Choo-choo! Trive recaps Iowa Northern Railway

Dallas-based private equity firm Trive Capital announced that it has recapitalized Iowa Northern Railway Company, joining with the company’s senior management on the deal. The size of the investmet was undisclosed. Based in Cedar Rapids, IANR operates about 250 miles of track in eastern and northern Iowa, serving regional customers in the grain, fertilizer and specialty chemical markets. The railroad was built in the 1870s and has been owned and operated by the Sabin family since 1994.


Trive Capital (“Trive”), the Dallas-based private equity firm, is excited to announce its investment in Iowa Northern Railway Company (“IANR” or the “Company”), supporting senior management in a recapitalization of the business. Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IANR is a short line railroad operating roughly 250 miles of track in eastern and northern Iowa. The Company primarily serves regional customers in the grain, fertilizer and specialty chemical markets. The railroad was originally built in the 1870’s, and has been owned and operated by the Sabin family since 1994.

“We are excited to partner with Trive. There is tremendous opportunity to drive economic development along the line, as well as to grow into new markets and service offerings,” commented Dan Sabin, the President of IANR. “IANR chose to partner with Trive based on their collaborative, forward-thinking approach, flexibility and commitment to growth.”

“Trive pursues investments in businesses that we believe exhibit long term strategic viability, and which have opportunity for transformational value creation. We believe IANR meets these criteria, and has an exceptional team with a shared strategic vision,” remarked Trive Partner Chris Zugaro. “We are well positioned to partner with Dan Sabin in supporting this leading infrastructure platform, based on our knowledge of the transportation industry, ability to effectuate a creative capital solution expeditiously, and operational focus.”

David Stinnett, Managing Director at Trive, stated, “IANR’s railroad is a strategically significant transportation asset within its region, delivering critical logistics service to manufacturers, chemical producers and multiple agricultural customers that have facilities along and near the line. Moreover, the Company’s focus on safety and tailored customer service strengthens its relationship with both regional businesses and Class I railroads that utilize its infrastructure. Trive is eager to work with management to pursue additional growth avenues, invest in current and future assets, and support continuous improvement.”


IANR is one of the most-recognized short line railroads in the United States. The Company operates over 250 miles of rail in northeastern Iowa, with a main line track running from Manly to Cedar Rapids (through Waterloo/Cedar Falls) as well as several branch lines that connect to the main track. Given its geographic location, IANR primarily serves customers in the corn and ethanol end markets, many of whom operate adjacent to the railroad. The Company also provides transportation to customers in agriculture, energy, and manufacturing and offers value-add services to Class I railroads.


Trive Capital is a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm investing in equity and debt securities with approximately $900 million in capital under management. Trive focuses on investing in what we see as strategically viable middle-market companies with the potential for transformational upside through operational improvement. We seek to maximize total returns to our investors through a hands-on, collaborative partnership with management teams and equity partners.

Conner Searcy