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The Great Train Robbery

After several hours of huffing and puffing, though, the board decided it didn't want to sell the train after all. Instead, it announced it will consider amended proposals--lease only, no sale--at a meeting May 4, where the board will make its final, final decision. Maybe.

Black Hawk city manager Lynnette Parker will discuss the matter with her town's council this week. Leasing may not be an option; her town is in the game for good. "We're very pro-development," she says, adding that if Black Hawk can't buy old No. 71, there are other trains available for purchase. And Black Hawk has the money to move mountains.

Central City does not. But if Black Hawk pulls out, Central City could win by default--even if it doesn't lease the train, the locomotive is likely to stay put. Unless, that is, the society goes for an unexpected, third option. Jarrett Carlson, who worked with his engineer grandfather on No. 71, wants to lease the locomotive and get it running again as a tourist attraction. "This is the type of project that everybody's for but nobody's for," he says. Carlson is willing to raise the money, but he can't remove all the roadblocks. He admits that owing to other historic feuds in the area, it's probably impossible to link the two towns by train, as he originally proposed; his route would begin and end in Black Hawk.

And as long as Central City still stands, it won't stand for that.

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