Archive | Trains

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The Importance of Airport-Downtown Rail Connections

Direct transit links are not only good for urban quality of life but improve regional competitiveness. They should be a no-brainer. Being able to land in a city and board a train with assurance you’ll be downtown in a fixed amount of time provides peace of mind for residents, tourists and businesspeople alike. A pleasant […]

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Delta Airlines US route map

How a Hub-and-Spoke Model Could Improve Metro Rail Transit

Airlines utilize hub-and-spoke models of route mapping. For Delta, the Twin Cities’ local dominant airline, Atlanta (ATL) is a major hub of that map, along with Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (STL) and other airports. Remember the refrain that the path to hell passes through Atlanta? Whatever your destination in the Southeast, chances are […]

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Counting The Homeless On The Train One July Evening

Dignity. Housing. Help. Five dollars. That’s what some people clamored for when they saw us on the Blue Line one July morning. With our safety vests on and our clipboards wielded, they recognized us as staff (volunteer or paid, it didn’t seem to matter to them) conducting the Point-In-Time Count. It’s a quarterly – now […]

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Join us on the Northstar Holiday Train December 15!

Metro Transit and BNSF are offering a holiday train to St. Paul Union Depot again! As last year, streets.mn is doing a small event for those that wish to ride it. It was quite an enjoyable ride, with some trackage normally not used for current commuter service (though we can always discuss how it should […]

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The Quarterly Transit Report — November 2018

Dealing with a driver shortage, and a budget deficit Few people set out to be bus drivers. They select the job because the pay and benefits are good, even though the working hours tend to be inconvenient. So when unemployment is low, Metro Transit has difficulty recruiting enough drivers to offset retirements, let alone grow […]

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Trip Report: Amtrak Empire Builder Chicago-St. Paul

How about the train? Way back in December I had already planned most of my 3-month summer tour of Europe, but I hadn’t decided on how I would return home. I narrowed my options to a flight from Europe directly to Minneapolis (boring, but the quickest), fly from Europe to Chicago and then Amtrak to […]

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A Regional Rail System for the Twin Cities

Following my post on potential Twin Cities rapid transit routes, which you can find here, next is the topic of regional/commuter rail in the Twin Cities region. Minnesota has one example of regional rail; the Northstar Line between Minneapolis and Big Lake in the northwest region operating on existing BNSF Railway track. The Northstar Line is how […]

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My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 2 of 3

Here is Part 1 in the series.   We took the first Northstar headed out of town, at the crack of 11 am. We just barely made it to the platform in time: I had to rearrange some of my pack, and it took us a couple tries to find how to get down to the station from […]

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Living in Union Depot

May 21, 2016 Lowertown, Downtown 15 miles The grand and solemn Saint Paul Union Depot is a train station. Although this seems patently obvious, Union Depot in fact took a 43 year break – from 1971 until 2014 – as the train station for Saint Paul. Today, Saint Paul Union Depot is a transit hub, […]

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The Original Dan Patch Line: LRT Potential

Please note that this should not be confused with the Dan Patch Corridor, a proposed regional/commuter/intercity rail line between Minneapolis and Northfield, and possibly further south. The original Dan Patch Line, known as the High Line, was built in 1910 between South Minneapolis and Northfield. Before the Dan Patch Line (later Minneapolis Northfield & Southern […]

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