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

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Jeff Smith
For discussion of the Mt. Hood Railroad, an Iowa Pacific subsidiary: http://www.iowapacific.com/railroads/mo ... -railroad/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by woodeen
Thanks for starting this thread, I am interested in hearing more about what is going on with the Mount Hood Railroad.I live along the line in Parkdale and have been both worried and heartened by the purchase by IP. On the down side the former owners were all local and (seemed to be) pretty committed to maintaining the line, and I have worried that should economics dictate it that IP would have no problem recouping their investment in scrap. On the positive side it seems that IP has invested in the line, building a new shop in Hood River and doing a lot of work on the rolling stock. However, the decision this year to stop running to Parkdale and to store cars seemed pretty short-sighted; both in the figurative and the literal sense; there aren't any good views of Mount Hood until you get close to Parkdale. I think that once the word gets out that the ride is lame it is hard to turn that around. Rumor has it that they will be back to running the full trip to Parkdale this year, I hope that is the case. Here is an article from earlier last year that suggested that a local group was interested in purchaisng the lone, but apparently this has fallen through.
  by Rockingham Racer
I took the ride last summer. I wouldn't call the ride "lame", but it's far from the most exciting ride I've taken. It really goes to nowhere; the scenery is blah. The lunch was decent.
  by woodeen
Sorry, "lame" was a bit much! I actually enjoy the whole ride, I just think that the general train riding public needs the good views that you get when you get up to Parkdale, and I think that the town of Parkdale itself is a much better (and more viable over the long run) destination.
  by ebtmikado
With Iowa Pacific now imposing major layoffs and cutbacks, let's hope some of these roads manage to survive.

  by Jeff Smith
County prepares to seize Mt. Hood Railroad property: Hood River News[/b]
Hood River County is preparing to move forward with seizure of Mt. Hood Railroad property for failing to pay property taxes for the last three years.

In total, Mt. Hood Railroad owes $210,135, which includes interest and fees associated with late payment.
Mt. Hood Railroad has been owned by Permian Basin Railways, a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings, since 2008. It had previously been owned by a group of 20 local investors who had bought the railroad from Union Pacific back in 1987 and, looking to retire, put the railroad and its properties up for sale in 2007, according to Hood River News archives.

Permian’s operations were partially dependent on a loan from the Federal Highway Administration, Ellis said, which was partially pulled in 2011 and completely pulled in 2013.
Mt. Hood Railroad is delinquent on its tax accounts for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to the Hood River County Department of Budget and Finance.

Ellis said that part of the railroad’s current financial difficulties are due to not receiving payment from those using their property — specifically referencing Wildwood Academy, which opened a year ago.
  by Rockingham Racer
Another one bites the dust, probably. Mr. Ellis seems perfectly happy strumming his guitar in Fir, CO.
  by Backshophoss
The link on the above post is NO good "Element does not exist :( :( "
  by wigwagfan
My understanding is a local group wants to bring the railroad local again, but we'll see how that goes. A local group bought the MH in 1987 from Union Pacific, and sold it (at a loss) to Iowa Pacific.

IPH did do a few things - brought in more passenger equipment to replace some of the very worn out Herriman stock, brought a new GP38 locomotive (and sent one of the GP9s to another road), built a shop in Hood River, and tried to expand on the railroad's offerings. However just looking at the reviews on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor the average Joe rider doesn't have much nice to say about the railroad, and having a couple derailments during revenue service doesn't help public opinion either.

I agree with some of the previously posted comments that are now dated - the scenery is not exciting, and there's little to do in Odell or Parkdale which are just sleepy farming communities. There's the Hutson Museum in Parkdale if you like going to small town museums. There's the occasional fruit stand. That's it. The scenery itself is the same that you'd get while driving Highway 35, but at least you aren't getting sea-sick riding a very top-heavy super dome on class 1 track that needs some serious alignment and tamping work. The "standard class" cars are unrefurbished east coast commuter cars that hardly belong on a tourist train (at least they have air conditioning, that's the ONLY positive thing I can say about the cars).

I hope that a new owner comes in and realizes that quality is more important than quantity. IPH has a huge fleet of passenger cars on the property, but they only really need four or five really good cars (and maybe a spare or two). The dome is nice, but unless they go all-out on rehabbing the track, it needs to go, and replace it with an open-air car (that MH used to have). Bring back a good on-board experience. Consider running dinner trains on Friday and Saturday nights and a brunch train on Sundays. The entire 22 mile route to Parkdale can be a bit much for families with young children, offer a discounted trip to Odell that's designed more for kids, with a picnic lunch and a playground in Odell.

And I know this opinion will NOT be popular...but maybe this is one railroad that rightfully should become a rail-trail. Cycling is very popular out of Hood River but there are very few good routes (and those that do exist south out of Hood River require some serious climbing, so much of the cycling is left to the expert riders). Offering a route with a 3% or less grade, entirely separated from cars, would be immensely popular. There's only one reliable freight shipper left on the MH (Mount Hood Lumber), and they could easily be accomodated with a reload facility in Hood River. I believe they only get switched maybe once or twice a week as is.
  by woodeen
I don't disagree completely with what you say, but you do sound like one of the bicycle crowd that has had their eyes on the ROW for quite a long time now. Don't get me wrong, the Dee Highway is a bicyclist disaster waiting to happen, but the solution should be a dedicated bike lane, or better yet a separate route, but lets keep the train. Hood River County is booming, and not everyone wants to kite board or bike to TImberline; there is a real need and interest in more sedentary activities such as the train. IP did do some good things; built the shop as you mentioned, upgraded the rolling stock (However, I believe that 02 was acquired prior to IP), and increased speeds that cut down the travel time to Parkdale. They tried trains to Odell; b-o-r-i-n-g! Parkdale is far from sleepy; come on up sometime and we will grab some BBQ and beers! Personally I hope that the local investors who wanted to buy it a few years ago acquire it and keep it going. It is a fun ride, and worth keeping in the economic mix. And as far as freight goes they move quite a bit of lumber. The potential is there to move a LOT of fruit to Yakima (for eventual consolidation and transport to the east coast), but UP has not let that happen. Hopefully sometime soon in some slightly-more-socialist America short line operators will be able to use Class 1 tracks and overnight the MH would be hauling fruit
  by Backshophoss
The question is what will happen to the RR in receivership,wiil IP lose ownership?
or get destroyed by the sell off of equipment?
UP seem to lock interchange to them only,that tends to strangle the shortline's freight rates/routings!
  by kevin.brackney
I hate to see any short line fall to abandonment. I hope that doesn't happen at MH. I remember riding the MH in 1988, back when I lived in Kelso, WA. I enjoyed it very much, due in part that at that time, I knew very little about railroading. Now I have 26 years in the industry, and I might not find it quite as exciting; though I enjoy taking the grandkids to a good railroad museum, or operating exhibit.