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The Northstar Commuter Rail has taken a beating in the press and at the farebox over the past couple years largely over its dismal on-time performance. But now there is some good news.

Last year the line that runs 41 miles between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis saw a turnaround with nearly 96 percent of its runs arriving on-time, and with that an uptick in ridership. For the year, the Northstar line provided 722,637 rides compared with 721,214 the year before, Metro Transit reports.

Last week when the first big snowstorm of the season hit, ridership topped 3,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We were able to shine during the snow and blizzard conditions," said John Paul Zanaska, director of commuter rail for Metro Transit.