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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Fans will no longer have the option of taking the train to Iowa football games.
After 15 years, Iowa’s athletics department announced on Wednesday that the Hawkeye Express passenger train will no longer take fans to games this fall.
In a news release, Iowa athletics cited the potential of continued social distancing measures, coupled with a need for future equipment upgrade and overall increases in operation as reasons for ending the tradition.
“The Hawkeye Express has been a wonderful part of our Hawkeye football game day experience,” Matt Henderson, UI senior associate athletics director, said in the release. “While it was a difficult decision to make, we all agree it is the right decision. This experience would not have occurred without the Sabin family and their Iowa Northern Railway Company.”
The train, which carried an average of 3,700 fans to games during the 2019 season, is owned by the Northern Railway Company and runs on the track owned by Iowa Interstate Railroad, which runs between Council Bluffs and Chicago.
The idea was hatched by Iowa Northern President Dan Sabin, former Iowa athletics director Bob Bowlsby and former associate athletics director Mark Jennings in 2004 as a unique game day experience.
Josh Sabin, Iowa Northern Railway’s current director of administration, thanked volunteers, saying a lot of time and energy went into making it possible.
“There is not a good time to close the book on this type of experience, but this decision made sense to both parties,” he said in the release. “We are grateful for all the fans who made the train part of their game day, truly.”
Iowa Athletics encourages fans to use the public parking options around Kinnick Stadium, including free options at Finkbine Golf Course and Hancher Auditorium commuter lots. Additional information can be found on its website.
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