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Author Topic: Minneapolis Amtrak to Airport
Railroad Bill
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Hello Gang,
I am in charge of planning an Amtrak trip to our Lions International Convention in Minneapolis next July. Our Amtrak tickets from Cleveland to MSP are secured at a really good price especially with a 15% discount for a senior group, but need to know what will be the best way to get from the Amtrak station to the Mall of America Ramada where our delegation headquarters is located?.
Are there public transportation networks around MSP that operate that late at night? EB arrives 10:30PM if on time. Or is a taxi the only way to go? Would appreciate anyone with experience around MSP to let me know.
Thanks
Railroad Bill

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Liberty Limited
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I think Twin Star Rocket would be the authority here on this, but I almost planned a trip to MSP in June, so I know a little something.

The "Hiawatha" Light Rail does operate to the Airport from Downtown Minneapolis and on to the Mall of America in Bloomington. However, Bloomington is rather spread out as are its hotels, so the Ramada may or may not be adjacent to the Light Rail.

Complicating things is that the Light Rail does not operate near the Amtrak Station, which is set IIRC in a rather industrial area somewhat West of Downtown St. Paul and East of Downtown Minneapolis. There is a #16 bus with a very respectable frequency that links the Station to Downtown Minneapolis, and the light Rail runs until 1 a.m.

If it were me and it were the daylight hours, I'd use the transit without hesitation, but given the late hours, I might consider at least catching a cab to the light rail, and that depends on how close your hotel is to one of the stations on that line.

Someone can probably chime in to speak of the safety aspect of the station area and Downtown Minneapolis after dark.

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History of Baltimore and Baltimore Transit - Visit http://www.btco.net !

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Gilbert B Norman
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When I review topics such as this, I am reminded of a posting I noted at another Forum elsewhere;

Being a true railfan requires sacrifice...If you were not a railfan you would not be trying to do a journey that Amtrak is actively discouraging. Riding Amtrak is difficult enough even when Amtrak is trying to help

I'd just hire a taxicab (safe assumption they "make the scene' traintime at Amtrak's "conveniently located' station) and be on my way - cost be d@mned.

14.1 miles

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sojourner
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Be sure to check with your hotel re the possibility of shuttle service. If they use an airport shuttle, you might be able to have that same shuttle come to the train station instead, and it could be far cheaper than a taxi (esp if they have a larger vehicle). In fact, if the hotel has no info re shuttles, I'd still check any shuttle services that serve the airport and with local taxi companies AND bus charter companies about the possibility of getting a good group rate--taxi companies sometimes have a little minibus, for example. Since you are all presumably coming on the same train, you are a big bunch of customers coming together, and could easily fill a minibus or two. . . .

Last year when we went to a wedding in Chicago, we took a taxi from the hotel to the church, but the parents of the bride paid for a charter bus to take those of us without cars from the church service to the reception venue.

Of course, with Amtrak, the problem is the possibility of a late arrival, which could complicate things with a charter bus or shuttle. But the Empire Builder really isn't too bad that way, usually, and I don't see why you couldn't work it so that you can phone from the train and give them an ETA.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Unfortunately Ms. Sojourner, it appears that this hotel at which RR Bill's delegation is staying, is essentially on the perimeter of Wold-Chamberlain Field (KMSP-ICAO/MSP-IATA).

Best hope to reducing the likely $50 taxicab tab is to hook with any other delegates aboard #7 - who knows, there might just be another.

Like it or not, auto or air transport is how 99% of the people get around.

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notelvis
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I'd be inclined......again if the group is large enough to warrant such.....to look into chartering vans, a minibus, or perhaps even a city transit bus to meet the train. There may be options which may ultimately save everyone a few dollars over the 'share a cab' plan.

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Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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TwinStarRocket
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Sorry, but ol' Twinstar hasn't checked in here til now, but here goes:

I assume you mean the Mall of America Ramada at 2300 E. American Blvd on I-494 and 24th. They have a 24 hour shuttle to the airport, which is very close. Unlikely they go to Amtrak but you could try. Maybe it is even unlikely they know there is an Amtrak.

Many cabs line up for the Empire Builder every night, and that would be the most convenient choice. You could easily get multiple cabs without using the phone. Choose the route straight south from the depot on Transfer Rd./Cleveland Ave to Hwy 5 to I-494, about a 9.5 mile trip through a very pleasant residential part of St. Paul. The driver may likely choose the freeway through Minneapolis (as does Google), but it is not the most direct route. The Google route is ridiculous (50% longer, scary traffic, and ultimately slower). I drive from my house near Amtrak past the airport weekly, so I am familiar with many routes.

Hertz has a counter at Amtrak and cars onsite, but I do not think they staff the counter at the arrival time of the EB.

If you are brave enough to endure public transportation you would have to do the following: Tote your luggage 2 blocks south to the University bus line #16. It runs every few minutes, even at night. It will possibly have passengers who are colorful urban characters, but is not dangerous. Get off at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis and transfer to the Hiawatha Light Rail bound for Mall of America. Get off at the airport or the Mall (end of the line) where you can be picked up by the shuttle to Ramada. You would have a long walk in the interior of the airport to get to where the shuttle picks up. Light Rail terminates on the south end of Mall of America and Ramada is about 2 blocks north of this giant mall, so it would be a long walk.

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Railroad Bill
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Thanks Twin Star and others for your advice. It looks like I will have to figure out a plan to get us to the Ramada Mall of America site. City buses that time of night will not work as many of our members are 65+, will have their wives along as well.
I received word from the hotel that they do not have van shuttle to Amtrak and will not during the convention.
Will look into renting vans but cab may be the most efficent means. Too bad the EB arrives so late at night.
Mr. Norman, you are correct--most everyone is arriving by plane and the hotel is practically next door and free shuttle.
Thought the Amtrak idea would be a great way to go.
Return trip would be in the morning and not nearly as much of a problem but arriving at 10PM or later seems to be.
Thanks again for all your advice
Railroad Bill & The Lions.

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Railroad Bill
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Opps, Forgot to ask what a cab fare from Amtrak to the Ramada might be. Mr. Norman suggested it would be $50?? If four people shared a cab would the fare be higher. Or could two couples split the cab fare?
(obviously we small towners havent ridden in many cabs-- our local transport system charges $2 to go anywhere in town between 8am and 8pm.--after that the streets are rolled up*** smile**.
Thanks
Railroad Bill & The Lions

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TwinStarRocket
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I stopped by Amtrak today to ask the ticket agent what companies might provide transportation for a group. They guessed Airport Taxi or Yellow Taxi. How many might be in your group?

Airport Taxi 651-222-0000 "Six can ride for the price of one"
www.airport-towntaxi.com
Assuming 10 miles, the fare would be about $26 by the short route straight south from Amtrak to Hwy 5.

Yellow Taxi 651-644-4704 www.stpaulyellowtaxi.com

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Railroad Bill
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Thanks TwinStarRocket,
Appreciate your help and the information. Will contact these two and if we can get some mini vans to haul us over there, that would work great.
Will get some possible numbers and then see what they say.
Thanks again for all your help.
Railroad Bill

Posts: 87 | From: Ohio | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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