- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The city of Columbia is ending its contract with the Columbia Star Dinner Train for not paying its bills since the summer.

Columbia officials sent a termination notice last week prohibiting the company from operating trains on city-owned tracks and requiring it to remove its property before December ends.

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine told the Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1scE8CU ) the dinner train hasn’t been operating since October.

The city sent Train Travel Holdings Inc., which owns Star Dinner Train, a notice in August that it was behind on its payments. The unpaid bills, which total nearly $12,000, include utility charges and fees for renting a city-owned locomotive.

The dinner train’s president, B. Allen Brown, said in a statement that a larger company is in the process of buying it and declined to identify them. He said officials hoped the sale would be done this month, but “due to the holidays and lawyers, I do not anticipate anything to materialize until the end of January 2015.”

The Convention and Visitors Bureau started receiving calls from customers about two weeks ago who had booked tickets for the dinner train, according to Megan McConachie, marketing and communications manager.

“They were calling (the train) and no one was picking up,” she said. “The number wasn’t working. I believe some of them were charged.”

St. Romaine said the city is working on contacting Train Travel Holdings to collect the overdue bills.

“My hope would be they would agree to pay those amounts due,” he said. “And failing that, as I said, we have legal means through the courts to file suit to collect any past-due amounts. And we will certainly do that if it becomes absolutely necessary.”


Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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