Amtrak is the US's intercity rail system, and while the train system makes no stops in Anoka County, many Minnesotans take advantage of the service to get to places planes don't go (rural Montana, North Dakota, Idaho), see America in a different way, or take a vacation to Chicago free of security lines or flight delays.
Amtrak has one route that stops in the Twin Cities, the Empire Builder. This line goes between Chicago, IL to Seattle, WA or Portland, OR. The closest stops to Anoka County are in St. Paul, St. Cloud, or Red Wing. The train has one daily trip in each direction. Trains to Seattle generally come at night and the train ride is about 37 hours to Seattle or Portland. You have the option of a seat or private room, with sizes ranging from a small two-person roomette, to larger family room suites. All private rooms have private toilets and showers as well.
Parking is available at Union Depot in St. Paul for those looking to take advantage of the Empire Builder. We recommend Lot B, which has a daily rate of $10/day.
Future Amtrak Lines in Minnesota
There are new developments in funding from state, federal, and regional sources to finance two new Amtrak services that will be coming to Minnesota, the Northern Lights Express - which is slated to stop in Anoka County) - and the Great River/Hiawatha service.
Northern Lights Express
The Northern Lights Express is a proposed new Amtrak service heading from Minneapolis (Target Field) or St. Paul (Union Depot) to Duluth via stations in Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley, Superior, WI, and Duluth. Local funding required for an 80% federal match was approved in May 2023, and the line is expected to move forward with trains starting service in 3-5 years.
While the line is still in the beginning of the planning process, the Coon Rapids station is proposed to be built at Foley Boulevard, adjacent to the existing Metro Transit Foley Park and Ride.
The Great River/Hiawatha line is an approved extension of the existing Chicago-Milwaukee route to St. Paul, adding a second daily trip to and from Chicago from the Twin Cities. Because the service overlaps existing Amtrak service, it is not expected that major infrastructure improvements will be needed and service could start as soon as late 2023.