Plans Being Discussed to Add Passenger Rail Service From Western Wisconsin to St. Paul's Union Depot

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 3:42pm.

More public transit options could be on the way for St. Paul, which could even include service to parts of Western Wisconsin, believe it or not. 

According to reports, there seems to be a strong push for privately financed passenger rail service from Eau Claire, WI all the way back over to St. Paul’s Union Depot, which could potentially include a stop in nearby Stillwater, MN as well. 

Already, thousands of Wisconsin residents commute to the Twin Cities each and every day, so train service to at least some of these cities and towns seems to make a lot of sense on the surface.

The idea of passenger train service from Western Wisconsin to St. Paul is nothing new, however, and has actually been discussed as far back as 2009. But this most recent push seems to be gaining serious traction as a Wisconsin county board has passed a resolution that would support a new rail project. 

Over the years, Western Wisconsin has seen significant residential growth, and many of these residents and home owners are commuting over to St. Paul and the surrounding Twin Cities region. But with Minnesota’s traditionally harsh winters, such a commute can be extremely difficult throughout much of the winter, which would be just one of many benefits of adding a new railway. 

As of now, the project is estimated to cost anywhere from $140 million to $450 million, which means a significant amount of work still needs to be done in order to make train service from Western Wisconsin into St. Paul a reality. 

But for now, at least the conversations are heating up. 

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