Imagine an advanced tech architectural masterpiece of a high-speed railroad station. Located close to Carlton College, right across the river on Water Street! Sun blocking glass and steel, totally powered with solar panels and enclosed from severe Minnesota weather for boarding!

The future will bring a need for speed in America. Forget canceled flights at the airport, or long exhausting interstate drives. Northfield would be part of a southern central Minnesota high-speed corridor. Racing up to 300-mph high-speed freight and passenger train schedules at 24/7, around the clock, serving industries and time sensitive inter-city passengers.

In my opinion, true high-speed rail can happen in Minnesota only if it is part of a larger multi-state transit system. Northfield would be part of a Midwest route. In a large circular design six states interconnected. With Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Paul and Milwaukee as major stops.

Incredible speeds are operated on totally separate tracks. Unique security structures eliminate any city street or country road grade crossings, vehicles and pedestrians go over tracks on bridges or under by concrete tunnels. No object can be in front of it for miles, at these levels of speed. Safety will be complete with underground intrusion sensors, infrared surveillance and visual observation all along the way providing a canopy of safety. In Minnesota winter, storm shields resisting drifting would stretch for miles. Over dense populated areas elevated tracks with bridge structures carry our HSR trains in complete security.

An alliance of international finance, and infrastructure banks would provide the investment in this profit making transportation. This fast freight and passenger travel is nothing similar to taxpayer supported systems in Minnesota like LRT, NorthStar and proposed rail transit ideas like ZIP, those rely on public money to run. Future HSR will not be socialized transportation. Construction investments will be rewarded with profits as dividends...a very alien idea for current state and municipal planners to comprehend!

As HSR tracks are placed 100,000 trade craftsmen, laborers, land surveyors and civil engineers would be on the job every day. Building the six state system in synchronization across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad owns what is traditionally known as the “Dan Patch Line”. This is an old unimproved track route running northwest out of Northfield. Without the level and straight geography needed for sustaining speed. A rebuild of this old Dan Patch Line would cost several billions of dollars to bring it to HSR specifications.

The primary rail route is owned by Union Pacific, directly entering the Union Depot in St. Paul. Historically; Union Pacific has the engineering level and technical expertise to be a partner in future high-speed rail for our country.

William Hume is a lifelong Minnesotan, retired from land surveying and engineering he writes nationally on the subject of high-speed rail. His contact is wrhdesign@hotmail.com

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