Re: Would you like to operate the Cruz?
Author: J.K. Trowling
Date: 12-15-2017 - 11:32
Contrary to the bike lobby's wishes, there are a multitude of shortline operators that will be happy to operate the Santa Cruz branch with Iowa Pacific's departure.
There are companies out there who thrive on smaller lines such as this-- take a look at Progressive Rail out of Lakeville, MN.
Any of these holding companies (or even an independent operator, provided they are well financed and not just a couple of buffs with a couple hundred bucks and a dream) with lower costs and more importantly, less DEBT than Iowa Pacific can make a success out of an operating contract such as this. Iowa Pacific's biggest problem is "guitar man" sucking up all the profits from all the lines to buy new toys to run around as a 1:1 scale layout. Without that albatross hanging around the Santa Cruz operation's neck, things will go a lot better.
Even better would be a hybrid tourist/freight operator like the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley in West Virginia. They do about a thousand cars a year of freight serving industries in Elkins, WV in combination with several popular passenger trains in season. The railroad is a contract operator for the state of West Virginia, which owns the line. Other than Elkins being at the far end of the line (as opposed to Watsonville on the front end), I would even offer the DGVR is almost a dead ringer for how the Santa Cruz branch could be operated. And Santa Cruz is so much closer to major population centers than the DGVR.