Federal Railroad Administration Long Distance Passenger Rail Study - Your Input Needed!

August 6, 2023

Hello Members and Friends-

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is conducting an Amtrak Long-Distance Service Study to evaluate the restoration of daily intercity rail passenger service and the potential for new Amtrak routes. This study will ultimately create a long-term vision for long-distance passenger rail service and identify capital projects and funding needed to implement that vision.

The Long-Distance Service Study presents an opportunity to establish and bolster essential intercity passenger rail connections and build a stronger rail network overall—one that would allow people to get where they need to go safely and efficiently.

In some communities, long-distance trains are the only common carrier passenger transportation option available, and the long-distance network provides millions of Americans with transportation options other than a personal vehicle.

As part of this study, FRA is engaging with State Departments of Transportation, Amtrak, Class I Railroads, metropolitan planning organizations, regional passenger rail authorities, and local officials as well as transportation and rail partners, federally recognized tribes, and the broader community, as they evaluate how to better connect people with long-distance rail services. All Aboard Minnesota is one of the stakeholders in this FRA study representing Amtrak passengers.

All Aboard Minnesota recently participated in a regional working group meeting and was briefed about the progress of the study including, methodology for developing an enhanced long-distance rail network - representing a wide range of possibilities for further consideration in developing potential new long-distance routes - and provided input on the proposed baseline and enhanced networks.

The routes that All Aboard Minnesota proposed to the FRA upon the start of this study are included in the proposed route study and current evaluation:
  • The restoration of the former North Coast Limited/Hiawatha from Chicago to Seattle through southern North Dakota and Montana
  • And the Twin Cities to Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston, TX route through Des Moines, IA, Kansas City, MO, referred to as the "Twin Star Rocket-Lone Star"
Our letter to the FRA is posted in the "About/News" section on our site: www.allaboardmn.org/about/news/blog. Scroll down to the April 27, 2023 post.

It’s important that FRA hear from others regarding the information presented and the progress of this study. We encourage all of our members and friends to review project information and meeting materials on the project website: www.fralongdistancerailstudy.org and submit comments via the webform at the bottom of the homepage, or to the project inbox at contactus@fralongdistancerailstudy.org.

Please consider asking FRA to include these two new routes listed above or suggest a long-distance service that is important to you.

Please send them any comments on the most recent meeting materials by Monday, August 21. Due to the breadth of the study, it may not be possible for the study team respond to all feedback, but all feedback will be reviewed by the team.
Thank you for your input into this important study, and the future of our long-distance passenger service.