Railroad takes issue with rerouting freight traffic for Southwest LRT


A new proposal for the Southwest light-rail project that would run freight trains through St. Louis Park is getting some pushback from the railroad.

Minnesota Public Radio reports Twin Cities & Western Railroad, the company that runs trains along part of the planned 16-mile light-rail line, says the new route raises some safety concerns.

The route, which is very similar to a previous proposal that was strongly opposed by St. Louis Park residents, would reroute freight traffic from the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis to St. Louis Park. The plan would make way for light-rail trains to run through the corridor.

But the railroad's preliminary analysis found the curves and elevation changes along the route pose a risk for derailment, MPR reports.

Mark Wegner, president of Twin Cities & Western Railroad, announced his concerns Wednesday at a meeting of mayors and county commissioners who have played key decision-making roles for the $1.5 billion project, the Star Tribune says.

TranSystems of Kansas City, the Metropolitan Council's railroad consultant, says there is nothing unsafe about the proposal.

"My company does rail design work for the BNSF, the Union Pacific. They're our two biggest customers," Jim Terry, a senior vice president for TranSystems, told MPR. "And we encounter curves like this all the time."

The Star Tribune points out that the railroad's stance is important because it weighs heavily on whether the federal government will approve the plan, thus approving federal funds. Finance & Commerce says the federal Surface Transportation Board, which oversees all rail mergers, sales, construction and abandonments, has never allowed a railroad-opposed reroute.

Wegner said a Twin Cities & Western engineer will take a closer look at the proposal to look for possible tweaks to the plan.

Also being considered is a slightly more expensive plan that would run light-rail trains through two shallow tunnels alongside freight traffic in the Kenilworth Corridor. The option would force the removal of hundreds of trees along the corridor.

However, as Finance & Commerce reports, the city of Minneapolis has been adamant that if the light rail comes through Kenilworth, freight needs to move.

The Metropolitan Council is set to vote on the project at the end of March. The Star Tribune says the proposal would then be passed to cities along the light-rail route for their consent.

Next Up

basilica block party

Basilica Block Party cancels July festival, may be held this fall

Event organizers are "actively exploring" other options for the annual music festival.


After COVID-19 cancellation last year, Minnesota Renaissance Festival will go on

The festival anticipates the season, which will start Aug. 21, will go on "without restrictions."

Demiiyah Star Martin

An 11-year-old girl is missing from Minneapolis

Police have issued an appeal to find her.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota legal marijuana bill headed for House vote for first time ever

The bill passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.

Douglas Schroeder

Appeal to find 59-year-old man missing from Edina

Douglas Schroeder was last seen on Thursday.

Ambulance Hennepin Healthcare

Woman found fatally shot in downtown parking ramp

It happened on 9th Street South between LaSalle and Hennepin.

duluth police department

Woman critical after Duluth stabbing, man suffers broken leg

Police have released sparse details about the incident.

Screen Shot 2021-05-08 at 10.01.38 PM

Police: Man, 20, killed his older sister in Chanhassen

Police found the 25-year-old woman dead from gunshot wounds.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov's playmaking, Rask's OT winner on display against Ducks

The Wild superstar had a pair of assists in a 4-3 victory.

Tyler Duffey

Twins offense, bullpen continue to struggle against Tigers

The Tigers scored five runs in the seventh inning in a 7-3 defeat.


Early Saturday crash leaves 2 kids, 1 adult dead in Maple Grove

The crash happened just before 7 a.m. Saturday.


light rail

Federal funding for Southwest Light Rail advances to Congress

The Metropolitan Council is hopeful Congress will award the nearly $929 million grant.