Sept. 8, 2004
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Coaches often say that – regardless of how good a team is from the start – college football teams make the most improvement between Game 1 and Game 2 of the season.
The UI Athletic Department is taking the same approach with the Hawkeye Express. Staff members involved in the Express were generally pleased with the outcome of the inaugural day of rail service to historic Kinnick Stadium, but are really anxious to see how adjustments in the gameplan for the “Train to the Game” work for Game 2 – this Saturday’s contest with intrastate rival Iowa State in the first game in the new Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series.
“Taken as a whole, we were generally pleased with our effort last Saturday. It was good, but we want great if not outstanding,” said Mark Jennings, the UI’s associate athletics director who is overseeing the Hawkeye Express project.
“We began meeting at halftime last Saturday and have met daily this week. We’ve identified our challenges and have addressed each,” he added.
Jennings said he believes the biggest hurdles to “outstanding” have been cleared. Last week access to passenger cars of the Hawkeye Express at the “depot” at U.S. Highway 6 and 25th Avenue in Coralville was limited to two cars. This week, passengers will be able to board eight if not nine cars.
“That simple improvement will speed boarding and allow us to make more trips to Kinnick,” said Jennings, who added that the first train to Kinnick Stadium will leave Coralville at 8 a.m.
Last week access to passenger cars of the Hawkeye Express at the “depot” at U.S. Highway 6 and 25th Avenue in Coralville was limited to two cars. This week, passengers will be able to board eight if not nine cars.
“We didn’t leave with our first group of passengers last week until a little before 9 which set us back for the rest of the morning. This week, the whistle will sound at 8 a.m.,” said Jennings.
Jennings also said that additional work will be done to the parking areas near Coral Ridge Mall and that additional amenities like benches for elderly fans will be added at both the Coralville and Kinnick locations.
“We learned a great deal last week including, most notably, that there is significant interest in the Hawkeye Express. We’re confident that we’ve improved our systems to improve our service,” said Jennings.
UI officials said approximately 3,000 fans rode the Express last week. They said they are gearing up for at least that many passengers this week.
“We’re ready,” said Jennings.
Jennings said very little adjustments were required during post-game service. However, the UI Athletic Department in cooperation with Mediacom does have a little treat ready for passengers of the Express waiting for post-game service.
“We’re going to have two large screen televisions available. That should help fans pass the time while waiting for their post-game trip back to Coralville,” said Jennings.
Tickets to the Hawkeye Express can be purchased in advance at the UI Athletic Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau offices on First Avenue in Coralville and at the information desk inside Coral Ridge Mall.