Hinckley Loop Study
The Hinckley Loop Study will examine the feasibility of an alternative alignment for Northern Lights Express service that provides a direct passenger connection from the BNSF mainline to the Grand Casino Hinckley, rather than a station on the BNSF mainline in Hinckley. The study was prompted by a 2007 feasibility study regarding restoration of intercity passenger rail service between Minneapolis and Duluth. The 2007 study suggested that providing a direct connection to the Grand Casino, east of Hinckley, would add substantial riders and revenue to the overall system. The study projected that overall NLX revenues could increase as much as 36 percent with a direct connection to the Grand Casino Hinckley. The final study is expected to be completed in fall 2014.
Financial Planning and Ridership Study
MnDOT is in the process of hiring a consultant to conduct the financial planning and ridership study. Preliminary ridership forecasts are anticipated to be available by mid-2014. The financial plan will be finalized when the preliminary engineering and environmental review are complete in late 2015.