOT no longer calls NLX high speed rail, but “higher speed.” The news media hasn’t caught up with the new term, and I suspect many in the media or in the general public still imagine a bullet train.

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by ExCon90 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:12 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Note that MnDOT no longer calls NLX high speed rail, but “higher speed.” The news media hasn’t caught up with the new term, and I suspect many in the media or in the general public still imagine a bullet train.
Catching up may take awhile--a news story the other day about Kim Jong Un's state visit to China reported that his special train "chugged" into the station in Beijing.

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by NH2060 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:56 pm

ExCon90 wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:Note that MnDOT no longer calls NLX high speed rail, but “higher speed.” The news media hasn’t caught up with the new term, and I suspect many in the media or in the general public still imagine a bullet train.
Catching up may take awhile--a news story the other day about Kim Jong Un's state visit to China reported that his special train "chugged" into the station in Beijing.
I don't think they meant that literally. The media use all kinds of alternative phrases these days :-P


As for high speed vs. higher speed I doubt the traveling public will care as long as the train meets the projected travel time and is reliable. Though considering how relatively straight the line is and that upgrades will need to be done anyway MNDOT probably is shooting for that top 90mph threshold as much as it can.

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by Rockingham Racer » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:20 pm

One sees "chugged" and "chugging" a lot in American journalism, too. Sorta shows how the steam engine ingrained itself into our psyche, don't you think?

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by Backshophoss » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:53 pm

To be fair,that N Korea "presidental" train is Armour plated and SO HEAVY that the best speed is about 37 mph.
There's an advance train,along with a supply/support train,that are Armour plated as well and are that fast to boot! :P
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by Jeff Smith » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:10 pm

Engineering money proposal: DuluthNewsTribune.com
...
Northern Lights Express money — HF 387

At stake here is another step toward high-speed passenger rail linking Minneapolis and Duluth. This bill would commit $4 million in state money “for completion of engineering” of the project that is expected to cost at least $500 million in total.

The bill was referred to the House Transportation Finance and Policy subcommittee Jan. 28; there was not a Senate companion bill as of Friday.
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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:14 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:One sees "chugged" and "chugging" a lot in American journalism, too. Sorta shows how the steam engine ingrained itself into our psyche, don't you think?
Diesel engines also make a "chugging" sound, so it's not that much of a stretch. It's not like they said it "steamed" in.

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Re: NLX Northern Lights Express HSR MN Duluth-Twin Cities

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:53 pm

Though I’ve seen “steamed in” too, Rock & Ridge.

Wish I had something constructive to contribute to this thread as it will benefit my family and friends (and me when I visit home.)

I’ll be interested to see how they connect to Amtrak, if at all. Right now the only connection between St Paul Union Depot and Minneapolis Target Field Station will be via the Green Line LRT, but at the Empire Builder arrival times you couldn’t directly transfer CHI-MSP-DUL. (I’m assuming there won’t be a midnight Northern Lights Express out of Minneapolis anyway.) The only travelers that would conceivably use an NLX-Builder connection would be from St Cloud and points west, since east of Elk River you’d drive to a connection at Coon Rapids. West of Elk River though, it’s faster and more convenient to just drive to Duluth or Hinckley. Otherwise you’re staying overnight in the Cities regardless, and LRT or a taxi/Uber is cheap.

If Amtrak, Wisconsin, and Minnesota get serious about a Twin Cities Hiawatha, they can terminate at Target Field to make those connections. Regardless, Amtrak should consider a Coon Rapids Builder stop as well as Elk River or Big Lake. There’s a lot of northern suburbs that have an obnoxious choice of driving 75 miles to MSP and driving 90 miles to STC.

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New Start Corridors and Duluth - Doing it right

Post by Tadman » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:54 am

So recently I read this article that suggests the new Duluth-MSP train might be flawed from the start given that a new bus has offered $9 trips on a parallel route.
https://streets.mn/2019/03/27/could-the ... be-a-flop/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Having recently rode a "Flixbus" for $11 from Tucson to Phoenix, I can attest to the success of this bus concept. It was super easy and cheap. If Amtrak is to survive long-term in the corridor market, they have got to figure a way to compete. Another alternative is the contract the equipment and on-board staff to FLIX while operating personnel are BNSF. It would appear Flix runs trains in Germany in addition to buses.

https://blog.rail.cc/flixtrain-stuttgart-berlin/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From my experience on their buses and seeing their open access trains, there is minimal staffing, no food, and certainly none of the big station BS where they treat passengers like drug addicts in a dryout camp. Some might posit that "Amtrak isn't competing in that space" but its a fact of life that these operators are making good money and taking viable passengers.

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Re: New Start Corridors and Duluth - Doing it right

Post by mtuandrew » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:44 pm

I’m glad there’s bus service starting. It doesn’t fill the train niche - the train is as much a development tool as a transportation device, and picks up Cambridge, Fridley and Hinckley - but it would be nice to not need a car to visit Duluth proper.

That said, Flixbus will probably stop at the casino, which NLX will never do, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they also had a rest stop at Casey’s for sweet rolls.

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Re: New Start Corridors and Duluth - Doing it right

Post by dgvrengineer » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:09 pm

I think one thing they need to consider is service starting from St. Paul rather than Minneapolis Target Station. Excluding St. Paul Union Station would preclude any Amtrak connection. One of the problems is a backup move would be required to serve Target Station in or out which would be time consuming. Another problem they need to tackle is the hour required to travel from St. Paul US to Coon Creek. Very slow travel through the City.

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Re: New Start Corridors and Duluth - Doing it right

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:52 pm

dgvrengineer wrote:I think one thing they need to consider is service starting from St. Paul rather than Minneapolis Target Station. Excluding St. Paul Union Station would preclude any Amtrak connection. One of the problems is a backup move would be required to serve Target Station in or out which would be time consuming. Another problem they need to tackle is the hour required to travel from St. Paul US to Coon Creek. Very slow travel through the City.
I’d agree, except there’s really no useful way to connect to/from the Empire Builder. The Builder departs St. Paul for Chicago too early to make connections with the morning train from Duluth, and arrives well after the last Duluth train would have left for the day. People riding Amtrak from west of the Cities could connect at St. Paul Union Depot, but it would serve them better to take Northstar and transfer at Fridley (current or proposed) or Minneapolis. Once you’re west of Big Lake it’s considerably faster to drive/bus up MN 23 or MN 210 anyway. I’m pretty sure the casino runs a cheap bus that would get a dedicated traveler STC-Hinckley for a train connection to Duluth.

Another tale in the “Minnesota needs a Morning Hiawatha, and also the Red Rock Corridor” saga.

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