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

Join the Conversation
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 passed by Congress in November includes $66 billion for passenger rail. In that allocation are billions of dollars for rail projects like NLX. 
Let your elected officials know how you feel about bringing back some of these federal dollars to Minnesota. Competition for our tax dollars will be fierce! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
When you email, call or see your elected officials, consider putting into your own words what these benefits mean to you:

NLX Creates Jobs

  • 3,000 good-paying jobs will be created to upgrade tracks and build or add onto stations in Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley, Superior, Duluth.
  • More choices for workers! Easily commute daily to a jobsite, or, if you work from home, occasionally to an office.
  • Employers will have access to more workers.
  • Once operation, NLX will support the equivalent of 700+ jobs in several industries.
  • Tourism revenues of $400+ million will support 200+ jobs and wages of about $250 million over a 40-year period.

Economic Development

  • NLX is expected to generate $150 million in increased property values.
  • Freight benefits include more efficient logistics for shippers, improved speed and reliability.
  • Increased state and local tax revenue of about $15 million in the first year of operation.
  • NLX connects several communities with colleges and vo-techs—lower travel costs, less stress, more choices.

Environment & Safety

  • Decreased emissions due to shift from private auto to train travel.
  • Emissions savings and Co2 reductions of $50 million.
  • Rail is second only to ferry boats for lowest carbon footprint per passenger mile.
  • Track improvements will make travel along the tracks safer for vehicles, bikes, walkers.
  • Reduced blocked crossing incidents mean better flow of vehicles and trains.
  • Crossing improvements will reduce the number of crashes by up to 130 over 40 years. 

Based on a return-on-investment analysis, there will be a positive return on investment to the state and local communities.

The time is now to contact your state legislators. Help bring this powerful economic, environmentally friendly project to life! Give people more choices in where they live, work, go to school, play.

Sign Up for Updates
Sign up to get occasional updates on the progress of NLX and NLX Alliance activities. The Minnesota Department of Transportation also maintains a database of interested people who want to receive project updates and notices of open houses. You can see their site and sign up with MnDOT here.


NLX is ready to build.  Lend your voice to let elected officials know you support transportation options.


Voice Support

Cities, local businesses, and community organizations from the Twin Cities to Duluth are lining up to show their support for NLX. Add your group to the growing list by signing up as a supporting organization. Organizations—large and small, nonprofit, public and private sectors—have stepped up. Thank you! 

Do you have a personal story to share, like Kasey? Please send it to us at

“As a traveling nurse and mother of two children – I travel to Minneapolis from Duluth four to six times a week. The benefits of having the Northern Lights Express would be endless both personally and economically. Not only would we cut down on emissions and pollution, but NLX would add convivence to traveling. I (and many other nurses from Duluth traveling to the cities for work) sometimes need to travel late at night after long shifts to get home to my family and having the train as an option would dramatically reduce the risk of an accident or hitting a deer. It also of course would reduce the amount of wear and tear on the vehicle. 

“I also love the idea of having some room to move during the ride – confining my children to a car seat for 3 hours (if we don’t hit any traffic) is not ideal – and having the ability to interact with them during that time sounds amazing. Traveling to the cities as of now is a burden – its inconvenient, stressful and dangerous – especially in the winter. 

“NLX would solve all those problems at very little cost as it already would use existing BNSF Rails. These are the types of projects that the infrastructure bill should be geared towards – ones that add value, safety, and excitement to what would usually be a burden of a task.” Kasey B.

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Contact Elected Officials
Nothing lets your elected representatives know you care about an issue like personal outreach. Take five minutes to make a call, send an email or write a letter to an elected representative to let him or her know you are excited about the economic and lifestyle benefits NLX will bring. Here’s a quick and easy tool for locating your elected state and federal officials.

Attend a Meeting

The Minneapolis-Duluth/superior Passenger Rail Alliance (NLX Alliance) meets on the fourth Wednesday of some months at the Pine County Courthouse.  Visit our Meetings page for more info.


Please be aware this website is a work in progress