Politicians enter Lakeville rail car fray

  • Article by: SUSAN FEYDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2012 - 8:29 PM

Lakeville homeowners say that hundreds of parked railroad cars have hurt their property values and should be removed.

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livefreeordJul. 15, 12 8:47 PM

Here's a simple solution. The neighbors who've got a problem with the railroad, should just by the rail yard and tear out the tracks. Seriously, you buy a home near a rail yard and get upset when the rail road parks cars there? How's this. The rail road doesn't park rail cars in their rail yard if you don't park any cars on or around your home. Seems fair to me.

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kruzelcJul. 15, 12 8:49 PM

So who was there first? The railroad or the neighborhood? Why are people who elected to purchase a house near there wasting MY government's officials' time on this bogus issue?

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bcarefulJul. 15, 12 9:44 PM

There isn't one person alive living next to those tracks that is older than the tracks are. Everyone who owns property affected by the rails bought knowing the rails were there. Any little bit of homework by buyers would have revealed the simple fact that railroads can do what they want, local zoning doesn't matter.

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jcinmnJul. 15, 1211:14 PM

kruzelc "So who was there first? The railroad or the neighborhood? " Most likely the people. Progressive RR wasn't formed until 1996. This a dilemma for Amy and John in that they are dealing with a neighborhood that outdates the company using the tracks, not owning them, and a company who has increased business for the community and surrounding area by 833% in their first year of operation. Why the owner of these cars doesn't keep them moving is a puzzle but it as a Canadian RR.

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sportsguy200Jul. 15, 1211:24 PM

Those train tracks were there for years but they were NEVER used for this until very recently. The railways actually say "exempt". These train cars are an enormous eyesore through a big section of the city. Driving by Lakeville North high school and Lake Marion the train cars turn a nice area into a low class train-wreck. I was actually wondering if there would be some legal action taken. I don't even live around Lakeville but this is definitely needed.

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vikesbluesJul. 16, 1212:16 AM

The tracks have been there for decades, predating the neighborhoods, but they never saw traffic and were not an eyesore. However, the people who bought homes nearby did not buy homes near a railyard, as was mentioned. Think of it this way; if you bought a home near a road, then you'd accept there would be some traffic. However, if the road was converted into a 350 car parking lot with graffiti and hundreds of junker cars, you'd be complaining too.

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kruzelcJul. 16, 1212:41 AM

@jcinmn: Listen if there are tracks there or a highway nearby, one should assume that at SOME point that traffic is going to increase. Just because the local RR wasn't formed until 1996 doesn't mean the tracks haven't existed for 100 years. So, no, not "most likely the people" who were there first.

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smilinadamJul. 16, 1212:41 AM

The cars are most likely stored there because of the economy. If the economy is sluggish, fewer cars are needed to haul freight. If the economy picks up, then the cars will move again. Until then, they probably aren't going anywhere.

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ronf528Jul. 16, 1212:47 AM

While it may be fair to point out the tracks weren't used much in the years prior to Progressive stating up, the fact is, the rails were there well before the homes and had to have been used at some time, even if long ago. If there is an "exempt" sign at the crossing, that only means vehicles that normally have to stop and look for trains, such as school buses and fuel trucks, do not have to stop. It doesn't mean the tracks are no longer used. Movements can be made on "exempt" tracks as long as there is a flag person at the crossing to stop traffic. I have to agree with those siding with the railroad. The cars may be an eyesore, but they are rightfully and legally there. Would you purchase a home next to an idle airfield, and just assume it would never be used again?

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moparfoolJul. 16, 12 5:13 AM

The railroad was started in 1907 by Col. Savage as the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, and Dubuque Electric Traction Company (Dan Patch Line) and after bankruptcy in 1918 it became the Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern. Today part of the line is Progressive Rail and the more northern part is Canadian Pacific. So as others have pointed out, the railroad precedes the neighborhoods by many years, and federal law governs how railroads may operate their lines. Storing unused rail cars is a money maker for Progressive Rail, and is entirely legal. Those who bought homes close to the track and are now objecting to the cars didn't do their due diligence and need to look in the mirror to see where their problem is. As for Kline and Klobuchar, they are making noise on behalf of the voters, but they most likely don't expect anything to happen.

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