Rail masthead

Rail in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Drawing of passenger rail moving accross a rail yard in Minneapolis, Minn.

From the legacy of the Empire Builder James J. Hill to the rapidly-evolving network of rail transit infrastructure in the Twin Cities, Minnesota has a significant claim to the nation's railroading history, and future. In our 35th edition, we profile Metro Transit's trendsetting transit network, the challenges and triumphs of Amtrak's Empire Builder, Duluth's historic Union Depot and the prospects for new intercity rail in Minnesota.


Download Rail in full or choose from the articles featured below.

To ease our readers in the transition to RAIL magazine's new digital format, we have developed a troubleshooting tips for downloading the magazine, as well as a guide to using the new publication once it is downloaded.

In this Issue

From the Editors

Editor-in-Chief Scott Bogren and Editor Rich Sampson

Watch and listen as Editor-in-Chief Scott Bogren and Editor Rich Sampson offer an overview of the feature articles and department pieces in this edition of RAIL.

All Aboard

An overhead photo of a silver line station in Northern Virginia

A capsule look at the latest passenger rail developments, breaking news and service expansions.

The Rail Yard

A photo of a commuter rail station

A look at why light rail appeals to non-traditional transit communities and an update on the Atlanta-Lovejoy commuter rail project.

The Twin Cities' Transit Awakening

A photo of the Green Line in St. Paul, Minn.

Few other cities find themselves at that exciting yet challenging point where momentum and resources come together to fundamentally reshape mobility trends and habits. A score of new transit projects - from commuter and light rail to bus rapid transit, exclusive bus-only shoulder lanes and park-and-ride locations - are all either recently-completed or moving rapidly through planning and construction. In all, it amounts to nothing short of a new beginning for public transit options in Minnesota's most-populated region.

The Empire Builder Strikes Back

A photo of the Empire Builder making its way across Minnesota.

This year, the Empire Builder celebrates its 85th anniversary of cross-country transportation service. These double-decker, long-distance trains proudly baring the name Empire Builder still speed along James J. Hill's route from the Midwest to the Northwest, running from Chicago to Seattle - over 2,000 miles. The Empire Builder, the train, crosses the same Marias Pass that the Empire Builder, the man, once crossed himself.

Duluth's Past, Present and Future Converge at its Union Depot

A photo of Duluth's Union Depot

As is the case in many major American cities, it is impossible to tell the history of the Duluth, Minnesota Union Depot without telling the history of the city itself so intertwined are the two. In fact, it is altogether fair to say that two forms of transportation - rail and steamship - along with nearby rich iron ore veins and timber gave rise to an inevitable city on the western shores of Lake Superior: Duluth.

Intercity Passenger Rail in Minnesota

Screenshot of intercity rail animation

There are several encouraging projects that could transform Minnesota's ability to connect communities via passenger trains. In particular, the Zip Rail corridor between the Twin Cities and Rochester and the Northern Lights Express, which would link Minneapolis-St Paul with Duluth are about at similar stages of development and could connect the bulk of the state's population via frequent and reliable passenger rail service.


Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729