The Indiana Rail Road Company (INRD) has won Railway Age magazine’s prestigious “Regional Railroad of the Year” award for 2018, company officials announced March 9.

Railway Age, founded in 1856 and the railroad industry’s oldest trade publication, annually recognizes industry-leading railroads and executives for their accomplishments. This year’s award marks the second time Railway Age has so honored INRD; the Indianapolis-based company first received “Regional Railroad of the Year” honors in 2012.

Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono said Indiana Rail Road’s success at expanding its non-coal traffic base, through an aggressive growth and diversification strategy, made INRD stand out among its peers.

INRD was founded in 1986 to haul coal to Indianapolis Power & Light’s Harding Street generating station. In 2015, INRD faced major traffic and revenue losses after IP&L’s decision to convert Harding Street to natural gas power, and at the same time, closure of a Duke Energy power plant in Terre Haute, Ind., and an adjacent plant that produced synthetic gas from coal.

In response, INRD employees banded together to build the company via means they could control: growing the business by taking care of existing customers, aggressively pursuing new business opportunities, managing costs, and most importantly, working safely.

INRD has vastly expanded its non-coal business in recent years by creating an intermodal alliance, for trans-ocean imports and exports to/from Indianapolis, with the CN (Canadian National) Railway. INRD opened a warehouse and cross-dock with Indianapolis-based Venture Logistics on Indy’s south side, and rail-to-truck transload facilities in Indianapolis, southwest Indiana and Illinois.

Most importantly, annual customer surveys reflect a superior customer service product.

In a March 8 memo to employees announcing the Regional Railroad of the Year Award, INRD President and CEO Peter Mills said the following: “This is truly a testament to your professionalism and resiliency. When faced with adversity, you remained focused on the things we control. You are truly the best team of railroaders in the industry, which makes our future very bright.”

Mills will formally accept the “Regional Railroad of the Year” award on behalf of INRD at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association Annual Convention, which will take place April 7-10 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Indianapolis-based Indiana Rail Road Company is a privately-held, 500-mile railroad based in Indianapolis. The company hauls the equivalent of more than 600,000 truckloads of consumer, industrial and energy products each year.

The company is also active in the community, operating the annual, beloved Santa Train, by working alongside Habitat for Humanity and Fuller House volunteers, and providing in-class education and first responder grants for online communities. For more information, visit the Indiana Rail Road online at or on Twitter and Facebook.