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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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City sues over Zilker Zephyr
Thursday, February 6, 2020 by Jo Clifton
After failing to reach an agreement with the city about extending its contract, the company that has run the Zilker Zephyr since 1996 is taking its train and going home. On its Facebook page, Texas Special Inc. declared how unhappy it was with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department after the parties failed to reach agreement about how long the contract might be extended. “Yes, we are leaving Zilker Park and we are taking our big green Zephyr train with us!” the company said. The city did not dispute ownership of the train, but when the Texas Special people attempted to remove the Zephyr’s train tracks, the city filed suit and has requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the company from removing any more bolts or other parts of the tracks. The city had to stop running the popular attraction after heavy rains last May washed out part of the tracks. In a statement to KXAN, the city said, “We regret it’s come to this but when we learned the contractor was attempting to remove the track, which would limit our ability to bring in a new operator, we had no choice but to ask the courts to confirm the city’s ownership and protect the train infrastructure.” The city added that the train is part of Austin history and that the parks department is working on finding a new vendor. A city spokesman said Wednesday night that the city has not yet received word on a date for the hearing.
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