ryanch wrote: ↑Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:00 pm >but the small proportion of Duluth residents willing to drive to Superior makes the Northern Lights Express a much tougher proportion.I do have experience, as a Minnesota native who frequently visited Duluth (though I haven’t lived in MN recently) and who has family in Duluth/surroundings. The distance isn’t far but it’s like a different world - there’s only two bridges between the cities and it shows. A new Grassy Point Draw might be worth it just as a transit connector. Point being, riders to one city don’t frequently step foot in the other, so the more connections the better.
Do you have experience of Duluth, or a source for that statement? I'm pretty skeptical.
This isn't Phoenix/Maricopa. Duluth and Superior are across two bridges from each other in a setting where most everyone has to have access to a car to survive. Even from north of Duluth, once you're on 67 heading past the station in downtown Duluth, it's another 4 minutes to downtown Superior.
Parts of Duluth are closer to downtown Superior than to downtown Duluth.
Tadman wrote: ↑Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:23 pm Regarding interline with the Builder, consider the people riding to Duluth. The industries there are tourism (summer cottages, hunting, hiking, canoeing), mining, and shipping.Most of the traffic is forecast to be tourists, college students (UMn-Duluth, UW-Superior, a couple privates), and people with business in either the Twin Cities or the Twin Ports. I suppose you might get some Chicagoans visiting too, which brings me to your first point: you’re right that it isn’t worth interlining with the Builder, at least not for more than one round-trip daily of at least four RTs.
The mining companies are mostly in places like Chicago, Cleveland, and Pitt. It's a stretch to ride Chicago to Duluth (plus 2 hours into the woods for the mine) and a total non-starter from CLE or Pitt.
The shipping companies are mostly in Cleveland, again a non-starter.
That leaves people with affairs in Milwaukee, like banking, legal, and government. And tourists.
Regarding tourists, I'm not quite sure where they come from but I bet 50% is twin cities. That's why I suggest continuing a few frequencies to Two Harbors, at least for summer. Certain operations like Algoma Central, Alaska, and Via Sagueny trains have many flag stops and will carry canoes in/out. It might be useful. Unfortunately Two Harbors is not that far up the lake, and the tracks turn north into the arrowhead region (and are CN's) after Two Harbors.
And during the summer, I’m serious about the North Shore Scenic providing connections to Two Harbors. They do something approaching flag stops for the cottage dwellers along the shore.