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They Like Ike

They Like Ike

From: Jack Shufelt
Thought you might find of interest.

Time Business & Finance
They Like Ike

Aug. 13, 1951

As the nation's two largest railroads, the New York Central and the Pennsylvania are fierce competitors. But in one operation they are partners—and not too happy about it. Together they control the tiny Central Indiana Railroad, which runs one freight train a day from Anderson, Ind. to the freight yards at Lebanon, 44 miles away. Central Indiana has lost money steadily for the past 51 years. Last week the New York Central and the Pennsy had a new partner in their money-losing venture: 45-year-old Ike Duffey, a self-made millionaire, retired meat packer, and a train buff since he was a boy.

Ike Duffey built up a cattle business from scratch, ran ten stockyards in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, started a meat-packing plant in Pittsburgh. In his spare time, he studied railroading lore, spent vacations riding Colorado's ancient, narrow-gauge Durango railroad, and a good portion of his income on model electric trains. Five years ago, Ike bought a packing plant in Anderson for $300,000, sold it three years later for $3,000,000, and stopped working. Soon, idleness began to bother him; not even his model trains were enough to keep him busy. Then he thought of the little Central Indiana, which had served his packing house and obviously needed help.

Ike asked the New York Central and the Pennsylvania if he could try his hand at setting things right with their stepchild. They took one look at his business record and promptly installed him as chairman, president and general manager. Salary: $1 a year. To Ike's brother John, who has been his partner in everything else, they gave the job of vice president.

President Duffey has already made a start toward getting the Central Indiana into the black (last year's deficit: $48,000). He has landed a big new account: Muncie's famed Ball Brothers (fruit jars), who had not used the line for 20 years until Ike came in with his blarney. Says Ike: "How many men get to do what they really want to do—especially by the time they're 45? I'm the luckiest man on earth."

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