Lexington Center, Corman Railroad settle lawsuit; Corman to remove glass station

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJanuary 28, 2014 

The R.J. Corman Railroad Co.'s glass-walled train holding station, which sits on Lexington Center property, will be removed under the terms of a settlement announced Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

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R.J. Corman Railroad Co. will remove a glass structure that houses the steam locomotive "Old Smoky" as part of a settlement reached in a lawsuit with Lexington Center Corp.

The parties announced the settlement Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell signed an agreed order dismissing the litigation last week.

Under an amended lease, R.J. Corman Railroad Property, LLC agrees to remove within two years the train holding station now standing on Lexington Center property. The glass-walled structure with red Churchill Downs-like spires was erected to house a steam locomotive that once chugged through China.

The agreement also stipulates that the Lexington Center refund all rents collected under the lease during the first 12 months of operation; the lease agreement governing the rail spur activities will remain intact.

The Lexington Dinner Train, which made its first trip to Versailles in August, will continue to make excursions.

"We're pleased to have reached a resolution to this matter and we are happy Lexington residents and visitors alike can still look forward to enjoying the R.J. Corman Dinner Train," said Brent Rice, chairman of the board for Lexington Center Corp.

Craig King, president of R.J. Corman Railroad Group, said in the release that the company "is pleased that the parties have reached an agreement in which each of their respective interests have been adequately accommodated."

Neither side would discuss details beyond the statements released.

The railroad company had contended in a suit filed in May that Lexington Center Corp. wanted to shut down the spur that runs onto Lexington Center property.

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

The settlement comes five months after the death of Richard Jay "Rick" Corman, founder of the Nicholasville-based railroad company. He died Aug. 23 at age 58 of multiple myeloma.

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

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