We hear a lot from elected officials, business owners, and transportation organizations about why they want more passenger rail options for the River Route. The Supporter Spotlight is a new way to highlight residents and supporters from along the River Route who support adding a second daily train between the Twin Cities and Chicago and why rail is important to them. Get to know some of our supporters below and contact us to be included in the spotlights!
Share your story with us! - How would a second train or more passenger rail options benefit you? Where would you travel by train? How would the project benefit you, your family, your business, or your community? Fill out the online form to submit your story and be featured in our Supporter Spotlights.
Have more questions about Great River Rail? Check out these helpful fact sheets to learn more.
2019-2020 Second Train Fact Packet
Gordy - Twin Cities, MN
The current Amtrak Empire Builder is a nice travel option that I have greatly appreciated using for a trip to Chicago and a journey out West. Onboard, the people were friendly, the staff funny and courteous, and the scenery amazing. Taking Amtrak to Chicago was much less stressful than driving there, and far more comfortable and convenient than flying on a cramped jet into the chaos of O'Hare! When riding the train, I soon realized just how many groups it benefits--from business travelers and students to Mennoite/Amish families and retired folks traveling across the country.
However, the Empire Builder often suffers from delays due to freight traffic out West, and it was indeed delayed on both of my trips. The delay into Chicago nearly forced me to miss my connecting flight--which I booked because using Amtrak for my whole trip would have taken an inordinately long amount of time due to a lack of fast and frequent train service. With only one frequently delayed train to Chicago per day, using the train isn't always an option for me. The TCMC second train would make it much easier for me to use Amtrak between St. Paul and Chicago, as it would offer a different departure time and would be faster than the Empire Builder. Most importantly, it would not face the delays heading to Chicago that so often occur. The second train would be a true game-changer for sustainable, convenient transport between the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, and Chicago!
Leone - Winona, MN
I have been passionate about passenger rail for years. While attending the University of Minnesota I needed to commute to another city to complete my training and traveled by passenger rail. It was a relief to have this option, since I could not afford to own a car for the commute. In all kinds of weather, it was safe, affordable, convenient and allowed me to study while traveling. Now, I want to support our Winona, MN Universities and Vocational Technical College students with the similar and better, fast, dependable, economical passenger rail transportation they need.
My husband and I have traveled by train on vacations and it was fun watching the fantastic scenery. The train always put us right in the heart of our destination so there was little need for a car at the other end of the trip. Tourism for others coming to Winona would also help our economy. As the baby boomers age, and millennials spread their wings, traveling by train for a fun getaway trip to Winona would be possible if they cannot drive to attend our many art events and festivals.
Joua - Saint Paul, MN
I drive to Chicago at least once per month to visit friends. The train takes about the same time as driving, but the schedule doesn’t work for me. If there were more train trips I would leave the car at home and not have to worry about traffic or parking in Chicago.
Calli - Red Wing, MN / Milwaukee, WI
When I started college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me to travel home often. I didn’t have a car, and it wasn’t practical for my parents to regularly drive five hours to pick me up. The Empire Builder was a huge help, especially during my first couple of years at school. It was a convenient, inexpensive, and safe way to travel and made it possible for me to visit home more frequently than if I was driving/being driven. The Empire Builder has also made it feasible for college friends to visit me in Red Wing and for my sister to visit me in Milwaukee. I think a second train from the Twin Cities to Chicago would be an incredibly valuable asset that I know my friends and I would utilize.
Steve Baumgart - Mayor of Goodview, MN
I really see the need for a second train here in the Winona Area. Many people including my family travel often to Chicago by train. Several folks have told me personally they would love to have a second option in getting to and from Chicago.
Winona is a busy college town with three colleges. I personally see the train station full at holidays with students and other travelers. I know that second train would be utilized more often than not.
A second train would bring more people to Winona to shop, sightsee and visit because of the beauty of Winona. It would benefit many, many people having the option to have a choice.
Robbie - Harmony, MN
I travel back and forth to Chicago on the Empire Builder every 2 months to visit my adult children and my 16 month old Grandson. The drive is too difficult for me so I am grateful to be able to take the train. One thing that would improve the service is of course more on time trains from Winona to Chicago, but also a train that leaves Chicago earlier than 3 PM. I drive one full hour to and from the train station and it is difficult late at night, particularly in the winter. I don't know if there will ever be a high speed train from Chicago to Minneapolis but I hope it will happen. We folks that live in rural communities would benefit greatly.