If you're looking to get out and ride the rails, Amtrak just made it easier, with a new route that features several stops here in Minnesota.

While taking the train from the Twin Cities all the way through Milwaukee, Wisconsin on down to Chicago, Illinois was always possible, there's now a second route that's a little easier on the budget. And it just made its maiden voyage earlier this week.

Amtrak's 'Empire Builder' route has been around for a while now-- it first debuted back in 1929 and was retained when Amtrak took over the route in 1971-- and regularly runs between Union Depot in St. Paul, through Red Wing and Winona on its way to Wisconsin and Illinois. But it also runs all the way to the Pacific Northwest, as well.

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But the new Amtrak Borealis trains offer a second daily service between the Twin Cities and Chicago via Milwaukee. The new state-sponsored Borealis route originates from St. Paul at midday and from Chicago in the late morning, and are more reasonably priced.

According to an Amtrak release:

Amtrak Borealis coach fares start at $41 each way between St. Paul and Chicago for adults, with everyday discounts for children ages 2-12, students, seniors, veterans, military personnel and families, groups, and others.

If you're looking to take the Borealis from Union Depot in St. Paul all the way to Chicago, be prepared to spend 7 hours and 24 minutes on-board the train, Amtrak said, noting that this new route is also pet-friendly, and will allow you to take your small dog or cat along for the ride with you. (Certain restrictions apply, of course.)

The Amtrak Borealis daily route. (Amtrak)
The Amtrak Borealis daily route. (Amtrak)
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The release went on to say the Borealis trains will offer Coach and Business Class in addition to a café car featuring 'regional items.' It also said passengers will '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, Wisconsin,' Amtrak noted.  Of course, some of those great views of the Mississippi River can also be seen from other Minnesota stops on the Borealis route, including Red Wing and Winona.

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The Borealis is a joint venture sponsored by the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, Amtrak noted, say it's the 29th state-supported route they run along with 18 state partners.

If you're looking to take the Borealis from Union Depot in St. Paul all the way to Chicago, be prepared to spend 7 hours and 24 minutes on-board the train, Amtrak said, noting that this new route is also pet-friendly, and will allow you to take your small dog or cat along for the ride with you. (Certain restrictions apply, of course.)

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Gallery Credit: Sandi Hemmerlein