Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Dec. 3, 2018

State of Minnesota hosts statewide rail conference Dec. 5 in Saint Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The State of Minnesota will host its first statewide rail conference and webinar on Wednesday, Dec. 5, bringing together leaders from all levels of government, the rail industry and academia to share information and discuss rail in the state of Minnesota.

The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Skjegstad Room, 600 North Robert Street, St. Paul. For those unable to attend in person, the event also will be streamed live at ustream.tv/mndot.

Conference session topics include rail safety and collaboration, the state of freight rail industry in Minnesota, and rail economic development projects across the state, as well as a presentation on the state of the national passenger rail system. MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle will kick off the event, and Commissioner Mona Dohman, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, will provide closing remarks.

Minnesota has more than 4,500 miles of freight railroad connecting communities across the state, making it one of the largest rail networks in the country and employing more than 4,500 Minnesotans. Minnesota’s rail network carries 25 percent of all freight movement in the state, and is expected to grow by 25-40 percent by 2040.

“Railroads are critical to the movement of people and goods in the state of Minnesota,” Zelle said. “This conference is the culmination of two years of work by the Governor’s Council on Freight Rail, which was established in 2016 to work with communities and railroad companies to ensure the safe and efficient operation of rail systems across Minnesota.”  

The Governor’s Council on Freight Rail worked proactively to foster dialogue on how to increase safe and efficient freight rail operations, minimize the risk of derailments,  improve coordination on rail incidents and support economic development opportunities across the state.

Tenzin Dolkar, the State Rail director, who leads the administration’s efforts on railway safety and coordination said, “We are pleased to announce the state’s first rail conference in collaboration with local governments, emergency responders, and the railroads. Rail safety requires coordination among all of us, and we are all committed to ensuring the safe and efficient operation of rail systems across Minnesota.”

Governor's Executive Order 16-06 establishing the Council on Freight Rail in July 2016