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New Borealis Trains Bring Expanded Service Between the Twin Cities and Chicago

By May 28, 2024 No Comments
Amtrak and local and state officials cut a ribbon.
Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, center, cuts the ribbon on new Borealis service with Amtrak, federal, state and local officials.

ST. PAUL, MINN. – On May 21, 2024, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner joined Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to celebrate the start of Borealis service from historic St. Paul Union Depot.

The new state-sponsored trains, which are financed primarily through funds made available by the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois state departments of transportation, originate from St. Paul at midday and from Chicago in the late morning via Milwaukee. In total, they make 13 station stops, including the Empire Builder (Seattle/Portland-St. Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago) stops between St. Paul and Milwaukee and the Hiawatha (Milwaukee-Chicago) stops between Milwaukee and Chicago.

The Borealis at St. Paul Union Depot.

“A second daily passenger rail service connecting St. Paul to Chicago via Milwaukee is a welcome addition to our transportation system, providing more choices and travel flexibility for passengers,” said Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger, MnDOT. “We appreciate our partnerships with communities, federal, state and local governments, the host railroad CPKC, and Amtrak that were needed to get this service on-track, and to provide another safe, reliable transportation option. We look forward to continuing these partnerships as we work toward further building out passenger rail options in the Midwest.”

“This route includes eight stations in Wisconsin, and doubling the frequency of the service will better connect the many businesses, universities and tourist attractions along this corridor,” added Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson.

“Amtrak welcomes Minnesota to the Amtrak state partner family, as we introduce residents and visitors to the convenience of more train travel options between the Twin Cities and Chicago, via Milwaukee onboard the new Borealis service,” said Gardner, who rode the first Borealis train from St. Paul. “This is a success story, and thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we are diligently working to offer new and expanded intercity passenger rail service like Borealis with our partners across the country.”

Altogether, Amtrak now operates 29 State Supported routes with 18 state partners. Amtrak relocated service in the Twin Cities from the Midway Station to historic St. Paul Union Depot in May 2014, following an extensive renovation of the facility overseen by the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. Today the depot is an intermodal hub offering easy access to Amtrak, the Metro Green Line, local and regional buses and amenities for those arriving by bike or on foot.

Posted May 28, 2024.