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Northstar Rail for Anoka and Sherburne Commuters

An agreement was reached last week for existing tracks to be used for the Northstar Commuter Rail scheduled to open in 2009.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad agreed to let the Northstar Corridor Development Authority set up a schedule on their lines to allow commuters from Anoka and Sherburne Counties transit to Minneapolis. Diesel trains will make five trips from Big Lake to Minneapolis and one reverse commute every weekday morning. Opposite trips will run every weekday night. The existing two lines of track will cut down on railway congestion and allow more routes to run.

Stops will be made in Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids at the Riverdale Shopping Center, Fridley, and Downtown Minneapolis near 5th St and 3rd Ave N. Light-rail trains will be built to meet the Minneapolis stop so commuters can reach other parts of the city. More stations will possibly be scheduled as needed, after the routes start, but the rail company resisted because of increased freight train traffic.

Not all of funding for the project is secured, but officials said that should not effect the 2009 opening.

For commuters the project means a hassle-free commute. No parking problems, dependable transit time regardless of highway traffic (35 minutes from Elk River), power outlets for computers, and a $4 to $6 ticket. The environment will also benefit from the railway. Less car traffic means less pollution and less greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.

Check out the Pioneer Press' coverage.