Railway Age, founded in 1856 and the railroad industry’s oldest trade publication, announced March 6 that INRD had won the award. Managing Editor Doug Bowen (pictured, at left, with Tom Hoback) presented Hoback with a plaque at the ASLRRA’s gala dinner and awards ceremony at the JW Marriott Indianapolis, marking the end of the association’s 99th annual meeting, which drew record attendance of almost 1,800 railroad industry professionals.
Hoback, who founded the Indiana Rail Road in 1986, was clearly moved by the award.
“Our entire family of employees frequently goes the extra mile – too often unnoticed – to take care of our customers and community partners, and I’m simply elated for everyone in this organization,” said Hoback. “This is a testament to the commitment of our professionals.”
Under Hoback’s leadership, INRD has averaged double-digit growth in revenues for its 26-year existence while investing more than $122 million in private capital to take what was a broken-down, low-capacity branch line and convert it into one of America’s premier heavy-haul regional railroads.
“[Railway Age Editor] Bill Vantuono was kind enough to cite us as an industry leader in marketing, capital investment, and use of technology when announcing this award, but it was the customer letters of recommendation for this award that really hit home,” said Hoback. “Just as we strive to build our traffic base and provide cost-effective, reliable, high-quality, and environmentally friendly service for new customers, we know our greatest mission is to do the job better and safer for our existing customers, every day.”
The Indiana Rail Road set several records in 2011 (the company’s 25th anniversary) related to operating performance and invested a record $22 million in private capital for infrastructure and technology improvements. The railroad also moved its two-millionth carload of revenue freight in November. It took 18 years, 9 months to haul the first million cars – from March 1986 to December 2004 – and only an additional 6 years, 11 months to move carload No. 2,000,000.
The Indianapolis-based Indiana Rail Road Company is a privately-held, 500-mile regional railroad. The company hauls the equivalent of more than 800,000 truckloads of consumer, industrial, and energy products each year.
The company is also active in the community, operating the annual Santa Train and serving as a sponsor of the Indiana Historical Society and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, in addition to grants for online communities. For more information, visit the Indiana Rail Road online at www.inrd.com or on Twitter and Facebook.
Bowen also presented the Railway Age 2012 Short Line of the Year Award to Burlington, Vt.-based short line Vermont Railway, itself part of Vermont Rail System. Vermont Railway execs Ed Fitzgerald and Brent Brewer accepted on the short line’s behalf.
Bowen noted that each winner this year also received a certificate worth $500 from Railway Age’s sister company, Omaha, Neb.-based Railway Educational Bureau, redeemable for REB training courses or services, relaying congratulations from REB representatives Brian Brundige and Bob DeMarco to the winning railroads.