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Passenger rail expansion to be discussed in Fargo

New route proposed through North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana

061720.N.FF.EMPIREBUILDER
Amtrak's Empire Builder train makes a late stop in Fargo in 2010 on its way from Chicago to Seattle. The Empire Builder is reducing its frequency from daily to three times a week. Forum file photo
The Forum

FARGO — Members of the Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Coalition will hold a public meeting at noon on Friday, Dec. 10, at Fargo City Hall to discuss possible passenger rail expansion in the region.

The group is calling on the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration to create a formal group to look at restoring and providing new passenger rail service in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana.

A key focus of the group is restoring the North Coast Hiawatha route that would go through Fargo-Moorhead, Bismarck-Mandan and southern Montana, joining other lines to connect Chicago to Seattle.

All Aboard Minnesota is among the coalition partners. The organization has been working on a more favorable daytime route between Moorhead and the Twin Cities, rather than the Empire Builder that stops in Fargo in the middle of the night.

The North Coast Hiawatha line operated from 1971 to 1979, and several efforts have been made to restore the service that ran south of the current Empire Builder route through central North Dakota and Montana.

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Increased rail funding through the recently passed infrastructure bill has spurred hope for more routes.

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