The history of the Northern Lights Express spans more than 40 years, starting in 1975.


To learn more about the changes that have taken place and how Northern Lights Express has grown, read the entire

NLX History Document

August 2006
Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar calls a meeting in his office in Chisholm to review the report from 2000.  Discussion focuses on the possibility of higher speeds, more trains operating in the corridor, the Casino in Hinckley, improved connectivity in Minneapolis, with the Northstar Commuter Rail and Hiawatha (later the Blue Line), and population growth in the last six years. A plan is conceived to form a grass roots organization through the corridor to revisit the opportunity of renewing passenger rail service between Duluth and Minneapolis.

HISTORY

April 15, 1975
AMTRAK returns railroad passenger service to the Twin Ports after several years of no trains.  The Arrowhead runs from Superior (Great Northern Depot) to Minneapolis (Great Northern Depot) with no stops.  By winter additional station stops have been added at Sandstone and Cambridge.  In the winter of 1977 service is extended to Duluth.

40 YEARS OF HISTORY

​​Short history of passenger rail service in NLX corridor. 

February 2000
In conjunction with Midwest Rail Initiative, a study is done on the feasibility of returning traditional passenger train service between Duluth and the Twin Cities.  The report is not favorable due to traditional speeds, lack of connectivity and only one train per day in the study.

HIGH SPEED RAIL:   MINNEAPOLIS TO DULUTH

Please be aware this website is a work in progress

LET'S RIDE!

Tier two environmental study will be completed in 2017. The project will then be eligible to apply for federal funds to cover 80% of the project.

See an extended history of NLX here.

NEXT STEPS

1985
On Easter Sunday, AMTRAK runs its last passenger train between Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul (Midway Station) ending ten years of service that started as the Arrowhead and ended as The Northstar.  The service folds due to slow track speeds and other operational challenges.