Iowa Pacific Holdings

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Iowa Pacific Holdings
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois, United States
Key people
Edwin E. Ellis, Jr, CEO
Permian Basin Railways
Texas – New Mexico Railroad
West Texas and Lubbock Railway
Chicago Terminal Railroad
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
Mount Hood Railroad
Saratoga and North Creek Railroad
Dartmoor Railway
Weardale Railway
RevenueIncrease US$50 million
Number of employees

Iowa Pacific Holdings was a holding company that owned railroad properties across North America and the United Kingdom, as well as providing services such as railcar repairs, leasing, management and consulting services to other operators. The company was founded in 2001 with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois; the current CEO was Edwin E. Ellis, Jr.


Iowa Pacific's North American freight services are operated by subsidiary Permian Basin Railways, which was formed in 2002 to operate the Texas – New Mexico Railroad and the West Texas and Lubbock Railway;[1] since then, Iowa Pacific through Permian Basin has acquired the Arizona Eastern Railway in 2004,[2] (sold September 1, 2011 to Genesee & Wyoming Inc.[3]) the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad in 2005,[4] the Chicago Terminal Railroad in 2006[5] and the Mount Hood Railroad in 2008.[6]

In addition to freight operations, Iowa Pacific operates several passenger train operations through North America. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad began operations in 2006,[7] the Mount Hood Railroad, which operates both freight and passenger services, was purchased in 2008,[6] the same year Copper Spike Excursion Train service began over Arizona Eastern trackage.[8][9]

The Saratoga and North Creek Railroad began operations in the summer of 2011, offering scheduled passenger rail service, as opposed to excursion trains.[10] Passenger operations ceased on April 7, 2018, and the final revenue freight train to remove stored tank cars operated in May 2018.[11]

Iowa Pacific also fully owns the Dartmoor Railway and a controlling stake in the Weardale Railway, both shortlines in the United Kingdom that operate freight and passenger services; Iowa Pacific purchased the companies in 2008, operating them under the name British American Railway Services.[12]

In 2012, Iowa Pacific acquired three railroad operations during the year:

In February 2014, Iowa Pacific began test runs of the Eastern Flyer, a proposed regular passenger train service between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.[15] However, the company later abandoned the project.[16]

In April 2015, Iowa Pacific announced a deal with the Indiana Department of Transportation and Amtrak to supply rolling stock and on-board services personnel for the Hoosier State, which runs between Chicago and Indianapolis.[17][18] Indiana announced on January 30, 2017, that Amtrak would resume providing rolling stock for the Hoosier State on March 1, as Iowa Pacific was no longer able to fulfill the contract.[19][20]

In May 2015, Watco Companies announced that it would purchase two Iowa Pacific subsidiaries, the Texas New Mexico Railroad and the West Texas and Lubbock Railroad.[21]

In September 2015, Iowa Pacific took over operations of the Grenada Railway in Mississippi.[22] The Grenada Railway, was subsequently acquired by RailUSA in August 2018 and renamed the Grenada Railroad.[23]


  1. ^ "Permian Basin Railways". Iowa Pacific holdings official website. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  2. ^ "STB approves new line for Arizona Eastern". Trains Magazine. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Genesee & Wyoming Inc to acquire Arizona Eastern Railway". 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 August 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  4. ^ "San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad Company SLRG #416". Union Pacific Railroad. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Last run made on Chicago's Lakewood Branch". Trains Magazine. 13 February 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Permian Basin Railways buys Oregon tourist, freight hauler". Trains Magazine. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Rio Grande Scenic Railroad". Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Globe Miami Times & Copper Spike brings Visitors". Globe Miami Times. 3 December 2010. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Passenger Train arrives in Miami, Az". Globe Miami Times. 23 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Iowa Pacific introduces intercity passenger-rail service in New York". Progressive Railroading. 27 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  11. ^ Railfan & Railroad. June 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  12. ^ "Iowa Pacific buys British railroads, contractor". Trains Magazine. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  13. ^ Hoppin, Jason (May 17, 2012). "Iowa Pacific chosen to operate rail line; unanimous vote should lead to passenger service". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  14. ^ Bowen, Douglas (23 October 2012). "Iowa Pacific acquires Cape Rail, Inc". Railway Age. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  15. ^ Arnold, Kyle (January 9, 2014). ""Eastern Flyer train from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City sells out all three trips"". Tulsa World. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  16. ^ "Passenger rail between Tulsa and OKC? Company seeks another Eastern Flyer operator". Tulsa World, June 22, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Short-term deal keeps Amtrak route between Chicago and Indianapolis open". Chicago Tribune. April 6, 2015. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  18. ^ Dudek, Mitch (April 15, 2015). "New operator has big plans for Chicago-Indianapolis rail service". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  19. ^ "Hoosier State changes over to Amtrak beginning in March". WLFI-TV. January 30, 2017. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  20. ^ Spohr, Greg (January 31, 2017). "Amtrak takes over Hoosier State train". Lafayette Journal & Courier. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "Watco to acquire two west Texas short lines". Progressive Railroading. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Grenada Railroad re-opens for operation". Trains Magazine. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Private Investment Group Helps International Rail Partners Form RailUSA". RailUSA. (October 26, 2018). Retrieved 25 October 2019.