Still on Track

TCMC Second Train still on track. Media Coverage of the End of the High-speed Rail Study.

MNHSR – Jan 18, 2018

The receipt of federal grant money for a MN High-Speed Rail environmental study was not approved by a state legislative committee in December. This rejection of funds ends the study of high-speed rail between the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. While the Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission is disappointed by this decision, work will continue to advocate for passenger rail options including the TCMC Second Train, which is not affected by the decision.

Planning and studies continue for the second daily round-trip train between the Twin Cities and Chicago that would run at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, using the same tracks and serving the same stations as Amtrak’s Empire Builder. The TCMC study analysis of alternatives and conceptual design will be complete in June 2018. Funding is needed to complete the environmental analysis and final design.

There has been a fair amount of reaction and media coverage of this decision with several parties expressing disappointment, but also looking forward to progress on the TCMC Second Train.

State Senator Jeremy Miller said that while it may disappoint some people, his colleague’s decision was understandable: “If Wisconsin is not going to move forward with it and the funds aren’t going to be there at the federal level, it wasn’t going to move forward anyway, or the future was unclear. My priority right now is working on the second train a day. I feel that’s the high priority.”

Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse is focused on making sure the second train becomes a reality as he sees it as an economic benefit for Red Wing: “The second line seems much more feasible and much more doable in the next 10 to 20 years."

Dan Krom from MnDOT said that a second daily train has become an important priority and gave perspective on what the TCMC hopes to accomplish: “With a second train, we're looking at reducing the travel time and shorter dwell times at the stations and addressing some choke points along the corridor.”

Minnesota High-Speed Rail Commission Chair Janice Rettman is ready for the next steps on the TCMC Second Train: "The second train is our focus right now. And that's much more imminent."

Keep up with the news and reach out to your community and representatives to get involved in keeping the TCMC Second Train on track.

Media Coverage:

Winona Post – January 17, 2018 – High-speed rail project suspended

Pioneer Press – January 11, 2018 – We’ve spent $1 million on new-derailed high-speed rail line to Chicago. What did it get us?

WIZM – January 17, 2018 – No high-speed rail, so Amtrak continues to study more stops.

Bemidji Pioneer – January 11, 2018 – How two Minnesota GOP lawmakers derailed high-speed train plans

Progressive Railroading –January 11, 2018 – Minnesota ends Twin Cities-to-Milwaukee high-speed rail study

Post Bulletin – January 10, 2018 – MnDOT shuts down high-speed rail study

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