Passenger rail fans have already been getting excited about the idea of taking a train across Montana's "southern route", the Route of Hiawatha, at some point in the future.

Now, another idea for passenger rail has surfaced, and one that wouldn't focus on east-west travel, but moving people in a north-south direction.

And this one would provide an important international connection with our Canadian neighbors, which has the potential for a big economic impact on Montana, especially for tourism.

RELATED: Missoula County to host passenger rail workshop

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Big Sky Passenger Rail is more advanced

Efforts to restore the "Route of the Hiawatha" across Southern Montana have been making large strides over the past 3-years thanks to the efforts of the Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority. Passenger trains haven't used that route since Amtrak closed the run in the 1970s.

The initiative has been working toward a Corridor ID Program, which would begin filling in some of the details for the "southern route."

Now, a new proposed connection to Canada

This week, BSPRA noted the release of the new Alberta-Montana Passenger Rail Feasibility Report, which focuses on the idea of cross-border, passenger rail service between Calgary, Alberta, and Livingston.

In a Facebook post, Alberta Regional Rail said a Calgary-Livingston corridor would "enhance regional interconnectivity, while simultaneously improving economic and tourism development, generating employment opportunities, and offering a sustainable travel option."

However, backers note the idea goes beyond passenger rail, but improving economic investment, especially in tourism. And you can imagine the travel interest of being able to connect Yellowstone National Park with the Alberta parks.

The report, which Alberta Rail says is being published by a third party, hasn't been posted publicly yet. But we'll be watching for details.

Stunning Photos of Yellowstone National Park in the Fall

Take a "virtual visit" to the Park in autumn. Photos courtesy of the Nationa Park System and photographer Diane Renkin.