Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Northern Lights Express

Proposed passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth, MN


Station locations are being discussed with communities along the NLX corridor. In Minneapolis, NLX passengers will board and disembark at Target Field Station. In Duluth, trains will arrive and leave at or near the Duluth Depot. At both of these terminals, a layover facility will be provided to allow at least one train to spend the night, and be cleaned and inspected for the next day’s service.

Although potential sites were identified in the Tier 1 System Level Environmental Assessment, station locations in Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley and Superior have not been finalized. That will change soon! MnDOT staff have met with representatives from these communities to discuss potential station sites, and also discussed potential sites for layover and light maintenance activities with officials from both Duluth and Sandstone. Over the next few months, MnDOT will do a detailed review to determine the best station and facility sites, and prepare conceptual designs to ensure each site is suitable for its proposed function. Stations at intermediate communities will include:

  • A boarding platform
  • Platform shelters
  • A climate controlled station building with seating, bathrooms, ticket machines and other amenities
  • Full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Parking and vehicle access for efficient  drop-off/pick-up
  • Bus, pedestrian, and bicycle access
  • Lighting and other security measures

MnDOT will own and maintain facilities constructed specifically for the NLX Project. In some cases, MnDOT may lease existing facilities owned by other public agencies. Local communities will not be obligated to contribute to the construction, operation or maintenance of stations, unless they want to pursue a joint use development opportunity.

Open houses will be held in early December 2014 to allow the public to comment on concept designs for each station and facility, as well as provide input on the process used to make final site selections.

Grade crossing improvements

MnDOT is reviewing each grade crossing along the proposed NLX route and preparing recommendations for improvements. Special emphasis will be focused on grade crossing warning devices, such as gates and flashers, to ensure that they are appropriate for the operation of a high speed train. MnDOT is advertising for an engineering consultant to conduct preliminary engineering for grade crossings and the associated intersecting roadways, particularly where a second track is added.