Minnesota: Eau Claire–St. Paul passenger rail would serve 300K annually

James Johonnott

Artist's rendering.
Artist's rendering.

As Wisconsin Public Radio reports, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued a brief finding that a passenger rail line between Eau Claire and St. Paul would be widely-used. The line could use a four car passenger train to service an estimated 300,000 people yearly. State rail project lead Dave Christianson had this to say:

“Because we have an existing railroad line in good condition and we would use trains at conventional speeds the entire planning and startup, negotiating and track rights and everything else could be done in under three years in the best of all worlds,” Christianson said. “The big thing is finding the money.”

A passenger line such as this  could cost $400 million (with Wisconsin paying up to two-thirds).  The Eau Claire-based  West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition is working to raise money needed for such a project, as Wisconsin's own state rail plan has made no mention of it.

Listen to the full report at WPR.org.