Skip to main content

Railroad takes issue with rerouting freight traffic for Southwest LRT

  • Author:
  • Updated:

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

Anthony Edwards

Ant ejected, Wolves blow huge lead and lose to slumping Hawks

The Timberwolves missed another opportunity to get over .500.

Xcel Energy Center

NHL announces make-up dates for Wild postponements

The Wild will play 40 games in the final 77 days of the regular season.

the mayo clinic - edit

Group says Mayo should be 'severely punished' over research puppy's death

The puppy died two days after undergoing a procedure at a Mayo research facility.

FLickr - minneapolis police - Tony Webster - Feb 2020 - crop

Charges: Man kidnapped woman, sexually assaulted her at gunpoint

The suspect faces three separate felony charges.

mn state capitol january 17 2021

St. Cloud 'Boogaloo Boi' who discussed attack on MN Capitol gets 2 years

He was charged with illegally possessing a machine gun.

Chris Smith

Gophers add All-Ivy League D-tackle from Harvard

Chris Smith will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

school bus

High school basketball team returns from game to find bus driver dead

Members of the girls team returned to the bus to find the driver unresponsive.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota AG sues COVID testing site, alleging it sent false results

Sometimes the company didn't send people their results at all, the lawsuit alleges.

optum headquarters chad davis wikimedia commons

UnitedHealth Group says it made $287B last year, $24B of it profit

The corporation's Optum business represented a significant chunk of that total.


Omicron may have already peaked in Minnesota

Reported cases lag what's happening in real time, so the newly reported cases over the next week or so will still be very high.


light rail

Federal funding for Southwest Light Rail advances to Congress

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

light rail

On track: Southwest Light Rail project gets final piece of funding

The $928.8 million funding grant will pay for the completion of the Green Line Light Rail Extension.