Expanded Amtrak service from Milwaukee to the Twin Cities could start sometime later this year, even as prospects for new routes to Madison, Green Bay and Eau Claire remain uncertain, Wisconsin’s top rail official says.

A new passenger rail line, to be named the Great River route, will offer a second daily round trip between Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, in addition to the one provided now by Amtrak’s long-distance Empire Builder, says Lisa Stern, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s railroads and harbors chief.

Great River trains will follow the current Empire Builder route west from downtown Milwaukee, with Wisconsin stops in Columbus, Portage, Wisconsin Dells, Tomah and La Crosse. Unlike the Empire Builder, the Great River also will stop in Sturtevant and at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, and it won’t continue past St. Paul to Seattle and Portland.

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