Iowa Pacific Holdings: Special rail service between Chicago and Madison available for the first time since 1971

Dates in October, 2014 announced with service to football games and directly into Chicago Union Station

(Sept. 5, 2014, Chicago) – Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, the parent company of the Premier Rail Collection including Pullman Rail Journeys, has announced departures between Chicago and Madison offering first class rail service for the first time on this line since 1971. “The Varsity,” a name used in reference to the original Milwaukee Road train on the Chicago-Madison line, will feature restored rail cars pulled by vintage streamlined locomotives and will offer passengers a glimpse of what inter-city rail travel was like in its golden age.

Iowa Pacific continues to bring passenger rail travel back to the American traveler’s consciousness as a relaxing, sophisticated and even preferable way to travel. “We have invested countless hours of labor restoring these cars and tapped hundreds of years of combined passenger rail travel experience to make sure customers enjoy our trains” stated Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings. “We’re pleased to be able to show the modern American traveler that rail is an exciting option.” Complementing the authentic cars are modern amenities including comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi.

The three round-trip departures available for purchase are:

Friday, October 3, 2014, Return Sunday October 5
Where: Departs Chicago Union Station 2:27 p.m.
Arrives Madison 6:45 p.m.

Why: The train station in Madison is in the heart of downtown Madison. Those taking this train may wish to take the return trip on Oct. 5 – two-night hotel accommodations can be arranged through the Pullman reservation center upon request. Hotel is not included in price. Return departure to Chicago is at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Saturday, October 4, 2014, Same Day Round Trip
Where: Departs Madison 6:00 a.m.
Arrives Chicago 10:00 a.m.

Departs Chicago 5:15 p.m.
Arrives Madison 9:30 p.m.

Why: Arriving at Union Station offers guests easy access to some of the city’s top attractions. Guests can spend the day in the Windy City and relax with dinner and drinks on the way back to Madison. The train from Madison will stop at Morton Grove and provide bus transportation to those attending the Wisconsin-Northwestern game.

Saturday, October 11, 2014, Same Day Round Trip
Where: Departs Chicago 6:40 a.m.
Arrives Madison 10:55 a.m.

Departs Madison 5:00 p.m.
Arrives Chicago 9:30 p.m.

Why: This departure is designed for those attending the Big 10 Illinois at Wisconsin football game at Camp Randall Stadium, and guests can detrain just steps from the stadium. Those riding for leisure will be unloaded at 640 W. Washington Station. Bike rentals are available at the depot (not included with rail fare).

The prices of these excursions are based on round trip fares.

$199 for First Class – Includes a seat in restored, mid-century dome cars, on board meals and beverages, including spirits.

$99 For Coach Class – Guests ride in Iowa Pacific Standard Class seating, with comfortable two-abreast reclining seats. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase.

Rail only tickets can be purchased at or by calling 888-978-5563. Those wishing to purchase hotel or football game tickets must call the Pullman reservation center.

About Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC

Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC (IPH) is a Chicago-based railroad holding company specializing in acquisition and turn-around of distressed properties. IPH management is a diverse group, collectively with hundreds of years of rail-industry experience. IPH managers have backgrounds with class I railroads, shortlines, Amtrak, trucking companies, transloading, car repair and much more. With such wide-ranging expertise, IPH is uniquely capable of devising creative solutions to transportation problems. IPH continuously seeks opportunities to increase rail freight business on its railroads through growth of existing traffic, adding contiguous lines, relocation of new customers on-line or in conjunction with trucking to non-rail-served sites. In addition, IPH continues to explore expansion of its portfolio through development of passenger business, refrigerated rail freight, car storage, car repairs, car leasing, and property development, as well as continuing to seek additional rail acquisitions.

About Pullman Rail Journeys

Pullman Rail Journeys began in November of 2011 after years of planning, research and acquisition of historic rail equipment. Born from a passion for passenger rail travel excellence, Pullman Rail Journeys restores the idea of comfortable, stylish and relaxing rail travel to the American travel landscape. With regular service between Chicago and New Orleans now underway for just over a year, Pullman sets its sights on other desirable destinations. More information can be found at

Media Contact: Sarah Munley, Marketing Director | [email protected]
Gillian Love, Lou Hammond & Associates | [email protected]
Charlotte Park, Lou Hammond & Associates | [email protected]