State DOTs Begin Borealis Train Service with Amtrak

On May 21, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation helped host official launch celebrations for Amtrak’s new Borealis passenger train service that serves three Midwestern states.

[Above photo by Minnesota DOT]

The state-sponsored Borealis rail line stretches from St. Paul to Chicago with eight stops in Wisconsin: La Crosse, Tomah, Wisconsin Dells, Portage, Columbus, Milwaukee, the Milwaukee airport, and Sturtevant.

The addition of the Borealis train is a result of years of collaboration between Amtrak, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Canadian Pacific Kansas City or CPKC.

Photo by Amtrak

“Amtrak welcomes Minnesota to the Amtrak state partner family, as we introduce residents and visitors to the convenience of more train travel options between the Twin Cities and Chicago, via Milwaukee onboard the new Borealis service,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner at a press event for inauguration of Borealis service.

“This is a success story and … we are diligently working to offer new and expanded intercity passenger rail service like Borealis with our partners across the country,” he added.

“Investments in rail have long helped Midwesterners and the region’s economy, and this service will mean additional passenger rail access for people traveling between Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois while contributing to economic growth,” noted Amit Bose, administrator for the Federal Railroad Administration, at that event.

Nancy Daubenberger at center. Photo by MnDOT.

“A second daily passenger rail service connecting St. Paul to Chicago via Milwaukee is a welcome addition to our transportation system, providing more choices and travel flexibility for passengers,” noted Nancy Daubenberger, Minnesota DOT commissioner, in an earlier statement regarding the launch of the new services.

“We appreciate our partnerships with communities, federal, state and local governments, host railroad CPKC, and Amtrak that were needed to get this service on-track, and to provide another safe, reliable transportation option,” she added. “We look forward to continuing these partnerships as we work toward further building out passenger rail options in the Midwest.”

The Wisconsin DOT hosted a separate inauguration event for Borealis train service with Amtrak and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) in Milwaukee.

Craig Thompson. Photo by Wisconsin DOT.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate this long-awaited service in Wisconsin and we’re grateful for the strong partnerships that made the Borealis trains possible,” noted Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson.

Thompson – who also serves as president of the American Association of State highway and Transportation Officials – added that his agency will continue to seek more opportunities to expand passenger rail in Wisconsin as part of its effort to build a “modern, reliable transportation system” that meets the needs of all state residents now and into the future.”

“The excitement we’re seeing in these communities demonstrates the support for more passenger rail options in Wisconsin,” he stressed.

“Our state was long overdue for a new train service to meet travelers’ demand for a safe, efficient, and sustainable way to get where they need to go,” the governor said at that event. “This is only the beginning of our work to expand passenger rail in Wisconsin as we continue our work to build the 21st-century infrastructure Wisconsinites have long deserved.”

Related articles