The vision for passenger rail, as identified by the 2010 Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, is that Minnesota should develop a robust intrastate and interstate intercity passenger rail system which results in improved travel options, costs and speeds for Minnesota and interstate travelers.
Priority program elements:
- Continue to participate in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and support the development of sustained 110 mph service for connections from the Twin Cities to Wisconsin and the Chicago Hub Network.
- Develop an intrastate intercity passenger rail network connecting the Twin Cities with viable service to major outlying regional centers.
- Connect all services eventually to both the new Minneapolis downtown terminal and St. Paul Union Depot.
- Advance corridors incrementally and simultaneously with MnDOT’s support; sequencing depending on financing, right-of-way acquisition and agreements with freight railroads.
- In Phase II, rail connections should be established to additional intercity and commuter rail markets in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and to an interstate/I-35 Corridor, Red River Valley, Eastern plains, and Canada.
Development of intercity passenger rail service would link the Twin Cities with the Chicago Hub high speed rail network, the national Amtrak system, and major regional trade centers in Greater Minnesota and the upper Midwest, fully coordinated with independent and shared freight improvements. If fully implemented, this program would eliminate all substandard rail system capacities due to current and anticipated growth in rail traffic. The improvements would allow for a comprehensive network of passenger rail services and the preservation and continued growth of freight rail service in Minnesota, with connections to destinations beyond the State’s borders.