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MOUNT DORA, FL-It isn’t your typical leasing-problem scenario, but it did happen and the incident shows to what lengths some property owners will go to safeguard their assets after a tenant falls behind in rent payments.

The property in this scenario is an 88-year-old, 2-6-2, oil-fired steam engine seating 132 passengers.

Mount Dora Scenic Railway Co. leases the four-car dinner train from Arkansas Short Lines Railroad Co. of Malvern, AR at an estimated average rent of $15,000 per month, area developers not associated with the incident tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

The sightseeing train, called the Cannonball, runs a 12-mile course, several times a day, at 15 miles per hour between Tavares, FL and Mount Dora, FL, which is 25 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

When the local company fell behind on its June and July rent, the Arkansas firm sued in Lake County Circuit Court, demanding the return of its property.

To make sure its 30-ton property wasn’t going anywhere, the Arkansas lessor used a three-inch thick brass chain to tie one of the train’s wheels to the tracks.

GlobeSt.com couldn’t reach the Arkansas railroad company or Steven Torrico, president/general manager, Mount Dora Scenic Railway Co., at publication deadline to learn the status of the dispute.

But local train buffs and vendors who have worked with Torrico in the past tell GlobeSt.com the rent situation is being straightened out with a renegotiated lease and the Cannonball will be whistling down the tracks again shortly.

“It isn’t like a retailer or an office tenant stealing away in the middle of the night after not paying rent,” a local commercial real estate leasing agent tells GlobeSt.com. “But it is a leasing contract, nevertheless, and the property owner just wanted to secure his premises.”

Torrico, a former locomotive engineer with the Florida Central Railroad for 12 years, also operates a 1928 vintage, 50-passenger sightseeing train called the Dora Doodlebug. That train is not part of the Cannonball rent incident.

Torrico has been operating the Cannonball since December 1998. The train has been averaging 30,000 passengers per year. In August of this year, the Cannonball and the Dora Doodlebug aggregately chalked up 100,000 paid passengers.

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