Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Discussion about Iowa Pacific Holdings and their various railroad operations. For passenger trains see also regional or tourist forums below. IP no longer operates the Hoosier State, see this topic in Amtrak: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=104574
Official site: http://www.iowapacific.com/

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Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:58 pm

While the layoffs at the tourist lines seems to be the "seasonal normal".
What is the REAL status of the IP's Pullman rail service and the Hoosier State Contract operations for INDOT?
There's a "rumor" in the Hoosier state thread that IP has shut down that operation.
There's been some rumblings that IP has money problems.
Has IP filed for chapter 11 or chapter 7 in any court?
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby BR&P » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:10 pm

I have heard the number of 175 people laid off, but have no idea whether that is seasonal employees or full-timers.

Their ski trains in NY have been cancelled, reportedly due to low bookings. Also there were published reports some employees there complained about late paychecks, but that has been corrected - again, per published reports.

I heard they shut down a line in California and will shut down one in Texas in March, but that is hearsay. Can anybody confirm/elaborate/refute?

This is a sad turn of events. I sincerely hope they can right the ship and sail forward.

Just my personal opinion. It seems that - aside from a few exceptions like Strasburg, Durango-Silverton, etc - it's damn hard to be successful relying on passengers for most or all of your business. And it seems far easier to get in over your head when hauling people than freight. There's more glamour and pizzaz pulling coaches, but way more places to spend your money on as well. Whether that applies in any way to IP or not I have no idea but I wish them the best.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:49 am

There is supposed to be an announcement of bad news today. Crew members on the Hoosier State reportedly have said Amtrak will assume operation of the train March 1.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby 161pw165 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:05 pm

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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:06 pm

While there's been little word of an IP Bankruptcy,some of IP's "partners" has "forced" Mr Ellis to start shedding off
the loosers,Hoosier State is winding down,Pullman Rail Journeys is reportly defunct, Saratoga & North Creek and Texas State
RR's are at present unknown if shut down,or to be spun off.
Corridor Capital has taken notice of the Hoosier State wind down, http://ccrail.com
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby rhallock » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:44 am

It is very hard to make money on passengers, UNLESS volunteers are used for many of the jobs. Possibly a few paid employees in key positions, such as engine and track upkeep. But to have everyone paid is very difficult. I help with an all volunteer tourist RR and we are doing OK, especially with polar express. I was shocked to read that our little line took in more money and carried more passengers than IP's Hoosier train, and of course our expenses are far lower.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby CNW4321 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:41 pm

There is further word that the Rio Grande Scenic will not be running passenger service this season although it appears that the SLRG will still operate freight. Another tell-tale sign is the absence of IPH's tourist railroads ads in the latest TRAINS Magazine issue.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby rhallock » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:17 am

I just received an advertisement email today from RG Scenic indicating that they have trips starting Memorial Day weekend. Their website shows a full schedule.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby CaptainHaddock » Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:56 pm

I watched a video of the Huntsville and Madison County railroad and they appeared to be using ex-S&NC 8524, which was the GE standard cab they had. I don't know if it was sold or leased.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:33 am

SNC 8524 was sold to Motive Power Resources (MVPX) who in turn sold it to the Huntsville & Madison County (HMCR).

IPH is about as close to belly up as they have been, but Ed Ellis seems to have more lives than the average cat. Many expected the company to be gone a few years ago, but they still struggle on.

Looks like they will be replaced by a new operator on the Mass Coastal with the new contract effective 10/1/18. UP booted them from the Chicago Terminal operation in Elk Grove Village, IL, although the smaller operation there leased from CP continues to operate. The owned trackage on Goose Island is dead.

They have left the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, which is now operated by Progressive Rail. Mount Hood RR is reportedly for sale. IPH's operating interest in the Grenada Railway in MS was just sold to International Rail Partners (Gary Marino, RailAmerica co-founder).

So with these recent and potential future developments, it looks like IPH will retreat to the SLRG being its only real going concern. The wildfires were devastating, but the line has been reopened and freight is moving. The concert venue at Fir is being rebuilt (the stage was the only real casualty) and has already seen some concerts resume. There was also a recent STB filing which showed IPH re-leveraging 85 pieces of rolling stock and locomotives (all passenger equipment) with a lender.

That's present-day IPH in a few paragraphs.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:50 am

They still own the Mt. Hood Railroad, don't they?
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby Safetee » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:33 am

IP also owns a huge fleet of non-operating E units. Supposedly the largest fleet in the country.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:30 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:They still own the Mt. Hood Railroad, don't they?


Yes, but there have been several reports Iowa Pacific is shopping for a buyer for the operation. I thought I put that in, but excluded it upon review, so thank you for bringing that up.
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby ShortlinesUSA » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:33 am

Safetee wrote:IP also owns a huge fleet of non-operating E units. Supposedly the largest fleet in the country.


This recent STB recordation documents a refinancing of 85 pieces of Iowa Pacific passenger equipment, and gives a good look at what is on hand:

https://www.stb.gov/recordations.nsf/ec ... /33060.pdf
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Re: Has IP gone "Belly up"?

Postby BR&P » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:49 pm

With some exceptions - again, note I am not saying ALWAYS - but generally speaking outfits which lean big into passenger have a lower success rate than those relying on a good freight traffic base. Or so it seems to me anyway. Small tourist-only lines like CMRR can do well, and there are some freight-and-passenger lines like Strasburg who make it work just fine. I just get quite skeptical when I see some new operation who pins their survival on passenger operations on a large scale.
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