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July 8, 2024

Borealis Ridership Tops 18,500 in First Full Month

Amtrak and states impressed by positive response to new service

CHICAGO – Preliminary figures from the first full month of state-sponsored Borealis trains between St. Paul and Chicago show a ridership of greater than 18,500. That is an average of about 300 passengers aboard each of the eastbound and westbound trains operated daily by Amtrak under contracts with Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

“Amtrak and our state partners have always believed the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor was a great one with tremendous opportunity,” said Ray Lang, Vice President, Amtrak State Supported Service. “The ridership numbers we have seen so far confirm our belief and we expect this trend to continue as the service matures and we head into the peak summer travel season.

“With strong college and university markets on this route, we are confident Borealis will continue to perform well when students and staff travel in greater numbers this fall,” said Lang, who added Amtrak ridership nationally is on a trend this year to set a new all-time record.

“Borealis marks the first passenger rail service expansion in Wisconsin in 22 years and people are responding,” said Craig Thompson, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). “The initial data is promising and reflects the hard work done by WisDOT, our partner states and Amtrak to bring this service to the people of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. We’re hopeful the more people that ride Borealis and like it, the more successful it will be.”

“The number of rides in the first month clearly demonstrates the need for this route,” said Nancy Daubenberger, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). “We are optimistic numbers will remain strong and the Borealis service will continue to provide a safe, sustainable and accessible transportation option.”

“The first month ridership numbers are very encouraging,” said Omer Osman, Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). “We think that they show great potential for this route and look forward to continued strong ridership in the coming months.”

Borealis trains originate from St. Paul at midday and from Chicago in the late morning with Amtrak everyday discounts for children ages 2-12, students, seniors, veterans, military personnel and families, groups, and others. The trains offer Coach and Business Class in addition to a café car featuring regional items.

Customers enjoy wide reclining seats with ample legroom, no middle seats, free Wi-Fi, and views of the Mississippi River between St. Paul and La Crosse, Wisc., in daylight in both directions across Wisconsin.

For More Information

Marc Magliari
Amtrak Contact
800 562.1904

John DesRivieres
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
608 266.5599

Anne Meyer
Minnesota Department of Transportation
612 283.4991

Scott Speegle
Illinois Department of Transportation
312 793.2794

About Amtrak®

For more than 50 years, Amtrak has connected America and modernized train travel. Offering a safe, environmentally efficient way to reach more than 500 destinations across 46 states and parts of Canada, Amtrak provides travelers with an experience that sets a new standard. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at and connect with us on X, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About WisDOT

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) was officially established in 1967. It provides leadership in the development of a safe and efficient multimodal transportation system for the people of Wisconsin and the state’s many visitors. Learn more about WisDOT at and connect with WisDOT on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube to stay up to date on the latest transportation news in Wisconsin.

About MnDOT

Created in 1976, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) oversees transportation by all modes including land, water, air, rail, walking and bicycling. Its mission is to connect and serve all people through a safe, equitable and sustainable transportation system. Stay connected to MnDOT through our Social Hub.

About IDOT

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has statutory responsibility for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of Illinois’ extensive transportation network, which encompasses highways and bridges, airports, public transit, rail freight and rail passenger systems. This vast transportation system supports the fifth largest state in the nation and more than 100 million visitors annually. IDOT’s Stay Connected page serves as an interactive hub to facilitate transportation news, events, video and photo galleries, and to promote information through social media platforms targeting all transportation stakeholders.