Minneapolis/St. Paul-Rochester Zip Rail: Scoping document published

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jis

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I think it is quite possible to add at least one more platform with two platform tracks at Target Field to make it a total of 4 platform tracks. They could arrange to run a shuttle from SPUD to Target Field and us SPUD as the major terminal at least coming from the south and east. OTOH, even SPUD can probably get at most another two platform tracks given that the north side of the track area has been repurposed into a bus stand and parking lot.

The OTOL Rail Fest groups visited both SPUD and Target Field stations and took trains from both just a few weeks back.
 

jebr

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With the light rail connecting the two in roughly 45 minutes, a 15-minute savings in transit time to the south/east (as far as I could tell, even a direct trip MPLS - STP would be 30 minutes or so) would probably only be advantageous for those within downtown Minneapolis. People riding transit usually don't connect through Target Field (commuter rail and a few bus lines excepted, but if memory recalls most buses from that particular transit center go to places in St. Paul) so there would still be some transit time from their connecting light rail station to either Target Field or St. Paul Union Depot. Parking is also much more plentiful at SPUD, so people arriving by car would probably prefer that anyways.

There would be the obvious time savings for routes to the west and north (NLX comes to mind) but Fridley would probably be a better "second station" to pair with St. Paul, simply because then you can attract suburbanites who wish to park or not have to drive into the downtown cores.
 

Eric S

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I had thought that there was space for perhaps 2 more platforms (4 more tracks) at SPUD. But then again, I'm not sure what the ultimate build-out plan is for that space.
 

jis

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Ispolkom

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One problem with this plan is that it doesn't run from Minneapolis or St. Paul to Rochester. Instead it's a non-stop high speed train between Rochester and Minneapolis Airport. There are no rail connections and no benefits to people who live on the route (except for a possible stop in Dakota county). If it were built (and I'd bet against it ever reaching construction), we would have the absurd situation of three trains (Amtrak, North Star, and Zip Line) stopping at three different, widely separated stations (SPUD, Target Field, MSP).
Honestly, if this, North Star, NLX, etc. all came to pass you would likely see some sort of project to bring most or all of the services to either one common station or two stations with a high-frequency connection between them.
That's true, because at that point we're in fantasy land. In reality, the chances of any of these plans (much less all of them) being built is vanishingly small. There's little real political support for passenger rail in the Twin Cities, and even less outstate.
 

Tokkyu40

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Wait, didn't the Santa Fe in fact have a branch line that served Santa Fe? I know their mainline never served Santa Fe, but I thought part of that branch was in use by New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter trains.
Yes they did.

When the line was first built they found the grades into Santa Fe were to steep to run the mainline, but once they were established they went back and ran a connection up the hill.

Another "Pacific" that never made the full trip is the Iowa Pacific which still makes good money running passenger lines around the world.

They're getting ready for a commuter line from Oklahoma City to Tulsa.
 

jis

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Another "Pacific" that never made the full trip is the Iowa Pacific which still makes good money running passenger lines around the world.

They're getting ready for a commuter line from Oklahoma City to Tulsa.
Strictly speaking Iowa Pacific Holding Company has reached the Pacific (as close as it gets) since it operates through a subsidiary the following:

In May 2012 Iowa Pacific acquired operating rights on the Santa Cruz Branch Line between Watsonville and Davenport. The company established the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Railroad to run freight and passenger services on the line, supplementing the existing Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific Railway operations.
 

neroden

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That's true, because at that point we're in fantasy land. In reality, the chances of any of these plans (much less all of them) being built is vanishingly small. There's little real political support for passenger rail in the Twin Cities, and even less outstate.
The support for passenger rail in Minnesota is located in very.... specific areas. Support in the most populated parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul, support in a number of the older outstate towns... and a ring of hostility coming from most of the Twin Cities commuter belt, which unfortunately has quite a large population. For any project to get built, it has to overcome that ring of hostility; I think the hostility is declining as time goes on, but it's going to require the retirement of a number of the fossils in the legislature. And even then the only projects which have a chance in the next decade or two are the ones with really tenacious long-term support: outstate, that's St. Cloud, Duluth, Rochester, or Northfield; in-city, that's the Midtown Greenway.
 
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