Northstar Commuter Rail
Update for October 2, 2023: Northstar will be increasing service to 8 daily round trips, three southbound morning trips, three afternoon northbound trips, and a reverse commute trip in each direction. Click here to see Metro Transit's announcement and updated trip schedules.
The Northstar Commuter Rail line is Anoka County's most premium transit option and offers a fast, reliable commute between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis.
Northstar trains are equipped with great amenities that will make you regret ever waiting in construction traffic on Highway 10. Northstar trains are outfitted with great features such as:
- Seating with tables for getting that last-minute homework done on the train or preparing for your morning meetings.
- Wall outlets for charging cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronics.
- Free Wi-Fi to keep you connected while you ride.
- Restrooms aboard all train cars.
- Convenient bike parking on lower levels of train cars
- Trains are rarely affected by inclement weather - when buses were suspended due to ice and snow in January 2023, Northstar had no delays or cancellations. Trains are a faster, safer, and more reliable way to commute in the winter months.
Northstar Stations and Transit Connections
Northstar makes four stops in Anoka County:
All four stations have expansive, free Park and Ride facilities. Ramsey and Anoka stations have free, covered parking available. Bike parking is also available, including rentable, covered bike lockers.
Other Metro Transit services can be found at most Northstar stations in Anoka County:
- Route 10, local all-day service between Blaine & downtown Minneapolis - Fridley
- Route 805, local bus service between downtown Anoka & Blaine - Anoka; Coon Rapids/Riverdale (.4 mile walk)
- Route 824, local/limited stop bus from Blaine to downtown Minneapolis - Fridley
- Route 850, express bus from Anoka, Coon Rapids, or Blaine to downtown Minneapolis - Coon Rapids/Riverdale
- Route 852, express bus from Anoka, Coon Rapids, or Blaine to downtown Minneapolis - Fridley
How to Ride
Unlike Metro Transit buses, riders must have valid paid fare before boarding the train. Metro Transit or BNSF personnel on trains do not sell tickets. However, Metro Transit Police Department officers may be aboard to check for valid tickets. More details and information about how to ride Metro Transit buses and trains can be found on Metro Transit's website.
There are three ways to pay for your ride:
- The Metro Transit App lets you buy, store, and activate tickets anytime, anywhere, and is conveniently stored on your phone. You can find it on the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Metro Transit's smart fare card, Go-To Card, can be used at fare validation points. Refill your card at any station kiosk or on Metro Transit's website. Cards can be purchased at any Cub Foods or at a Metro Transit Service Center.
- Customers looking to pay with cash or credit/debit card in-person, can do so at the ticket kiosk at each station. You will receive a physical ticket that is good for transfers on buses and light rail trains for two hours after purchase.
Metro Transit trains and buses are wheelchair-accessible. Northstar stations feature elevators where needed to cross over or below tracks. The trains do not have level-boarding, but ramps are located at the southern/eastern ends of station platforms. There is a gap between the train and the ramp; the train's conductor will help any customer requiring level-boarding onto the train.
Target Field Station has an elevator to the surface from the Northstar platform with access to the METRO Blue and Green line light rail trains. These trains all have level boarding. All Metro Transit buses have extendable ramps for step-free boarding and space to accommodate wheelchair users.
Service Levels and Schedules
Currently (as of 9/10/23), Northstar has two southbound trips in the morning and two northbound trips in the afternoon, Monday through Friday only. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northstar had four southbound trips in the morning, four northbound trips in the afternoon, with each time period having one trip in the opposite direction. You can find the latest Northstar schedules on Metro Transit's website.
Northstar will be increasing service to 8 daily round trips, three southbound morning trips, three afternoon northbound trips, and a reverse commute trip in each direction. Click here to see Metro Transit's announcement and updated trip schedules.
In the past, Metro Transit has offered extended and additional service for Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings games, as well as other major downtown Minneapolis events. Vikings game service will resume in October 2023. No Twins service is planned at this time. Plan accordingly.