The view-blocking rail cars that upset residents along the North Shore Scenic Railroad will begin leaving early next week, said Ken Buehler, executive director of the railroad.
Buehler said 50 to 60 percent of the nearly 1,300 cars will be handed over to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company over the next couple weeks. The cars closest to the Depot near Leif Erickson Park and the Rose Garden will be the first to leave and put back into service transporting coal.
“This is a very good sign for the economy,” Buehler said. “It’s a good sign they will be put back into service because we were told they would be here until late spring.”
The storage of the cars along the North Shore Scenic Railroad drew the ire of residents whose view of Lake Superior was blocked and neighborhoods were divided.
Christine Penney, who lives on Congdon Boulevard along the North Shore, rejoiced when she heard that the cars will be moved.
“Hallelujah!” she said. “Now I wonder how many, where they will leave and how far they will go [up the line]. … We would be thrilled to get them out before March.”
Buehler said he is unsure how far the removal of cars will reach up the railway.
“We are going to take this on a day-to-day basis,” Buehler said.
Buehler predicts that the remaining 40 to 50 percent of the cars will depart in late spring. He said two reasons brought the cars to the railway in the first place: cars that are routinely put out of service and others that were removed due to the recession.
City Councilor Todd Fedora took the rail car removal news in two positive directions.
“It’s great news, not only for the residents in the neighborhoods, but it’s a sign that the economy is recovering,”