Northern Lights Express: an idea yet to be


Cities that are proposed to have stations connecting to this railroad.

Eva Anderson, Staff Writer

Passenger Rail Service is still in question after 11 years of heated argument 

Back in 2010 an idea for passenger rail service was proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to connect Minneapolis and Duluth. The rail service would stretch across several cities (including Cambridge MN) of 157 miles. However, this railroad is no ordinary railroad since it was planned to be high speed traveling at 90 mph miles per hour. Passengers could potentially get from Minneapolis to Duluth in less than 3 hours. 

Don’t mistake this for a railway as it is already built (located in town). The Minnesota Department of Transportation is just looking to upgrade the railroad so it is a passenger service and is more energy efficient.

There are many concerns about this proposal, which is one reason why this discussion has stretched for more than 11 years. A hurdle for the line’s construction is the enormous cost. It is estimated that the cost would be in excess of $600 million. Potential investors have yet to come forward. It is likely that substantial funding will be from the public sector. The project is seeking federal funding at the moment, but they need state funding which is being withheld from them by reluctant state representatives. 

Passenger railway service does have some powerful supporters including Mary Murphy, a state representative who proposed a bill of $46 million. 

Will we derail the railroad or will we light up the northern light expressway? That answer is yet to be determined.