Amtrak May Bring Back The Twin Cities to Duluth Route

April 02, 2021

If Congress passes President Joe Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, Amtrak says it would add dozens of new routes, including service between the Twin Cities and Duluth and a second daily trip from the Twin Cities to Chicago.

In the "American Jobs Plan" proposal, Biden — a known train enthusiast and frequent Amtrak rider, which earned him the nickname "Amtrak Joe" — has designated $80 billion specifically for passenger and freight rail. Amtrak said if Congress does pass the proposal, it would add up to 30 new routes and expand service to 160 more communities across the country over the next 15 years. Doing so would boost ridership by 20 million passengers.

Currently, Minnesota has one Amtrak route, called Empire Builder, that provides service between Chicago, the Twin Cities and Seattle. Duluth enjoyed passsenger rail service in the past. The Arrowhead was a daily passenger train operated by Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. After two years of operation, service was extended from Superior to Duluth, Minnesota. This service was changed in 1978 when Amtrak introducted The North Star, a passenger train operating between Duluth, Minnesota and Saint Paul, Minnesota. It originally operated from Chicago, Illinois via St. Paul to Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, but was soon cut back to a Saint Paul–Duluth train. The service relied in part on funding from the state of Minnesota. By the end of service in 1985, the North Star no longer served Superior and made intermediate stops only in Cambridge and Sandstone. State funding ran out in March 1985, and the train made its final run on April 7 of that year.


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