ROCHESTER, Minn. - A plan to ramp up passenger rail service across the Midwest could give Med City residents more access to travel by train.
After receiving a $10 million commitment from the Minnesota legislature this week, Amtrak is planning to add a second train to its line running between St. Paul and Chicago. The train will offer daily round-trip service between the two cities, and is expected to shuttle around 124,000 passengers each year starting in 2024.
While Rochester won't be one of the 13 stops along its route, planners are looking into offering shuttle service helping those in the Med City catch a ride to the nearby Amtrak station in La Crosse. Med City Mayor Kim Norton says while plans to boost rail service are exciting, this expansion won't derail her longstanding push to bring passenger rail to Rochester.
"We want to link, ultimately, from Chicago and beyond up to Minneapolis-St. Paul through Rochester with something that's powerful, and fast, and state-of-the-art. That's really where my heart lies, and we'll continue to work on that," Mayor Norton said.
The mayor tells KIMT she has not been involved in day-to-day discussions about possible shuttle service between Rochester and La Crosse. She adds investing in passenger rail improvements nationwide will be important in the coming years.