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Freight Rail Changes Planned, But Not For Reroute

A stretch of track from I-394 to just east of Beltline Boulevard is being replaced.

Changes are coming to the Kenilworth Freight Rail Corridor this fall, but not as part of a potential reroute through St. Louis Park.

A stretch of track from I-394 to just east of Beltline Boulevard will be replaced in October, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority reported Tuesday.

The section of track is aging and isn't up to current design standards. The new track will consist of continuously welded rail, which will result in smoother operations for freight trains.

There is no plan to increase train speeds as part of the project, the HCRRA reports. This also has nothing to do with a proposed freight rail reroute that could divert Kenilworth traffic onto a railway that runs through the heart of St. Louis Park to make room for a new light rail line.

Many Park residents have voiced opposition to the reroute proposal, particularily because of safety concerns due to increased freight traffic near . Grassroots group Safety in the Park has spearheaded the local opposition. City Council also .

However, the city is limited in what it wil ultimately be able to do, because the freight rails are outside its jurisdiction. 

To date, a final decision has not been made on whether the reroute will become reality or not. Last fall, the Federal Transit Administration did mandate that the Met Council analyze reroute costs and impacts as part of LRT planning, as the council is the lead agency for the light rail project.

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