Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

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Patrick A.
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by Patrick A. » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:11 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:I have to applaud Mr. Patrick A around here.

He notes recognition of what counts for Amtrak - namely trains that show up more or less on time, on which the HVAC works, and are safe from pop-gun toting whackos.

All too much of the discussion here relates to the quality of on-board F&B which means nothing to most Corridor riders.

I agree with those who hold the Business Class product should be labeled for the routes on which 2-1 Amclub seating can be offered. Elsewhere call it what it is - Coach-Plus.

So far as quality of food, we are addressing such a niche of Amtrak's business that if what is offered will not generate "Congressman, may I tell you about the vile Short Ribs I had on the Auto-Train? (mine from IL-6 would simply respond "we're just going to shut down that sorry excuse of a Federal Agency; God bless President Trump" - and send me some $$$$ so I can continue the fight)".

FWIW, I have had superb Short Ribs both on United flying overseas, albeit in Business, and also last week at a Lunch spot on Michigan Ave in Chi.
Very much appreciate the praise from such an esteemed member such as yourself Mr. Norman.

Apologies in advance for using the hackneyed lens, when it comes to Amtrak, of NEC (and related corridors) vs. LDs, however for the subsequent points, I think it is the best framework.

At its core, Amtrak essentially has 2 products on offer which cater to 2 very different types of travelers. The short-intermediate distance traveler (<300 miles), your typical NEC or other corridor (CHI and Cali areas) values their time at multiples over the long-distance rider. Corridor passengers therefore will very much care about On-Time Performance and having all in trip times that are as short as possible. In some respects, Amtrak already exploits this advantage by featuring 'city-center' access and productivity en-route with several advertisements featuring folks appearing to conduct business meetings on the train or using their phone/laptop. Airlines and buses (the principal alternatives for Corridor passengers) have responded on the productivity side somewhat through wi-fi upgrades. This leaves Amtrak with only one other lever to drive a competitive advantage, trip-times. On the NEC, where Amtrak 'owns' the vast majority of the RoW, this is the potential 'Tump card' over its rivals considering Airlines are beholden systems outside their control, Weather/ATC and Buses will have to contend with ever growing interstate traffic, especially in and around city centers.

Anderson's priority therefore should be to identify the opportunities which exist on each corridor to either 1) Improve reliability or 2) Decrease trip times and deploy resources accordingly. In my opinion, the focus should be on #1 items prior to #2, as solving those items reduce both the frequency and duration of major delays. #2 items can then 'run up the score' against other transit modes by reducing trip times and thus increasing Amtrak's value proposition.

Once you get headway in those areas, you then have the underlying business case to drive investments in a better on-board product. The goal should be to get more people to prefer Amtrak as a travel option by being competitive on time, then using the on-board experience to justify a further price premium.

From an LD perspective, it's hard to justify significant 'investments' in that area considering their low 'payback' potential prior to maxing out the corridor experience. By taking such an approach, you could very well 'convert' some Corridor users to include Amtrak LD service as a potential option, especially for an 'overnight' type service like the Auto-Train or the other NE-Florida routes.

Just one man's opinion. As a Delta Medallion member, I've experienced the transformational impact of Mr. Anderson's leadership which translated into much happier customers and employees. I hope he can have the same positive impact at Amtrak, especially given the difficult times the railroad has faced over the past few years.
I have lived to ride on the M8.

Complete Constant Tension on the New Haven Line ETC: Mid-2018

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:51 am

Thank you Mr. Patrick A, for your recognition.

I think to follow up, that being an effective CEO is all about managing assets, and how, even if some kind of hackneed cliche, "our greatest asset is our people". Therefore, what it is all about is implementation of lines of reporting and that those lines, as distinct from a grapevine, remain active and are enforced.

OK; enough of Peter Drucker around here.

For what it be worth, "troops in the trenches" with United I know "like" Oscar. That he is from a railroad background, means he is comfortable with a unionized work environment, and that he succeeded to get a unified Agreement with a major craft, namely Attendants, where predecessors failed, means he has brought about operational efficiency for that airline.

While at this time I hold there are other industries out there with more contentious labor relations than railroads, if Mr. Anderson is able to establish fair and administrable agreements with employees to respect lines of authority rather than building the fiefdoms part and parcel of government agencies, "he's gonna be OK" in my book. However, I do hold concerns that Delta is the least unionized of the "Big Four", and I hope that his appointment does not represent some "union busting" initiative at Amtrak.

Finally what flying I do (two completed, two booked, and possibly two more this year) is with United. I know my way around ORD Terminal 1, not too much elsewhere. Case in point; during '15 I had to fly JetBlue to JFK (United doesn't go there). I was quite "lost" and lost my TSA Pre-Check I had with United (freebie) in the process. But I'm over 75 and no longer have to "disrobe". My New Balances stay where they belong - on Mr. Shank, and Miss Mare :-D

GCT Worker
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by GCT Worker » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:14 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote: While at this time I hold there are other industries out there with more contentious labor relations than railroads, if Mr. Anderson is able to establish fair and administrable agreements with employees to respect lines of authority rather than building the fiefdoms part and parcel of government agencies, "he's gonna be OK" in my book. However, I do hold concerns that Delta is the least unionized of the "Big Four", and I hope that his appointment does not represent some "union busting" initiative at Amtrak. :-D
Mr. Anderson was at the helm of northwest airlines when the mechanics union went on strike. The company's final offer was to layoff more than 50 percent of the
mechanics and those remaining taking a very large pay cut. The other unions on the property did not do well either with their employees
taking similar layoffs and pay cuts. Hopefully history will not repeat itself.

wintower
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by wintower » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:14 pm

Based on what the airlines did to their very own employees, skycaps, years ago I would not want to be an Amtrak redcap under this guys administration.

R36 Combine Coach
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:18 pm

GCT Worker wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:I hope that his appointment does not represent some "union busting" initiative at Amtrak. :-D
Mr. Anderson was at the helm of northwest airlines when the mechanics union went on strike. The company's final offer was to layoff more than 50 percent of the
mechanics and those remaining taking a very large pay cut. The other unions on the property did not do well either with their employees
taking similar layoffs and pay cuts. Hopefully history will not repeat itself.
If Anderson is indeed as depicted towards unions and employees, wonder if this is really a move by the Trump administration to appoint a union buster.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

David Benton
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by David Benton » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:20 pm

Hopefully , an airline exec will look at the LD services,(in particular), and see inefficiencies not obvious to railroaders.( because they have always done it that way). Examples might be crew districts based on historic practice, that could be improved on today.
Perhaps also finding a way to deal with the 5 -10 % of OBS personnel , that have a bad attitude, spoiling the reputation of the 90 % good ones. Ideally, rewarding the good ones would be the best way.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:24 pm

I cannot discount your immediate thought, Mr. R36.

The fact remains that when NWA and DAL merged, the Attendants "de-certed" their representatives, while I think the Association of Flight Attendants had visions of bring in the Delta employees.

Let's read up on some material I located regarding the "de-cert" of the NWA Attendants:

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/ma ... it-dal.asp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.thebalance.com/why-did-delt ... ion-282738" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is material relating to a different union, the IAMAW, sought a Representation Election under the Railway Labor Act to represent the Delta (and NWA) Attendants:

http://www.thestreet.com/story/13009099 ... ction.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

That Election was without success:

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-delt ... ees-2014-4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sorry if I have turned this discussion into Airliners.net, but Mr. R36 has raised a cogent point and I have attempted to gather background regarding the de-cert.

OK, let's accept that Delta is an airline that was born as a crop duster in the deep South where do-called Right to Work laws have been the books since Reconstruction. Let's also accept that railroads were the first major industry on which employees sought to organize.

With this in mind, IF Mr. Anderson seeks to "inspire" employees of one or another craft to "de-cert", I think.he will have a uphill battle, and his tenure will be short lived.

Arlington
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by Arlington » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:29 am

mtuandrew wrote:Amtrak got into big trouble in the Warrington days with leaseback financing, and I can see an airline chieftain trying the same tricks and making long-term enemies
Recall, though, that the Acela II are being funded with a loan from DOT, rather than a congressional appropriation. Being able to identify investments and apply for DOT loans or lease financing is something railroad execs do, it is true, but maybe an airline guy will have a new take on it.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

Gadfly
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by Gadfly » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:22 pm

Arlington wrote:
CVRA7 wrote:I believe Wick himself was the source as he agreed to come on as a transition leader, not a permanent one.
But when did he say this? Was his "transitional" status publicly known before today? It'd be reassuring to see a article from the time of his appointment, for example.
Regardless, I'm sure Wick's feelings aren't hurt with his compensation from NS! :-D I wish someone would hire ME at a mil or so. I'd be GLAD to get fired for just a million bucks. I'd go home, grab my fishing rod, and you's would never hear from me again! :-D :-D ( work CHEAP!)

An aside, I "kinda" know Mr. Moorman. from a professional distance. You see, in the 80's, Wick Moorman was Track Supervisor at Greensboro, NC on Southern/NS. I was an inventory clerk at Charlotte, NC, shipping parts to Wick. Each day, I'd ship Wick an whole clipboard full of track machinery parts on what we called "pick lists". I'd sign each one with my initials as required by each us handling "picks". Sometimes there'd be a question, and I'd call Wick, or he'd call us to see if we could get a certain part on the next "round robin" truck that went his way on Friday. Anyway, he knew us clerks; we knew him, too. Over the years and on to my retirement, I lost track of him, & I knew he had moved up.............somewhere.

Fast forward to about 2011-ish, or when Wick first took over at NS. He came to the NC Transportation Museum to dedicate something or the other, and I saw him up there. When his speech was over, I went over (He is very approachable and personable) and asked him, "Do you remember being Track Supervisor at Greensboro?" "Yes," he replied.

I asked him (a big grin creeping over my face), "Do you remember getting a blue million picklists signed 'EAS?" (and these are NOT my initials for obvious reasons!).
Wick smiled and said, "HEY, GENE! I sure DO!"

"You BETTER remember..........How'ya doin!?, I teased.

"Well, you guys got me out of some jams, an' I appreciate it!" (Needing parts for broke-down track machines)

Just something an old retiree remembers about Wick. :wink:
GF

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BandA
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by BandA » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:49 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:If Anderson is indeed as depicted towards unions and employees, wonder if this is really a move by the Trump administration to appoint a union buster.
Small point - I assume Mr. Anderson was selected by Amtrak board, not by The Donald's USDOT.

R36 Combine Coach
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Re: Wick Moorman out...Richard Anderson in...

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:28 pm

The U.S. Transportation Secretary is a member of the Amtrak board, so possible USDOT influence can and does appear.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

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