A Plan is in Place to Remove the Minnesota Zephyr Trains from Downtown Stillwater by Dec. 15

The Minnesota Zephyr locomotives will be removed from the north end of downtown Stillwater by Dec. 15.

The Stillwater City Council in September directed city staff to find a company that will move and store David Paradeau’s trains if he doesn’t move them in the next 45 days.

The 45 days has passed, but the council agreed to a deadline extension as long as the trains are gone by Dec. 15.

There has been significant action taken in the last couple of days, City Attorney Dave Magnuson told the council on Tuesday night.

Union Pacific Railroad has authorized–and ordered–the oversized railroad cars to move the Zephyr trains from railroad siding in Lake Elmo to their final destination in Colorado, Magnuson said. Union Pacific has determined that the railroad cars are properly sized to fit through the constricting areas of the tracks along the move.

The heavy hauler who will move the trains from The Depot to the Lake Elmo said he can move the trains on Dec. 15.

“The thing that is different this time is we are not dealing with the same people we have had to deal with for the last three years,” Magnuson said. “We are dealing with Union Pacific directly; the owner of the railroad siding directly; and we’re dealing with a Minnesota guy who has given us a firm date to remove the trains. For the first time I am hopeful we have something in place that is going to work.”

Council Member Tom Weidner said while he appreciates the city attorney’s work on this issue, he’d like to see the city engage the heavy hauler to ensure that if the hauler doesn’t move the trains according to Paradeau’s terms, he’ll move the trains on the city’s terms.

“That way they are out of town by Dec. 15,” Weidner said. “One way or another, they leave.”

If the trains are moved on the city’s terms, the cost of hauling and storing the trains will be held against the owner’s property tax.

While I appreciate your trust in these people doing it, and this is the best proposal we’ve seen to date, at this point we need to see them gone,” Weidner said. “Since this hauler is available on Dec. 15, I’d like to see them gone one way or another.”

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