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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Progressive Rail acquires Iowa Traction Railroad


Progressive Rail Inc. (PR) recently acquired the Iowa Traction Railroad, which operates about 10.5 to 11 miles of track between Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa.

PR renamed the short line the Iowa Traction Railway Co. and partnered with the railroad's former owners, says PR President Dave Fellon, adding that employees were retained. PR appointed Michael Johns vice president of industrial development to manage marketing for the Iowa Traction Railway and "hit it hard" to grow business, says Fellon.

PR officials expect to garner synergies from the acquisition because the company operates lines in two neighboring states, including five in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin (the Wisconsin Northern Line). In addition, Iowa Traction Railway interchanges with Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad, which also interchange with other PR lines.

"It's right in our wheel house [and] fits our model," says Fellon. "It's a great little railroad."

Iowa Traction Railroad, which dates back to 1898, is the only electrically operated railroad in North America, he says. The railroad owns five electric locomotives.

Jeff Stagl

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/16/2012