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Borealis Inaugural Events

With food trucks, bands, arts and crafts, dignitaries and local proclamations, the Borealis was welcomed to station cities from St. Paul to La Crosse on May 21, its first day of service. The Great River Rail Commission worked closely with the station cities along the Mississippi River Route to coordinate Borealis inaugural events.


Each city put its own twist on events to make them unique to their setting. 


St. Paul’s event featured a host of commission, state and federal representatives, including Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose; a walk-through of the Borealis train before the event and giveaways. Approximately 300 train enthusiasts, passengers, and the general public were present, and 163 boarded the train in the Union Depot station.

A crowd celebrating at Union Depot

Red Wing placed an emphasis on family-friendly activities. The event included a number of arts and crafts stations, along with live music, food trucks, the city’s River Boat Greeters, and speeches from local dignitaries. Eighteen passengers boarded Borealis in Red Wing.

Borealis train arriving at a platform

Winona’s focus was on tourism. The event planners included Visit Winona and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Events drawing tourists happen nearly every weekend all summer long. Nine passengers boarded Borealis in Winona.

Opening ribbon being extended

La Crosse welcomed Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who boarded the Borealis after making a brief statement. The event featured speakers from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and local dignitaries. Twenty-eight boarded Borealis in La Crosse.

Tony Evers cutting a red ribbon

Station cities had about 3 weeks’ notice for the start date and relied on the Commission for assistance coordinating speakers and timing of their events. We appreciate the collaboration of our business partners in each location.




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