Iowa Interstate Railroad prepares to move more ethanol

By Timothy Charles Holmseth | April 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted April 29, 2008 at 2:03 p.m. CST

Iowa Interstate Railroad, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plans to purchase 12 new locomotives to accommodate the production of five new ethanol plants that will begin shipping on their regional system next summer.

Dennis Miller, president of IIR, said the new locomotives are high-efficiency and high-powered. "The 4,400-horsepower units are 18 percent more fuel efficient than traditional alternatives," he said. "They will pull a train that would require two or three of the railroads current locomotives, further reducing the railroad's fuel consumption and maintenance costs."

Ethanol plants in Cedar Rapids, Menlo, Atlantic, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, along with a new plant in Annawan, Ill., are expected to increase railroad traffic growth by 25 to 30 percent in 2009.

The locomotives, which are manufactured in Erie, Pa., are valued at more than $2.2 million and are scheduled to be delivered in October.

IIR is a regional railroad with about 550 miles of track between Omaha, Neb., and Chicago with a branch line to Peoria, Ill. The railroad has multiple connections to Class 1 railroads at various U.S. locations.