Northstar Link Commuter Bus from St. Cloud to Big Lake
Northstar Link provides bus service from East St. Cloud direct to the Northstar Commuter Rail Line station in Big Lake. From there, commuters can ride the rail from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis – one of the fastest growing transportation corridors in Minnesota. As part of the state’s first commuter rail line, the Northstar Link and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line offers a fast, reliable and safe alternative to your workday commute.
Northstar Commuter Rail Project
Northstar Commuter Rail provides service on the 40-mile segment of existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to Minneapolis. Northstar trains offer commuter service during prime morning and evening week day rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service.
Train service to the St. Cloud area was the original plan for Northstar, according to Anoka County Commissioner Dan Erhart, chair of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority.
“Northstar Commuter Rail was envisioned to go all the way from Minneapolis to the St. Cloud area when 30 governmental units along the line started meeting more than a dozen years ago,” Commissioner Erhart said. “Eligibility requirements for federal funding caused us to break the project into two parts, but we remain committed to completing what we started.”
Officials intend for the Northstar Link Commuter Bus service to demonstrate the demand for transit services, which will help make their case for federal funding.
St. Cloud Metro Bus is the administrator of the program. In the first full year of operations, they expect to give 45,000 rides.
The park and ride lot construction cost of approximately $565,000 will be paid for with state bonding money, plus contributions from the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, Sherburne County and Stearns County. Three, high quality, used coaches have been purchased at a cost savings of between $300,000 and $1.2 million.
The Northstar Corridor Development Authority is a joint powers board of 30 governmental entities representing counties, cities, townships and regional railroad authorities along the Northstar Corridor, which covers an 80-mile stretch from downtown Minneapolis to St. Cloud.
For more information about the Northstar Commuter Rail Project, please visit www.metrotransit.org.