Northern Lights Express High Speed Passenger Rail

Minneapolis to Duluth, Minnesota

SRF led a team of national high-speed rail experts in completing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and concept engineering for the re-establishment of passenger rail services in an existing corridor near Highway 65 and Interstate 35 between Minneapolis and Duluth/Superior. With a goal of establishing high speed passenger rail service, the 155-mile route follows BNSF existing alignment from the MTI through the Foley Station in Coon Rapids, through Hinckley and on to Duluth/Superior. 

This is the first environmental document in Minnesota following the FRA environmental process. This Study included an extensive alternatives analysis process coordinated with rigorous FRA standards and procedures leading to FRA approval of the BNSF route as the preferred alignment. A key part of the project involved facilitating a public outreach program that included public meetings and open houses along the corridor, along with newsletters and informational postings on the project-specific website.

In addition to the environmental documentation, SRF provided concept engineering which included evaluation of existing structures and coordination of railroad operations with passenger rail operations. Operations and capacity analysis were also performed concurrently by the SRF team and BNSF Railway.

Completion of the EA, coupled with the extensive alternatives analysis, concept engineering, and operations analysis positioned the project approvals to move into the FRA preliminary engineering phase, securing significant additional funding for project development.

CLIENT: Northern Lights Express High Speed Passenger Rail