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Amtrak Could Add Second Train Between Chicago And St. Paul

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jul 7, 2015 7:15PM

Amtrak is weighing adding a second train between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota, at the request of the Wisconsin and Minnesota state transportation agencies.

A second Amtrak train between the cities, presumably with other stops along the way in both states, could carry more than 150,000 passengers a year, Amtrak predicted in a new rail study. But the state governments would be required to pay for any operating cost shortfalls, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Currently Amtrak only operates one train out of Chicago and across Minnesota that runs once a day. A second train would follow the same route, but it would still cost the governments at least $46.4 million in equipment and $175 million in railroad improvements, according to Amtrak.

But people looking to benefit from the additional rail service may be in for a long wait.

“I don’t see this going anywhere,” Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik told the Star Tribune. “I think the voters, the taxpayers, would say there are too many transportation projects, too many crumbling roads and bridges that are fracture-critical, too many safety concerns in the state of Minnesota to be talking about cost-sharing with Amtrak.”

For those of us who dream of a high-speed rail through the Midwest, and countless other public transportation projects to better connect Chicago and its neighboring states, this sentiment unfortunately comes as no surprise.