Pine County withdraws from the NLX Alliance

Updating an earlier discussion about the controversial Northern Lights Express rail line from Minneapolis to Duluth, Ailene Croup sends along this article from the Nov. 21 2013 issue of the Hinckley News (quoted with permission). Pine County Board, at Tuesday’s regular meeting, voted 4-0 not to pay membership in the Northern Lights Express (NLX) Alliance. […]

NLX Promotional Material

Just for the historical record, please find attached a scan of the 1 page / 2 sided brochure that the promoters of the Northern Lights Express distributed at the May 11, 2013 National Train Day event at the Saint Paul Union Depot (in case anyone is unclear on the matter, I do not endorse these […]

NLX Slides

I was at a public forum in Hinckley, Minnesota last night (home of the world-famous Grand Casino), giving a talk on the Northern Lights Express (NLX). The crowd was, in the immortal words of Grampa Simpson “Agin’ it”. My slides are here, though readers of the blog have seen most of the material before. It […]

NLX redux

I get into a Letter to the Editors battle over in Pine City. I am responding to this about everyone’s favorite intercity rail project, the Northern Lights Express. Keep in mind that the titles of Letters to the Editor are written by the editors, not the author. Metcalf off the rails on NLX project Posted: […]

Adventures in Forecasting Intercity Rail: NLX edition

Projections around the proposed intercity railway “Northern Lights Express (NLX)” line from Duluth to Twin Cities are presented below. The first two columns of data are from the Statewide Rail plan, funded by MnDOT, prepared by Cambridge Systematics (lead). The last column is from the recent draft Environmental Assessment by USDOT, MnDOT and WisDOT State […]

Who will pay if NLX fails?

I was asked to write an opinion piece for The Pine City Pioneer: Who will pay if NLX fails? in response to one put forward by project consultant Alexander Metcalf of TEMS: “TEMS, the consultant hired to advocate for the project, asserts that revenue will exceed operating costs at higher speeds. I agree that both […]


Cross-posted at SPUD (My thoughts on the Saint Paul Union Depot) “We entered the dimly authentically-lit Saint Paul Union Depot (SPUD), a large but not magnificent space. A train station with no trains. The restoration is nice, and I am sure a better space than the restorers found it in, but the original structure […]

High-speed rail to Duluth gains steam

MnDaily reports on: High-speed rail to Duluth gains steam I get quoted. The project’s estimated price tag is $750 million. Bob Manzoline, with the Regional Rail Authority, said that NLX is expected to carry 800,000 passengers annually. David Levinson, a University of Minnesota civil engineering professor and an expert in transportation studies, disagreed with Manzoline’s […]