FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Novermber 21th, 2019

Iowa Intermodal Terminal Provides Midwest Hub for Global Shippers

Shippers to benefit from competitive alternative with reduced truck miles

SHELL ROCK, Iowa (Nov. 21, 2019) — Valor Victoria, Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR), Watco Companies, and Union Pacific (UNP) will launch an internationally focused intermodal service through the newly-developed Butler Intermodal Terminal in Shell Rock, Iowa, in December 2019.

The service provides an alternative to larger Midwest rail hubs and is expected to provide shippers with a cost-competitive solution that reduces long-haul trucking miles. Union Pacific will transport eastbound intermodal shipments from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and interchange with the Iowa Northern Railway, for final delivery to the Butler Intermodal Terminal. Customers will also benefit from a consistent international container supply in Central Iowa for export loads to the U.S. West Coast.

IANR has provided key assets, along with customized local rail service, enabling seamless connectivity throughout the global marketplace. This unique approach creates a viable and sustainable solution for generations into the future.

“Iowa Northern is thrilled to be part of this remarkable new service product for Iowa industries seeking strategic solutions to maintain a competitive global presence in the marketplace,” said Daniel Sabin, Iowa Northern Railway President.

Watco will provide dedicated in-terminal operations and will staff and equip the facility to efficiently handle intermodal containers upon arrival and departure and provide dedicated drayage services to meet customer needs and train schedules. In addition, Watco will be responsible for coordinating transload activities for customers re-loading containers for westbound export through the West Coast.

“We are excited to be part of a solution that embodies our Customer First culture. Coupled with our tremendous partners, Union Pacific, Iowa Northern Railway and Valor Victoria, we are positioned to provide a cost-effective service solution that our customers deserve,” said Dan Smith, Watco CEO.

Valor Victoria will engage with customers who would like to utilize this new service. Business inquiries can be directed to Valor Victoria at iowa@valorvictoria.com.

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About Valor Victoria

Valor Victoria is a Midwest company that opens new international markets with direct local access. To inquire on bookings contact us at iowa@valorvictoria.com.

 About Iowa Northern Railway Company

Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR) is a Class III shortline railroad serving industries throughout North Central Iowa to Cedar Rapids. IANR is a privately owned, innovative corporation providing a responsive approach to first and last mile service and connecting Iowa’s manufacturing and agricultural communities to the transportation network.

About Watco Companies

Watco Companies, LLC, is a leading transportation and supply chain logistics company. Meeting customer needs on a day-to-day basis has enabled Watco to continually grow throughout our nearly 40-year history. Today, Watco provides transportation; material handling and warehousing; design and development; repair and custom projects for customers throughout North America and Australia. For more information, visit watcocompanies.com.

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America’s most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. The railroad’s diversified business mix is classified into its Agricultural Products, Energy, Industrial and Premium business groups. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

 Media Contact

Cori Kallenbach

Watco Companies

(913) 303-4514


 Iowa Northern Contact

Amy Homan




Iowa Northern Railway Company is headquartered in Waterloo, Iowa including a repair and maintenance shop with yard facilities in Manly and Waterloo.

About Iowa Northern

Iowa Northern Railway Company, was formed in 1984 on a section of the old Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company. The line runs diagonally through Iowa northwest to southeast from Manly to Cedar Rapids, a branch line from Waterloo to Oelwein, and a branch line from Forest City to Belmond, all within the state of Iowa.

A group led by Dan Sabin, a second generation railroader and current president, took over management of the line in 1994. At that time the railroad handled 15,000 revenue cars annually and the average track speed was under 10 mph. The railroad has invested millions in bringing the line up to a state of good repair while increasing reliability and customer service, and currently handles over 60,000 cars per year.

Iowa Northern has three direct Class 1 interchanges and a short line interchange. With all of these connections our customers have access to all Class 1 railroads and the entire North American rail network.

Iowa Northern serves 20 grain elevators, two ethanol plants, two mineral processing facilities, and handles other commodities such as fertilizer, farm machinery, food, chemicals, lumber, and more. Sites are available along our line to develop new facilities whether a few acres are needed or over 100 acres.

Iowa Northern is the serving carrier to Manly Terminal, which is a liquids storage and transloading facility, serving biofuel production industries handling fuels, chemicals, and co-products, located in the heart of ethanol production in the United States. Manly Terminal is also involved with renewable energy as it has over 20 acres dedicated to a wind turbine component distribution center.

Iowa Northern Stats

  • Operating Miles: 253 Miles
  • Total Rail Cars: 450 Covered Grain Hoppers
  • Locomotive Fleet: 12 EMD GP38-2, 1 EMD F40PH, 3 EMD GP40-2W,
    4 EMD F40M-2F, 2 MP1500D, 2 MP2000D, 6 Slugs
  • Employee Headcount: 110

Railroad Interchanges:

  • Manly: UP
  • Nora Springs: CP
  • Waterloo: CN
  • Cedar Rapids: UP, CN, CIC (to IAIS)

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