The first of five Northstar Commuter Rail locomotives has arrived in the Twin Cities Metro Area. It pulled into the Northstar Vehicle Maintenance Facility Friday in Big Lake, where all Northstar locomotives will be stored until the beginning of commuter rail service in late 2009. On its way to the facility, the locomotive passed future Northstar station stops under construction at Downtown Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake.
“Reaching this milestone brings a new level of excitement for area communities and commuters,” said Dan Erhart, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA). “We’ve already seen remarkable progress on the construction of stations and other Northstar facilities this year. The train vehicles are another visible reminder that the official launch of Minnesota’s first commuter rail service is approaching rapidly.”
The MP-36 locomotives are from Motive Power, Inc. of Boise, Idaho. Traveling at top speeds of 79 miles per hour, the locomotives will move passengers along 40 miles of existing BNSF Railway train tracks between Big Lake and Minneapolis in less than 45 minutes. The Northstar Project bought five locomotives at a cost of $13.3 million as part of a larger and more cost-efficient contract with multiple transit systems across the country.
The remaining four locomotives are in various stages of development and are expected to arrive in Big Lake by the end of 2008. Delivery of 17 Bombardier passenger cars will begin next spring.
The Northstar Project is a cooperative effort among the NCDA, Metropolitan Council, Metro Transit and Minnesota Department of Transportation.
About the Northstar Commuter Rail Project
Northstar Commuter Rail will provide service starting in late 2009 on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. Northstar trains will offer commuter service during prime morning and evening weekday rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.
The Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) is a joint powers board of 30 governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor — an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
For more information, please visit www.mn-GetOnBoard.com. Visit the “Newsroom” section for photos of the locomotive passing through the Northstar station in Coon Rapids.
Northstar's First Locomotive Stops at Coon Rapids Station