Happening Now

Northern Lights Filled Our Skies

May 3, 2024

By Joe Aiello / Director of Community Engagement & Organizing

Good things happen to those who wait (a long time), right?

Unless you have been under a proverbial rock this week, you have already heard the news from Amtrak that the FKA “TCMC” train is launching on May 21st as the brand new Borealis service. If you saw our press release earlier this week, you know that the Association has been pushing for the “Baby Builder” for some time. A shout-out to my former co-worker Abe Zumwalt, who led a research effort with our friends at All Aboard Minnesota on the economic benefits of a second run that helped make the case with lawmakers.

This is, to quote our current President, a “big f’n deal”.

Not everyone sees it this way, though. I’ve seen a number of online knee-jerk complaints about the name, the equipment, the schedule, etc. All before we even have the “ribbon cutting”. As I pointed out above, this service has been in the works for a long time - with 3 state DOTs, the FRA, Amtrak, and the Host RR all involved. The details didn’t just happen overnight, and I do understand as supporters and advocates we tend to have a bit of PTSD from service announcements over the years. That’s not the case this time. We have every reason to be celebrating.

But it’s not just our rail community that should be excited.

As someone from Chicago and is currently residing in Minneapolis, and who takes the EB about once a month these days, I have friends who live on both ends of the route who saw the story on the news and immediately texted me for details. (A couple even congratulated me.) I have friends making a soccer trip this summer who already changed their plans to take the new service because the schedule leaving St. Paul is much more convenient.

Speaking of the schedule… have you seen our timetables page update yet?

If you have read/seen any of my letters, blogs, posts, or videos in the past - you know I’m a big fan of connections and opportunity. This new service means MORE of that. MORE opportunity. MORE access. MORE flexibility.

I plan on raising a cold Grain Belt on 5/21 to toast the 29th and latest state-supported train in our network, and then continue my work to make sure we see #30 (and beyond).