• NEW AMTRAK CEO: William J Flynn

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr Lynn wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:02 pmYou're right about commercial transportation, and Lord knows too much passenger railroading is "all about moving you expediently, yet safely, from A to B," and nothing more. That's fine for commuter lines, and I suppose for the NEC and short inter-city runs, but the only way you're going to get folks out of the cattle-car airplanes and the Endless Black Ribbons of the highways (q.v Tiny Harris) for long-distance travel, is to entice them with the experience. If you can't do that, forget it; might as well keep Anderson on. /LEJ
Mr. Lynn, I really think that enough people around thought Mr. Anderson did a good job. On his watch, patronage increased and costs were controlled so that by some measurement like unto household ("cookie jar") accounting, Amtrak almost broke even - a measurement that has never in forty eight years been attained. Just think, had he been able to "scalp the Chief", which again I note was the quickest way to avoid paying all the maintenance costs on 350 miles of road, that break even measurement could have likely been attained.

In view of the ridership increases "where it counts" - the Corridors - he oversaw a product acceptable to those riders.

Now I realize and respect that the various rail discussion sites, and the advocacy organizations, attract people who hold that rail travel should be experiential - you have noted an environment - entertainment, kiddie cars. movies, dining as distinct from "being fed", that would enhance the experience. But to me, rail travel today should simply be "A to B", as is air and highway.

You likely surmised that if the LD system folded tomorrow, I'd be saying "high time" - and it should have happened forty years ago. But they indeed have their "staying power" because the average "Critter" and those who keep him.on The Hill choose not to recognize how they represent a Taking (that Fifth Amendment kind of stuff;.railroad track capacity) without just compensation.

But to both the industry and Amtrak, Kubler-Ross Phase 5 - acceptance - is in place. I think a model for those that can't be rid is with the State operated LD's in Eastern Australia. (distinct from the private sector Luxotrains). Those trains simply have Coaches, one Sleeper, and an all purpose Food & Beverage car. No Domes, Lounges, Sky-Top obs, or on-board entertainment.

If it is Amtrak's objective under Mr. Anderson and his successor, to be rid of the LD's, then the Superliners should be replaced with Single Level equipment that can be readilly converted to short distance stock.

Finally, circa '74, when word spread Amtrak had ordered the Superliners, the washroom walls at my road sure heard it: "looks like we're gonna be stuck with those trains for more than just another five years".

disclaimer: author had ample "experiential" rides during the '50's and 60's where there still plenty worth while.
  by Mr Lynn
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:21 pm
. . .You likely surmised that if the LD system folded tomorrow, I'd be saying "high time" - and it should have happened forty years ago. But they indeed have their "staying power" because the average "Critter" and those who keep him.on The Hill choose not to recognize how they represent a Taking (that Fifth Amendment kind of stuff;.railroad track capacity) without just compensation. . .

. . . If it is Amtrak's objective under Mr. Anderson and his successor, to be rid of the LD's, then the Superliners should be replaced with Single Level equipment that can be readily converted to short distance stock.
If that is management's objective, then you're right; no point in the Superliners. It will make you bean-counters happy. But I think eliminating the railroad option for Long-Distance travelers and vacationers would be a mistake.

Re 'a Taking', I would agree, in principle, that a real Long-Distance passenger railroad should have its own, dedicated right-of-way, or at least hosts that were intent on maintaining their freight lines to passenger standards. In my experience, the roads the Lake Shore Limited and the Silver Star travel are way too rough for upper-berth sleeping.

Oh well. I'll have to think about ways we could both appeal to those who don't like airplane travel and still not lose a ton of money. Maybe Maglev trains?
  by eolesen
 
There's a different thread on this, but yes, I'd say single level equipment which can be easily converted from a LD to Corridor purpose is the future.
  by mtuandrew
 
I think we have to assume that unless he’s been the shadow boss for five years, Flynn hasn’t and won’t have a say in rolling stock decisions. Excepting (possibly) the new Corridor equipment. Far more of his energy will be in dealing with the viral outbreak, whether in terms of personnel protection and scheduling, station operations, car sanitation, or outright cancellation of services. I’m honestly shocked that Amtrak is still operating to Seattle King Street for instance.

Hopefully Flynn is prepared to deal with this.
  by Jeff Smith
 
http://railfan.com/new-amtrak-ceo-says- ... -recovery/

Brief, fair-use quote per forum policy:
...
Flynn said that before the coronavirus outbreak, Amtrak had been on track to break even in 2020 for the first time in its almost 50-year history because of steps made by his predecessor, Richard Anderson. In 2019, the company reported $3.3 billion in operating revenues for the fiscal year, a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year, and $29.8 million in losses, an 83 percent improvement over fiscal year 2018. The railroad also cut its operating losses by $400 million the previous year. Flynn said those steps will help Amtrak recover once people start traveling again.

“The foundation we have built in the past several years is still there and it’s a solid one,” he said. “Our focus is on recovery and figuring out what that recovery will look like.”
...
  by AmtrakP32705
 
At least he worked for CSX, he knows more about the industry than Anderson....not like that was hard to do
  by justalurker66
 
Less than three years at CSX. 23 years at Sea-Land. 13 at Atlas Air Worldwide (and he remains on their board of directors). 4 years at GeoLogistics. His experience at CSX started 20 years ago. Managing the Merchandise Service Group of CSX is a logistics position. Hopefully all that freight experience transfers but the railroad work is a small part of his resume.

At the CEO level it is more of an issue of being able to manage people and keeping the business on track.
  by Jeff Smith
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:20 pm ...
At the CEO level it is more of an issue of being able to manage people and keeping the business on track.
Pun intended? :wink: :P
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:20 pm Less than three years at CSX. 23 years at Sea-Land. 13 at Atlas Air Worldwide (and he remains on their board of directors). 4 years at GeoLogistics. His experience at CSX started 20 years ago. Managing the Merchandise Service Group of CSX is a logistics position. Hopefully all that freight experience transfers but the railroad work is a small part of his resume.

At the CEO level it is more of an issue of being able to manage people and keeping the business on track.
Well said, I'm so tired of "Anderson was a fly boy so he must be trying to kill Amtrak for a hidden airline lobby and mean ol Donald Trump". This is 100% unadulterated bulls***. The airline lobby does not care about a competitor that takes less than 1% of their longhaul business. They can't even spell Amtrak. And Mr. Anderson was appointed by an administration led by Barack Obama, not Donald Trump.

Lurkers' comments are the best analysis I've seen on the CEO position.

Also keep in mind Gerald Grinstein was one of the better BN CEO's.