Dinner train could arrive in the next two weeks

Thursday, December 2, 2010 | 6:46 p.m. CST; updated 8:38 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 12, 2011

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Star dinner train could arrive in town from Iowa within the next two weeks, Central States Railroad Associates President Mark Vaughn said Thursday. 

The precise arrival date remains unclear because Central States is relying on other companies' schedules.

“We are making operations to move the train at this time," Vaughn said. "Everything is proceeding normally, but it takes time to ship a train 500 miles.”

The  dinner train has passed all inspections needed to make its trip to Columbia,  Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lorah Steiner said. The train will have to travel along three different railroad lines to get here. Once it arrives, Central States will have to hire food services and other personnel to staff the train.

“We are all anxious expecting the train to get here, but we need to be patient and understand that operators have to meet certain requirements to move the train to Columbia,” Steiner said.

Under an agreement with the Columbia City Council, Central States will have five years to provide a car accessible to people with disabilities. The city of Columbia will spend around $20,000 to ensure that its rail terminal facilities — including parking spaces, restrooms and a boarding ramp — comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The train will run on the COLT railroad between Columbia and Centralia. It will serve dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings and brunch on Sundays.

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