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Last year, Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC subsidiary railroads handled a record number of carloads and passengers, and generated record revenue.Freight and freight-related revenue surpassed $41 million in 2014, while freight carloads climbed 20 percent to 58,325. Several of the company's short lines registered strong volume growth, particularly the Texas-New Mexico and West Texas & Lubbock railroads in the Permian Basin, said Steve Gregory, Iowa Pacific's executive vice president of marketing, in a press release."While there are headwinds for 2015 due to the steep drop in the price of oil, we have new customers coming on line in the first quarter and expect the two Permian railroads to grow modestly [this year]," he said. "January is off to a strong start. [We have] substantial growth opportunities on other railroads and are redirecting business development efforts to non-oilfield commodities in 2015 after a string of successes with new and expanded customers."Meanwhile, Iowa Pacific's passenger railroads last year handled 398,369 riders, including U.S. and U.K. operations. The U.S. passenger count climbed 46 percent due to across-the-board increases at existing operations and a strong performance from two new holiday services operated in conjunction with Watco Cos. Inc. short lines in Oklahoma and Wisconsin, Iowa Pacific officials said. Passenger revenue exceeded $17 million in 2014."With the improvement in the economy and the drop in the price of gasoline, families have more disposable income, and are more inclined to include our train services in their plans," said Iowa Pacific Vice President of Passenger Sales and Marketing Angela Arias. "We expect same-store growth to continue and we will launch additional services, including at least two holiday operations in 2015."Overall, Iowa Pacific's annual revenue exceeded $80 million for the first time, thanks to growth in both freight and passenger volumes, said President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Ellis."It was our best year ever in both revenue and operating income," he said. "In spite of the challenges facing the oil field, our business is sufficiently diversified that we are expecting another record year for both freight and passenger in 2015."
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