Adding even the Twin Cities to Rochester (the medical center of the upper midwest region).Agree that Omaha - Sioux Falls is not completely far-fetched. Also, MnDOT has had Twin Cities - Sioux Falls service on their radar (as Phase 3 or 7 or 28 or something like that) after additional Twin Cities - Chicago trains, Twin Cities - Duluth service, and some other proposals.
Also what happened to that second EB train from CHI-MSP with limited stops at least 5 days a week -
it didn't need sleeper cars - 3-4 coaches a baggage and concession (cafe) car or probably a setup/consist much like the Hiawatha.
Given the conditions of flying - timely check-in time versus city-center-to-city-center the trains much like the NEC would offer significant
competition to flying between cities and would not be so weather dependent and best of all have creature comforts not possible on the small regional
jets. But leave it the political types that can't see the forest for the trees - not on my watch - NIMBY - what kick-backs can I get out it !
There are subsidies and other federal funds some matching state funds but disregard that sort of stuff - what is in it for me ?