Northstar Commuter Rail

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
SurlyLHT
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby SurlyLHT » April 4th, 2018, 3:17 pm

I'm wondering if you took the Northstar link ridership numbers and calculated the extra costs to run and actual train up there if this is worth it? I could see ridership increasing, but if the numbers are nowhere close. They might be better running special trains for Vikings Games and the Final Four and etc. to test the concept.

tmart
Union Depot
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby tmart » April 4th, 2018, 3:21 pm

Bakken2016 wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 2:55 pm
Multimodal wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 2:34 pm
Having never been to St. Cloud, I was surprised to find out it’s barely larger than an average Twin Cities suburb.

While average density (across a country) may be similar in Europe to Minnesota/US, it’s basically cities among farms there, and not the consistent low density found in the US (excepting major cities). So linking European cities (even if they’re small, they’re dense) with rail is much easier.

We do need to start inter-city rail here, but I see from the size and distance of Minnesota cities that getting high ridership is going to be a long, slow slog.
Honestly Rochester and Duluth need to be connected first.
I mean, I think St. Cloud makes sense because it's 3/4 built already and uses existing tracks. Duluth is, god willing, happening soon, and Rochester has been tried and abandoned for a variety of reasons, but I agree that it's a worthy project.

DanPatchToget
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » April 4th, 2018, 3:21 pm

Salt Lake City’s Frontrunner does quite well with 30 minute frequency all day in both directions. I think average weekday ridership is 15,000-17,000, but at a higher capital cost than Northstar. It’s also a through-route service (suburb-CBD-suburb). I’ve thought it would make sense to at the very least through-route Northstar to Wayzata in the summer.

tmart
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby tmart » April 4th, 2018, 3:30 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 3:21 pm
Salt Lake City’s Frontrunner does quite well with 30 minute frequency all day in both directions. I think average weekday ridership is 15,000-17,000, but at a higher capital cost than Northstar. It’s also a through-route service (suburb-CBD-suburb). I’ve thought it would make sense to at the very least through-route Northstar to Wayzata in the summer.
Wayzata isn't the best choice IMO. Apart from just being unintuitive as it would be doubling back westward after arriving downtown, I also think 394 is a more logical corridor for transit in that direction, with slightly more frequent stops. A commuter train on the existing tracks would be skipping West End, GM, Ridgedale, and Carlson.

If we could do something about the Dan Patch gag law though, that could be a really logical southbound expansion.

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mattaudio » April 4th, 2018, 3:40 pm

Speaking of Duluth, the state should really be coordinating with BNSF on NLX and Northstar... They use the same station in Minneapolis, the same track between Minneapolis and Coon Rapids, and share the same host railroad. It's really unfortunate that one got branded as a "commuter train" operated by BNSF/MetroTransit whereas another is being branded as "intercity higher speed rail" likely to be operated by Amtrak. Also, one of the main corridor expenses (triple tracking the BNSF main from Mpls Jct to Coon Creek Jct) would benefit both lines.

Service to Duluth and St. Cloud should be more similar than different. Share a brand (Northstar works fine, let's turn it into our regional brand), share operations platforms and crews, share operations and ticketing, etc. Eventually they could even share rolling stock and a heavy maintenance facility.

The "corridor mentality" of planning that plagues urban transit also seems to be plaguing our feeble attempts at intercity rail.

TroyGBiv
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby TroyGBiv » April 4th, 2018, 3:43 pm

Really smart thinking mattaudio... I love that idea! I wish there was more big picture thinking in transit.

tmart
Union Depot
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby tmart » April 4th, 2018, 3:57 pm

mattaudio wrote:
April 4th, 2018, 3:40 pm
Speaking of Duluth, the state should really be coordinating with BNSF on NLX and Northstar... They use the same station in Minneapolis, the same track between Minneapolis and Coon Rapids, and share the same host railroad. It's really unfortunate that one got branded as a "commuter train" operated by BNSF/MetroTransit whereas another is being branded as "intercity higher speed rail" likely to be operated by Amtrak. Also, one of the main corridor expenses (triple tracking the BNSF main from Mpls Jct to Coon Creek Jct) would benefit both lines.

Service to Duluth and St. Cloud should be more similar than different. Share a brand (Northstar works fine, let's turn it into our regional brand), share operations platforms and crews, share operations and ticketing, etc. Eventually they could even share rolling stock and a heavy maintenance facility.

The "corridor mentality" of planning that plagues urban transit also seems to be plaguing our feeble attempts at intercity rail.
I don't have a great understanding of the relationship with BNSF, or of how funding or political differences may affect the commuter/intercity distinction. But I strongly, strongly agree that rail service for St. Cloud and for Duluth should be the same program with combined fares, branding (I've also suggested using Northstar as the statewide rail brand!), and operations.

Multimodal
Rice Park
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Multimodal » April 4th, 2018, 5:04 pm

Mike, I’ve been watching that 7-hour slow-TV Oslo-to-Bergen train video that you linked to in one of those articles, and it’s mesmerizing!

DanPatchToget
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » April 6th, 2018, 9:27 am

https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/loca ... 485279002/

$37.4 million is not a high price compared to the billions needed for light rail, but I guess it is if you assume it can be done for free. Knoblach wants "some" trains between Minneapolis and Big Lake cut to extend Northstar to St. Cloud.

Would there really need to be a study on this extension assuming funding was secured from local and state sources?

phop
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby phop » April 6th, 2018, 9:32 am

What a weird effort. Of course it's going to cost money.

Korh
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » April 6th, 2018, 5:41 pm

this is starting to make me wonder in the off chance this pulls threw what that timetable between St. Cloud and Minneapolis would be. I believe the normal drive time is between 1 hour- 1 hour 15 mins and given how its about 52 mins to Big Lake I doubt any extension would be faster than driving outside of rush hours (maybe at best the timetable would be 1 hour 20 mins)

mulad
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mulad » May 27th, 2018, 7:30 am

Ramsey is trying again to get funding for a bike/ped bridge from the Northstar station across U.S. 10 (and the frontage road on the south/west side) to connect to a trail on the other side. They estimate it'll be $4.5 million plus 12-15% for engineering, and are trying to get a federal grant of $3.7 million. (Annoyingly, that's probably average for a bridge of that scale.) The agenda item notes that funding wouldn't be available until 2022 at the earliest...

http://www.startribune.com/ramsey-eyes- ... 483757711/
http://156.142.212.178:8080/agenda_publ ... urnTo36439

DanPatchToget
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 4th, 2018, 1:53 pm

Northstar Holiday Train between Big Lake and SPUD (no stop at Target Field Station).

https://www.metrotransit.org/northstar- ... ion-depot-

Korh
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » November 4th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Wonder if there gonna change anything from the experiences from last year, maybe try to squeeze in an extra car or come up with a better plan to how to handle 1,000-1,500 people going through SPUDs platform gate than just hope for the best. Also anyone planning another Streets.mn group trip?

DanPatchToget
Target Field
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 4th, 2018, 5:47 pm

Would be nice to have two trains half an hour or so apart, but I'll take what I can get.

jebr
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby jebr » November 5th, 2018, 11:59 am

I'm annoyed that we can do something like this for free (granted, with sponsorships) but daily travel that actually reduces carbon emissions and congestion has to pay standard fare. I get that this is a one-off thing versus daily ridership, but even having the opportunity to build ridership with "free rides for three weeks" or something would be helpful.

Given the huge crowds last year, I think charging a fare would be helpful and perhaps keep crowds to a manageable level. If BNSF wants it to be an event where money isn't made (they're one of the sponsors from the looks of it) it could be set up so that all fares go to charity. I know in the past BNSF and Metro Transit have partnered with Toys for Tots on the Northstar, so fares could be directed there for this trip if need be.

mattaudio
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby mattaudio » November 5th, 2018, 1:42 pm

Could that charity be Metro Transit and reducing local bus service reductions?

Korh
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby Korh » November 5th, 2018, 6:24 pm

mattaudio wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 1:42 pm
Could that charity be Metro Transit and reducing local bus service reductions?
Why not towards the charity of extending the line to st. cloud.

But in all seriousness I wonder if MT started doing special event/charter trains every so often (not counting the sports trains), would it be able to improve the northstar's ridership and FRR in any meaningful way?

NickP
Union Depot
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Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby NickP » November 6th, 2018, 7:12 pm

Party trains?

DanPatchToget
Target Field
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Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Northstar Commuter Rail

Postby DanPatchToget » November 6th, 2018, 10:34 pm

Weekend runs in the summer to the Wayzata Depot would be nice. They tested PTC with Northstar trains on the Wayzata Sub a year or two ago, wish I had been able to see that.


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