Free Northstar rides offered with toy donation

Metro Transit and BNSF Railway have teamed up to offer free rides on select Northstar commuter rail trips this Friday and Saturday in exchange for donations to Toys for Tots.

The morning of Friday, Dec. 14, U.S. Marines and BNSF employees who operate Northstar will be on hand at Target Field Station to accept donations from Northstar commuters. In exchange for donations of new unwrapped toys, riders will be given a pair of free Northstar tickets to use at a later date. (Limit one pair of tickets per customer).

The evening of Saturday, Dec. 15, those traveling on the special Northstar Holidazzle train may ride free to and from any station with their Toys for Tots donations. To qualify for the free Holidazzle ride, one donation is needed for each Northstar customer. For example, a party of two adults and two children would ride free with a donation of four new unwrapped toys. Donations will be collected at Target Field Station by U.S. Marines as well as BNSF and Metro Transit staff. The BNSF Railway Foundation is joining in the effort, providing a $2,000 contribution to Toys for Tots. The Northstar Holidazzle train will operate on this schedule:

Northstar Holidazzle train schedule:
Saturday, Dec. 15

Departs Big Lake 3:06 p.m.
Departs Elk River 3:16 p.m.
Departs Ramsey 3:21 p.m.
Departs Anoka 3:27 p.m.
Departs Coon Rapids-Riverdale 3:31 p.m.
Departs Fridley 3:39 p.m.
Arrives Target Field 3:55 p.m.

The return trip will depart Target Field Station promptly at 8 p.m.

The Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which runs between St. Cloud and Big Lake Station, is also offering free rides. Board the Link with a toy to donate Friday, Dec. 14, and get two free Link ride passes. For the special Holidazzle service on Saturday, Dec. 15, bring a toy to donate and your round trip on the Link is free. See bus schedules at or call 877.LINK.010.

For more information about Toys for Tots, visit

Northstar is operated by Metro Transit, a service of the Metropolitan Council.

Northstar Link is funded by the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, Sherburne and Stearns Counties. It is operated by Metro Bus in St. Cloud.