Nov 2021: October Meeting Recap

Passion for PEOPLE and RAILROADS were on full display at the Duluth Railroad Museum for the October installation of the Duluth Superior Transportation Association’s (DSTA) monthly meeting. After almost 22 months of no in person DSTA meetings, two staples in the Twin Ports transportation, Ken Buehler and Dr. Richard Stewart, sparred over their mindsets regarding the proposed Northern Lights Express (NLX) passenger rail project between Minneapolis, MN and the Twin Ports of Superior, WI an Duluth, MN.

Buehler, director of the North Shore Scenic Railroad and Technical Advisory Chair for the NLX, has consistently pined for the NLX’s board economic and tourism boosting possibilities for the northland which he highlighted in his well-constructed presentation. A presentation he recently showcased for Minnesota legislators to secure federal funds that would cover 80% of the projected 500 million dollars initial price tag. Finely sprinkled throughout Mr. Buelher’s presentation were spotlights directed at community and politics, the latter of which he stated were inevitable in any project of this scale. Mr. Buehler envisions the NLX terminal in downtown Duluth no matter the cost.

Dr. Stewart, University of Wisconsin – Superior Professor and Director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center is a supporter of passenger rail success when all facts are considered and digested to a final product that makes sense for the Northland. Dr. Stewart stated a fact that the NLX from MPLS to Duluth if Duluth were the northern terminus, would take longer than an automobile to complete, this not including travel to and from boarding/disembarking. Further, Stewart highlighted that almost 1/3 of the time for the entire trip from MPLS to Duluth would occur traversing congested rail operations between Superior, WI station, and Duluth’s terminus.

Whether you support or oppose the NLX project, witnessing both passionate sides of the story on full display was a joy. We thank Ken Buehler and the fantastic Duluth Railroad Museum for hosting the events as well as Dr. Richard Stewart’s participation.

Hope to see you all soon

Ian Schoenike, Jeff Foster Trucking