Iowa Northern Railway to add new branch

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Iowa Northern Railway will expand its footprint in the northern part of its home state next month with the acquisition of nearly 30 miles of track from Union Pacific. The ex-Rock Island line stretches from Forest City to Belmond, Iowa, and Iowa Northern will reach it via trackage rights over Canadian Pacific.

Railroad President Dan Sabin tells TRAINS News Wire that three grain elevators on the line have done limited rail shipping in recent years. Instead, they’ve mostly opted to truck grain to shuttle-loading elevators elsewhere. Iowa Northern will offer those shippers a connection to Archer Daniels Midland’s massive corn processing plant at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“It’s probably been 10-15 years since anyone shipped meaningful volumes out of there,” he said. All three will be able to load 25-car cuts.

Iowa Northern will use CP trackage rights from Nora Springs and Plymouth, Iowa, westward through Mason City to reach the line at Garner, Iowa. The old connection track at Garner has been removed, so the railroad plans to install a new connection.

In addition to agricultural business, Sabin says he hopes to draw business from Winnebago Industries, which manufactures recreational vehicles in Forest City. That business historically moved by rail, but truckers have hauled it exclusively in recent years. In addition, “We’ve got a number of leads on new business,” Sabin says.

The railroad hopes to close on the deal by mid-June.
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.
Big Boy

Big Boy

All about the world's biggest locomotive


Learn more about the stories and photos in this months issue

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 54% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today