The former dinner train began the move to temporary quarters in Bayport after a delay over paperwork.
With contracts signed, crews early Thursday began moving the Minnesota Zephyr dinner train.
About 2 a.m. Thursday, flatbed trucks carried two passenger cars from the depot on the north side of Stillwater down Main Street and Hwy. 95 to a siding in Bayport, where they will be temporarily stored.
Crews from the Canadian firm Savage Heavy Haul orchestrated the move of the St. Croix and Stillwater dining cars, which went "as smooth as silk," said Matt Hinton, project coordinator.
Crews escorted by police took about 40 minutes to cart the 160,000-pound cars about 5 miles.
"My phone didn't ring, so everything must have gone all right," Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said.
Four more coaches will be moved overnight Friday and on the weekend, and two locomotives Monday, Hinton said.
David Paradeau, the train's owner, has been seeking a buyer for the dinner train. It operated in Stillwater for more than 23 years and served more than 1 million people before he shut it down two years ago.
"I can't believe that since I've been closed for years that there's so much interest," he said.
Paradeau also wants to sell his 9,300-square-foot depot, which housed a restaurant, gift shop and waiting room for Zephyr passengers. He sold the 5.9-mile railroad corridor to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources last year for $4.25 million. The corridor will be transformed into the Browns Creek State Trail.
TIM HARLOW AND KEVIN GILES