Tadman wrote: ↑Mon Nov 27, 2023 10:49 am
I'm not sure, and I don't know that the Saint Louis corridor is a viable analogy for the Duluth corridor. Saint Louis and downstate Illinois are much more populous than Duluth/Superior and the Iron Range. I don't see a need to ever upgrade the BN (or have a government buyout) for this service. The ticket to success here is 2-3/day each direction, pay market rates for trackage rights to ensure timely running, and a robust bus connection from a Superior terminal to Duluth, Hibbing, and Two Harbors.
Whether it is a viable analogy or not depends upon maximum speed "or" train frequency. Note I did not write or suggest "and". The Lincoln Service has a frequency of 4 trains per day in each direction, one of which is extended as the River Runner; with an additional Texas Eagle sleeper train service.
How much frequency will the Northern Lights service have? One, two, three, or four round trips per day? What will be the maximum speed? 79. 90, or 110 mph? How much money is the State of Minnesota willing to subsidize this service?