Freight Traffic Delays Passenger Trains Running through Union Depot

Updated: 05/08/2014 12:46 PM
Created: 05/08/2014 12:17 PM
By: Katherine Johnson

For the first time in 40 years, passenger trains are running through St. Paul's Union Depot. Unfortunately for excited passengers, those trains have all been running exceptionally late.

The tracks are clogged with freight trains and although the owner of the tracks, BNSF Railway Company, says its working to add capacity, the delay is still an immediate problem for passengers.

"It's cheaper than flying, easier than flying and more comfortable than driving," loyal Amtrak rider Jean James said. She has always preferred taking the train, until Thursday. "I'm pretty angry and I probably won't go Amtrak again," James said. "Even though I know it's not Amtrak's problem."

Instead, she's opting for a bus and she's not alone. Amtrak officials say the company has lost 10-15 percent of it's total number of riders over the past two years, all due to the delays caused by the oil boom in North Dakota and Montana.

"When I first started taking it, it wasn't late," passenger Sharyn Fahey said. "But the last couple years with the freight trains, it's worse than ever. This is the worst day. It's never been like this before. If it's late, it's usually an hour late and that's it but this is four hours."

Out of the 15 people KSTP spoke with waiting for train #8, only about two or three said the long wait wasn't a problem. The others said they'll think twice before taking the train again.

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