Amtrak Policy Discontinues Charter Services to Duluth

Ryan Juntti
Updated: May 15, 2018 08:06 PM

DULUTH - A new Amtrak policy is potentially costing the city of Duluth thousands of dollars in revenue.

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"I would say that Amtrak's decision is very shortsighted," said Lake Superior Railroad Museum Executive Director Ken Buehler, who is upset over Amtrak's decision to no longer operate charter services or special trains.    

"Amtrak made an unfortunate decision. I think that it was made without any real research, it was certainly done without any community meetings or community input, and very little from elected officials, if at all," said Buehler.

Two trains were scheduled to come to Duluth this year, but have now been canceled due to the new policy from Amtrak.

"Duluth is the big loser here because of an arbitrary and capricious decision by Amtrak, we lost two special trains that were coming to Duluth," said Buehler.

One of those trains would have brought up to 350 people from New Orleans to St. Paul, and eventually Duluth for a five day train convention in September. But the plans that had been in the works for the past year and a half, have now been canceled. Both trains would have ended up at the Duluth Depot. 

Buehler says it was a "major loss to the city because of this poorly timed decision from Amtrak." 

The other train comes to Duluth every other year from Minneapolis, bringing up to 500 passengers. 

Buehler believes because of the cancellations the city of Duluth will miss out on up to $100,000 of revenue.

He also says the cancellations impact the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

"These are the kind of people as an executive director of a railroad museum we want to see in our building. We want to have them be impressed with the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and become partners with us in the future. We lost all of that," said Buehler.

Amtrak sent a full statement to Eyewitness News in regards to their policy that reads: "Generally, Amtrak will no longer operate charter services or special trains. There may be a few exceptions such as a trial service in support of growing new scheduled services. Given the limited revenue these services provide, it is difficult is justify the cost and operational resources. Our focus remains running a great core railroad: safe, on time, clean cars, friendly service and great customer-facing technology."


Ryan Juntti

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