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Northstar commuter rail ready to roll Nov. 16

The Northstar commuter rail line, carrying commuters from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis, and points between, will begin service Nov. 16.

There will be five morning trips in and five afternoon trips out along a 40-mile corridor with stops at Fridley, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake. Three weekend round trips are scheduled.

According to the Metropolitan Council:

The exact train schedule is still being set with test trains operating in the corridor now.

Trains will arrive in downtown Minneapolis in time for commuters to reach their offices for work shifts that begin at 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.

Afternoon trips are expected to operate at half-hour intervals beginning at about 3:45 p.m. Each train will consist of a locomotive and four passenger cars, with each car seating about 140 customers. Passenger cars have three seating levels, work tables, electrical outlets and an on-board restroom. Each car can accommodate two bicycles and is fully accessible for persons with disabilities.

Each suburban station has adjacent park-and-ride facilities, and platforms are equipped with cameras, emergency telephones, enclosed shelters, heating and other amenities.

Connecting bus service will be available at four suburban stations, including Northstar Link coach buses, which will bring commuters from St. Cloud to Big Lake for their Northstar trips to Minneapolis. When Northstar trains arrive in downtown Minneapolis, customers will be able to make quick connections to the Hiawatha light-rail line, which has been extended north to the new Ballpark Station adjacent to the Twins’ Target Field.

Access to regional bus routes and to the Minneapolis skyway system is a short walk away.

Fares for Northstar service range from $3.25 to $7 each way depending on the distance traveled. Fares are lower on weekends. Customers using Metro Transit Go-To cards get a 10 percent bonus with their purchases. (For example, $11 if fare value for $10.)

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Tim Nelson on 08/31/2009 - 06:13 pm.

    My friend in Big Lake has to open at 6 am. on weekdays, and 7 am. on weekends, and holidays.

    She can’t take the train, ever.

  2. Submitted by Joshua Abell on 09/03/2009 - 02:49 pm.

    I hope it works out. I have to walk 2.8 miles to take the rail to work. I could do one mile, but not more than two.

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