News & Reviews News Wire Northstar to offer holiday service to St. Paul Union Depot NEWSWIRE

Northstar to offer holiday service to St. Paul Union Depot NEWSWIRE

By Steve Glischinski | December 11, 2018

| Last updated on November 3, 2020

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Northstar at St. Paul Union Depot in 2017.
Steve Glischinski
ST. PAUL, Minn. – For only the second time since it began service in 2009, a Northstar commuter train will provide revenue service to St. Paul Union Depot. The commuter trains normally operate over 40 miles of BNSF Railway track between Big Lake and Minneapolis.

On Dec. 15, Northstar and BNSF will operate a special holiday service from Big Lake directly to Union Depot in St. Paul, bypassing the downtown Minneapolis stop. The service will operate free of charge. The train is a first-come, first-served event.

Passengers will have two hours to participate in activities at Union Depot. There will be several activities at the station including shopping, holiday entertainment with carolers and Santa Claus, arts and crafts, coloring and other activities. A new addition this year is the Union Depot Bar & Grill restaurant in the depot head house, which opened in July.

The schedule for the train is as follows:

Depart Big Lake: 4:40 p.m.
Elk River: 4:50 p.m.
Ramsey: 4:56 p.m.
Anoka: 5:01 p.m.
Coon Rapids: 5:05 p.m.
Fridley: 5:14 p.m.
Union Depot: 6:00 p.m.

Depart Union Depot: 8:00 p.m.
Fridley: 8:46 p.m.
Coon Rapids: 8:55 p.m.
Anoka: 8:59 p.m.
Ramsey: 9:04 p.m.
Elk River: 9:14 p.m.
Big Lake: 9:27 p.m.

Last year’s holiday train was the first revenue run of a Northstar train to Union Depot. The only other commuter train to visit Union Depot was Sept. 21, 2014. The train was operated as part of a gathering of transit officials from around the U.S. and was not open to the public.

3 thoughts on “Northstar to offer holiday service to St. Paul Union Depot NEWSWIRE

  1. The Northstar station is not on the direct route from the burbs to St. Paul. It is on a 3 mile detour to downtown Minneapolis. If you look at the map of Minneapolis the BNSF main line at Minneapolis Junction (a wye on the north side of the Mississippi River) branches off on the Wayzata (why zeta?) sub to the south. The station used by Northstar is behind Target Field. The main line is too far from downtown for it to be a good commuter station. The St. Paul service on Saturday will be fairly direct but if you look at the trackage at the St. Paul Union Depot there is access from the BNSF Midway Sub or the CP shortline past the old Amtrak depot.

  2. Any reason this isn’t a regular service? I’m not familiar with the details of Northstar’s operations or Twin Cities geography, but it seems like SPUD would be a logical stop for a commuter service.

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