By Justin Franz
Canadian National announced Wednesday that it was purchasing the Iowa Northern Railway.
The transaction is subject to approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board and a decision on the deal is expected sometime in 2024. Until then, CN has placed the railroad into an independent voting trust. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Iowa Northern operates on 275 miles of former Rock Island and Chicago Great Western trackage. The railroad was first established by a group of grain elevator operators in 1984 after the Rock Island went bankrupt. The short line was then sold in 1994 to Iron Road Railways. The railroad operates a fleet of EMDs in an attractive maroon and gray paint scheme (inspired by another former Iron Road property, Canadian American). The railroad connects with CN at Waterloo, Iowa.
In a press release, CN officials said the acquisition would allow the Class I to better serve the agricultural and industrial markets of the Upper Midwest.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Iowa Northern Railway,” said Tracy Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer of CN. “We look forward to the opportunities our combined network will provide customers, farmers, and our partners to respond to the needs of their existing and new markets. By enabling all of us to play an even more important role in this critical supply chain and densifying our southern network, we are accelerating sustainable, profitable growth.”
“We are very pleased to have reached a deal with CN. We believe CN shares IANR’s commitment to local stakeholders and that this transaction will be beneficial for customers, employees and the local Iowa economy,” said Iowa Northern Chairman Daniel Sabin. “We are confident that, as part of CN, IANR will be able to continue to provide reliable first and last mile service to our local customers while providing them access to a much broader network and market.”