Northern Lights Express news

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Northern Lights Express news
Posted by krtraveler on Thursday, May 26, 2016 10:26 PM

http://www.startribune.com/northern-lights-express-linking-twin-cities-to-duluth-quietly-hums-along/380581341/

Four round trips are planned daily, and the service would be operated by Amtrak.

Very disappointing that MNDOT has decided to think inside the box for this one.

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Posted by MikeF90 on Thursday, May 26, 2016 10:49 PM

I guess you missed our other recent discussion of this train:

 http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/743/t/255041.aspx 

The comments on the Star-Tribune page closely resemble the Trains demographic.

BTW what would be 'out of the box' - hype(rloop)? Question

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, May 27, 2016 12:24 AM

So I am not clear on what exactly is "Target Field Station"?       Is that the point of origin instead of St.Paul Union Depot?   Or did they just mention that stop because it would be the first stop on the line after departing St. Paul Union Depot?

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Posted by Railvt on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 2:41 PM

Target Station is the end of the commuter line from Big Lake to Minneapolis. If the route starts there it would not connect to Amtrak in St Paul unless a complex reversal/backup move is done. The GN bridge needed to go direct is I think a trail. But Amtrak now serves Union Station in St Paul. The Target stop is a stub terminal in Minneapolis. 

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:04 PM

Target Field Station is next to Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins. It is the end point in Minneapolis.  Nearly 500 trains pass through Target Field Station each day, serving riders on the METRO Green and Blue lines and Northstar Commuter Rail. 

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:06 PM

"starting at Target Field station" Gee another non-connecting intercity passenger service like the Noreaster outta Boston to Portland.

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Posted by Railvt on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 3:39 PM

But the only trfains to pass thru are Light Rail. Both the GN and ex-Milwaukie routes directly east to St. Paul are severed. The Minnesota Commercial Ry survives (the Amtrak route), if you back out to their main from Target and then reverse direction.

The design failure that allowed all direct heavy rail routes between the downtowns of the Twin Cities to vanish potentially comes back to haunt us here. Hopefully as noted above the Star Trib article was slightly inaccurate and the train will originate in St. Paul in order to connect to the national network. An MSP platform could be constructed at some point near the junction with the stub to Target Field Station.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 11:04 PM

Wow, i do not see the logic of terminating or originating at Minneapolis vs St. Paul, so I too hope that part is inaccurate in the article.    Though by the same token I don't see the logic of the Heartland Flyer not originating in Dallas vs Ft. Worth.

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Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 9:30 AM

Why would a reverse diection move from a stub station be so onerous? Trains do it daily in Germany at Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Leipzig stations.

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RME
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 9:57 AM

schlimm
Why would a reverse direction move from a stub station be so onerous? Trains do it daily in Germany at Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Leipzig stations.

Suspect it might be that many Americans dislike riding 'backward', particularly if the ride has poor NVH characteristics or that wobbly air-bolster lateral sway.  Do the seats in the proposed train 'swivel' easily to face, even at an angle, in the direction of travel when the train reverses direction?  Probably no help to wye the train on a regular basis, as at Harrisburg, to get around the reversal if the seats are fixed.

Problem is that there will have to be substantial 'marginal advantages' (over the likely alternatives, "Megabus" or driving) for the 'take rate' of a perceived unpleasant ride to come up to expectations for a project with large stranded capital cost and little if any alternative market use.  Those might include better onboard amenities, better food ... free rolls of quarters? ... but after spending All That Money On Subsidies I somehow doubt the government(s) involved will shell out additional to make people choose to ride the dogs.

On the other hand, if all that the 'stub' move involves is a reverse wye move out of the station to 'reverse', you have the need either for someone to ride the rear of the train for the reverse move (and then be paid until he gets off conveniently) or for the engineman or whatever you call him to walk the length of the train as it sits, and perhaps go outdoors for a bit to get back in the engine cab without ear protectors.  

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Posted by CJtrainguy on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 12:17 PM

Seats on European trains also don't all face the same direction. So half the seats face one way and half the other way. That way people can have their preference for riding face forward or face backward. I've always found that a very workable system.

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Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 12:31 PM

Very true.  Many seats face each other with a table in between.  Folks there seem fine with that arrangement.

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, June 01, 2016 10:07 PM

They could use the Midway station as the Minneapolis stop, to avoid any back-up move.

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Posted by krtraveler on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:22 AM

krtraveler

http://www.startribune.com/northern-lights-express-linking-twin-cities-to-duluth-quietly-hums-along/380581341/

 

 
Four round trips are planned daily, and the service would be operated by Amtrak.

 

Very disappointing that MNDOT has decided to think inside the box for this one.

 

The following should have disqualified MNDOT's decision:

1. The 2nd CHI-STP frequency study which resulted in the route ending in St. Paul, not Minneapolis

2. The lack of a connection between the NLX and the Empire Builder

3. The October 2013 magazine issue on Section 209

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