Winn-Worth Betco & The Iowa Northern Railway Company: On the fast track of development

Winn-Worth Betco & The Iowa Northern Railway Company: On the fast track of development Main Photo

22 Dec 2021


The Winn-Worth Betco region is not only ideal for growing businesses, but also for growing families. Great schools, low housing prices, scholarships for graduating seniors, outdoor recreation, entertainment, restaurants, shops, and even a casino work to create a vibrant lifestyle reminiscent of a much larger city. Communities here offer the best of both worlds - a hometown atmosphere combined with big-city amenities.

Businesses find that a location, either in Winnebago or Worth counties offers one the ability to reach major metros like the Twin Cities and Des Moines quickly using I-35, while also having access to the entire United States. 

The Iowa Northern Railway Company: A strong rail network 

In addition to strong interstate access, local companies have access to a strong network of rail lines for transporting raw materials and finished products. These include services offered by a length of railways, one of them being the Iowa Northern Railway Company.

Iowa Northern Railway Company was formed in 1984 on a section of the old Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company. 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.

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 50,000 cars per year.

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. Iowa Northern is the serving carrier to Manly Terminal, which is a liquids storage and trans-loading facility, serving biofuel production industries handling fuels, chemicals, and co-products, located in the heart of ethanol production in the United States. 

Winn-Worth Betco: “A pillar of support”

Amy Homan, Director, Marketing at Iowa Northern affirms that it has been an evolving partnership - between the railroad and the Winn-Worth communities, ever since the railroad was acquired by Daniel Sabin in 1994. “ We have been operating in this community over the years; and since then, we have been able to grow and add train services. So, not only has employment with the train services grown but other areas of both the counties have also benefited from the railroad”, Amy says. 

Almost half of the supplies that accrue from the Winn-Worth areas are transported through the railroad.  The railroad offers a variety of services to manufacturers and suppliers in the area. Iowa Northern Railway Company has two trans-loading facilities in operation. Manly Terminal, located in Manly, Iowa, was developed for the primary purpose of supporting the distribution of ethanol and other bio-fuel-related commodities. The terminal is a first-of-its-kind ethanol origin facility designed to build efficiencies into ethanol transportation and trading. Manly Terminal customers can take advantage of the multiple rail connections of Iowa Northern to access markets quickly and economically.

Homan says that the focus has always been on how to help the community - either to get their goods out to market or to receive goods from other markets. “Our efforts have been largely towards providing safe, environment-friendly, and cost-effective ways to business owners, both large and small. Our railroad helps even those customers who are small business owners and do not have a direct connection into their facility.”

As for support from the counties, Homan states that it has always been very forthcoming. “ The Winn-Worth Betco counties have been partners all the way, not only helping us to work through any challenges, but from a development standpoint, they have helped us with locations and tracking down people from various companies who could be of assistance in our endeavors. They have also helped us to identify the various sources of funding at the county, state, and federal levels.” 

As the Iowa Northern Railroad tracks its way to progress, the Winnebago and Worth Counties Betterment Council are here to support all businesses and developers looking to grow in our 14 communities. Winnebago & Worth Counties are just the very place to locate your business, find a fulfilling career, raise a family, and live the life you deserve. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you in doing all those things here!

Add to Report View Custom Report