All Aboard Minnesota announces the first annual membership meeting!

October 11, 2015

All Aboard Minnesota is announcing its first ever annual membership meeting Saturday Nov 7 at Christ the King Lutheran church in Bloomington, MN.  The doors will open at 9:30am, and the meeting will begin at 10:00am, concluding with light sandwich lunch at 12:00Noon.

The meeting is free and open to all members! Members will receive an invitation with all the details shortly.

If you are not a member and would like to come to the meeting and check us out, go to the "Join Us" tab where you will find a "Contact Us" form, and send us a message. We have an exciting agenda planned.  Learn about our accomplishments, future direction, and learn how you can get more involved in our cause.  We will also have a guest speaker to talk about rail advocacy efforts in southern Minnesota.

We look forward to seeing you there!  Christ the King Lutheran Church is located at 8600 Freemont Ave. S, Bloomington, MN 55420.

First Ever- All Aboard Minnesota Membership Meeting!

September 19, 2015

The first ever membership meeting is being planned for early November.  Once details are finalized, we will send out a formal notice to all members.  Learn about all the exciting things All Aboard Minnesota has done and accomplished since our inception, and all the great things we have planned!  We also look forward to gaining feedback and input from our members for future direction.

For non-members, if you would like to check us out at this meeting and want to be invited to our membership meeting, please click on the Join Us tab on our site, and contact us for an invitation.

We look forward to meeting all of our members at this great meeting!  Watch for more details soon!


MnDot Releases Report for Second Train to Chicago

July 19, 2015

The MnDot State Rail Passenger office has released its report for the second train to Chicago to and from St. Paul, MN based upon Amtrak's study.  The report can be accessed here:

All Aboard Minnesota will publish our "official" position here shortly but our initial thinking is there could be limited political appetite for this service, just based upon some input from our sources close to the legislature.  We are strongly supportive of this second train, and are currently developing lists of possible supporters along the route to tap into for advocacy and education this fall and into the next legislative session.

We would also like to see consideration for this service to be extended to Fargo, ND.

Amtrak Restores Empire Builder Connections in Chicago

May 3, 2015

Due increased schedule reliability, Amtrak has restored guaranteed connections for the Eastbound Empire Builder in Chicago.  This is very important for passengers to make connections and generally feed the network.

"Effective today, May 1, 2015, due to improved timekeeping, connections in Chicago from trains 8/28/808, the eastbound Empire Builder, are restored to:
  • Train 383 to Quincy - departs 555p
  • Train 354 to Detroit and Pontiac - departs 600p
  • Train 370 to Grand Rapids - departs 630p (new time effective May 4, 2015)
  • Train 30 to Pittsburgh and Washington - departs 640p
  • And all departures thereafter."

It looks like the closest connection that will now be ticketed is 2 hours from the arrival of train 8 at 355 PM to the 555 PM Illinois Zephyr for Macomb and Quincy.  The major connections that again are available are to train 30 (Capitol Limited) and the evening Wolverine service at 630 PM for Michigan cities.  Amtrak will as of yet not guarantee same-day Chicago connections to train 50, the Cardinal (Chicago to New York via Charleston, WV and Washington, DC) as this is just a 1 hour, 50 minute layover.

This is good news as the general consensus is that the the main reason for the decline in Empire Builder ridership in 2014, even more than late trains, was the inability to make same day connections in Chicago (and Portland).


All Aboard Minnesota provides more comments for the State Rail Plan

April 19, 2015

MnDot asked for any final comments regarding the State Rail Plan, so we took the opportunity to update and add to our original statement.  These comments can be found the "About" section, "What's New" tab.  Let us know your thoughts!

National Train Day May 9!

April 19, 2015

All Aboard Minnesota will be participating in National Train Day at St. Paul Union Depot on May 9, from 11:00am - 4:00pm.  A hearty thank you to our members who have volunteered to help this day!  Will be a day of many activities and events, and fun for everyone!  There will be many displays, and the Minnesota Transportation Museum will have Great Northern's "Hustle Muscle" vintage diesel on display with a Great Northern passenger coach.  Come see us!

All Aboard MN Board meets with MnDot

February 28, 2015

As we have mentioned previously, MnDot received our response to their updated State Rail Plan, and asked to meet with us.  Selected members of the All Aboard Minnesota Board met with MnDot staff in mid Feb and had a great converstion.   We discussed several aspects of intercity rail passenger for Minnesota, including the line to Duluth.  Most of all we discussed opportunities to leverage each others knowledge going forward, and how All Aboard MN can be a resource for MnDot.  It was great to establish the relationship and open up the dialogue between our organizations.  Look for more info to come!

BNSF Update Page - New Photos

February 28, 2015

Thanks to Kurt, we've added a couple new photos with descriptions about the BNSF construction on the Hi-Line, good descriptions of what's going on and now mostly completed.  Check it out!

MNDOT State Rail Plan- Our response

January 1, 2015

Every five years, the State of Minnesota is required to update and submit its rail plan, among others, and resubmit to the Feds.  That time is now, and The All Aboard Minnesota Board has taken a comprehensive look at the plan and has written a thorough response.  It is posted in the About Us section of the site - in What's New.  Its quite long, but we felt this is our chance to give thoughtful input to MNDOT based upon our view and expertise.

You will note its similar in scope to other statements we have published, like our views on service to Rochester, but this statement covers every aspect of MNDOT's passenger rail plan.  Overall we felt the plan is very comprehensive - but far to Minnesota centric.  We feel there should be greater connectivity to the national network as a whole.  So, If you have some time please read it and we welcome your comments and feedback.

Our response has been submitted to MNDOT, and also several key contacts that have influence with the plan.

Happy New Year - and Empire Builder to resume "normal" schedule

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to all!  The Board of All Aboard Minnesota would like to especially thank all of the members that have joined us this year and we sincerely appreciate all of your comments and suggestions.  We could not do our work without you!

As we noted in our December newsletter, the Empire Builder will go pack to its previous schedule- prior to April 15, 2014 on Jan 12, 2015 - the following article was published in the Trains Mag newsletter:

CHICAGO — Amtrak’s Empire Builder is scheduled to end its detours through North Dakota and resume its normal route and schedule, effective with departures of Jan. 12.

Amtrak announced the move this week. It will bring an end to reroutes made to accommodate BNSF Railway construction.

“Amtrak and BNSF continue to work cooperatively on the operational and maintenance issues that affect Amtrak trains on this line,” the passenger railroad says in a press release. “BNSF is commited to work to improve the performance of the Empire Builder going forward.”

Three hours were added to eastbound schedules and 90 minutes to westbound trains. Bus connections were used to serve passengers in stops at Rugby, Devils Lake and Grand Forks, N.D., that were missed by trains traveling in one direction.

Originally, westbound train No. 7 took a detour over BNSF's KO subdivision while eastbound No. 8 followed the regular route, but the trains flipped routes in October to expedite traffic patterns during the grain-harvest season.