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Short line rejects proposed reroute that would accommodate Twin Cities' light-rail project

Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. (TC&W) announced on Friday that it has rejected a recent proposal by independent consultant Transystems to reroute its freight-rail service from the Kenilworth Corridor to a St. Louis Park line to accommodate the Metropolitan Council's Southwest Corridor light-rail project.

The short line reached its conclusion after reviewing a technical analysis prepared by a South Dakota engineering firm, which described the Transystems' proposal as "neither efficient, safe nor cost effective when compared to TC&W's current route," TC&W officials said in a press release.

The report by Civil Design Inc. (CDI) highlighted specific problems with the St. Louis Park route, which independent consultant Transystems recommended on Jan. 30, said TC&W President Mark Wegner.

"The operating conditions proposed by the Transystems alignment would be detrimental in every respect to current and future operating conditions for the TC&W," Civil Design's analysis concluded.

The Transystems plan would reroute freight-rail traffic through St. Louis Park on the MN&S rail line owned by Canadian Pacific. It is only slightly different from the plan proposed in the October 2012 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) published by Hennepin County, TC&W officials said.

Wegner said he couldn't understand why Transystems recommended a St. Louis Park reroute that is only slightly different from the DEIS plan that TC&W rejected. He said the short line wasn't asked for input in either case until the designs already had been made public.
In contrast, Wegner pointed to the Brunswick Central reroute option, which TC&W found acceptable from a safety perspective. The Metropolitan Council developed that route with the collaboration of CP and TC&W to meet Class I mainline safety and engineering standards, he said.

The $1.25 billion project would extend light-rail service between Eden Prairie, Minn., and downtown Minneapolis.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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