No starting date for Corman excursion train from Lexington to Versailles

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJuly 17, 2013 

A spokesman for R.J. Corman Railroad Group said Wednesday that an excursion train from Lexington to Versailles "remains in the planning process."

Noel Rush, vice president of finance and administration for the Nicholasville-based company, said he couldn't give a starting date for the attraction.

"For some months now, our intentions have been to run an excursion train from our Lexington yard," Rush said.

He said he couldn't be more specific about a timetable. He said the start date "shifts based upon all sorts of circumstances, including the refurbishment of a rail car."

Lexington Center Corp. president and CEO Bill Owen said it was his understanding that Corman "has acquired a couple of cars" and was planning to start the excursion train.

"But you'd have to check with them to get anything official. I don't know any specific time line at all," Owen said.

Corman Railroad announced plans for an excursion train in 2010. In May, Corman Railroad filed a federal lawsuit against Lexington Center, saying the center wants to shut down a spur that extends east from Corman's Lexington rail yard, beneath Oliver Lewis Way and onto the parking lot owned by the center. The spur leads to a structure that houses a steam locomotive.

The railroad company contends that Lexington Center can't deprive Corman use of the spur without the "authority and approval of the Surface Transportation Board." That board is an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates railroad rates, services and transactions.

In late June, Lexington Center Corp. asked the court to determine a date by which the excursion train must begin and resolve other issues regarding the 2010 lease. No decision or ruling had been made in the case as of Wednesday.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @heraldleader.

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