An Economic Study Shows the LS&M Railroad Can Be More Lucrative For Duluth

The study also shows about one million dollars a year can be spent by railroad users.

DULUTH, Minn. – For generations families have ridden the Train that runs on the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad to make lifetime memories

And the Friends of Western Duluth Parks and trails partnered with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at UMD for this survey.

Friends of Western Duluth Parks and Trails is worried about a plan to shorten the railroad by eliminating the final portion which leads to Mud Lake.

The survey found the final stretch of the rail line was considered the best, and 60% of riders would be less likely to recommend the train ride, if that part was eliminated.

Another 30% say the railroad is the reason they visit Duluth.

The study also shows about $1 millionĀ  a year can be spent by railroad users.

The chair for Friends of Western Duluth Parks hopes the results may help city leaders make a decision about the rail line.

“I personally feel very proud that we are bringing data to the table to show that this asset is valid for our community,” said Friends of Western Duluth Parks and Trails Chair Mike Casey Jr.

“This train has been operating for a long time with barely no cost to the city until the flood. The just started receiving tourism tax funds. That should speak loudly to the community and the City decision makers,” Casey continues.

Friends of Western Duluth raised about $8,000 to fund the survey.

The UMD team was inspired to assist.

“It’s really fun to do a project like this for a community group that is trying to have an impact on the community,” said UMD’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Monica Haynes.

“I’m hopeful that people will pay attention to the results,” Haynes continues.

Several environmental studies were conducted by the city on the railroad.

This independently funded survey from the partnership of UMD and Friends of Western Duluth is the first to provide any economic data.

Currently, there has not been a date set for a possible vote to keep the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad as is, but the organizations involved are hoping for that outcome.

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