by Jeff Smith
I can't recall seeing a topic on this; no operator is mentioned: Leader Telegram
Passenger rail in region back in spotlight
Passenger rail in Eau Claire is a concept that’s, ahem, gaining steam of late.
The current incarnation is privately financed rail service from Eau Claire to Union Depot in St. Paul. Potential stops include Menomonie, Baldwin, Hudson and Stillwater, Minn., with possible shuttle services to tertiary locations.
“Eventually there would be service to the east to Milwaukee and Chicago, as well as service directly into Minneapolis,” said Scott Rogers, chairman of the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coaliton. “One of the values of the service would be the development potential at station stops.”
The concept is for four rides a day each way, each taking around 80 minutes. For riders, the cost of a ticket is expected to be about $32, with discounts for regular customers.
Existing Union Pacific rail track would be used for the line, though reaching speeds of 80 mph would require retooling. The Star Tribune cited startup costs that range from $140 million to $450 million. Rogers said it’s too early to put a price tag on the project.
“The next step in our analysis is to develop an agreement with Union Pacific to do a study of the physical requirements to upgrade track and add capacity,” he said, adding that results could be available in the fall.