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Richard Anderson replacing Wick Moorman as Amtrak CEO


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#41 Ryan

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:27 PM

Just another bogus conclusion based factually challenged ideas of how someone thinks the world works.

The "people on airplanes are unthinking bootlickers" but gets old too. Bonus points for being consistent, I guess.
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#42 Steve4031

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:30 PM

I'll take a wait and see attitude.

If I understand correctly the most effective leaders at Amtrak were Gunn and Claytor, both railroad guys. Iirc some effective early leaders were also railroad guys.

Are there any non railroad leaders who were considered effective?

I do like the customer service emphasis. Anderson might have ways of improving it.

Edited by Steve4031, 26 June 2017 - 09:31 PM.


#43 neroden

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:41 PM

When Boardman came aboard it was good news.  When Boardman announced he was stepping down it was good news.  When Moorman came aboard it was good news. Anderson replacing Moorman is good news.  Anthony leaving was good news.  Anthony coming back in the future would also be good news.  With all this endless good news Amtrak must be in excellent shape by now.

Well, compared to Hughes/Kummant/Crosbie in 2005-2008... yes.  Amtrak is doing spectactularly well compared to its state in 2008.  That's a pretty low bar though.


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#44 saxman

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:55 PM

I find it funny how many folks on here:

 

1) Seem to think that because someone worked for the airlines, that they would have no concept of the differences between air travel and rail travel, and therefore would try to run Amtrak the same as an airline

 

2) Believe that the CEO is personally involved in a lot of the decisions related to equipment configuration, frequent traveler program benefits, pricing and fees, etc.

 

I was thinking the exact same thing. Social media is going nuts over this news because somehow they think because he was an airline CEO he'll do the exact same things at Amtrak, such as more seats, charging for checked luggage, etc. Or the same crazy conspiracy theories that Trump appointed him to shut it down.


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#45 calwatch

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:47 PM

Delta is operationally the best out of the major airlines in the US, but it took a long road to get there. http://www.ajc.com/b...ttbAskTWTQI53M/

 

If he can make the trains leave the gate on time, I don't care if AGR is gutted. The operational issues and delays need to stop. 



#46 dogbert617

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 11:48 PM

Delta is operationally the best out of the major airlines in the US, but it took a long road to get there. http://www.ajc.com/b...ttbAskTWTQI53M/

 

If he can make the trains leave the gate on time, I don't care if AGR is gutted. The operational issues and delays need to stop. 

I'd be surprised, if the Amtrak Guest Rewards program(assuming you meant that by AGR) was ever discontinued. But that's just me.

 

Little odd of a choice for someone to replace Moorman, but hopefully he does a good job. I'm intrigued seeing that AJC article, that showed while he was CEO that Delta had much improved on time performance. Maybe he'll do some good for Amtrak, who knows?



#47 jis

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 07:21 AM

Remember, in the wonderful Gunn times, NEC Regional trains were down to five and four cars, which of course was not really Gunn's fault. But either way, it naturally played havoc with revenues.

 

It was Kummant that hired Fremeaux who took it upon himself to push for restoring the Regionals to eight cars by getting the Kummant management team to reallocate funds to repair the cars that were parked at Wilmington and Bear.

 

Boardman started with things that were not falling apart and were already headed in the right direction. To his credit he built upon that base instead of destroying it one more time. To his debit he proceeded to neglect the PIPs completely and essentially saw to it that anything to do with improving LD service was nipped in the bud over and over again, and anyone involved in such nefarious activities left Amtrak - basically pushed out or laid off (remember Brian Rosenwald?). Which makes the fact that he also went and ordered the Viewliners a bit of an oddity, but perhaps fits the mold if keeping the system running as is, which was becoming impossible with the aging Heritage cars.

 

As for how Anderson will work out, only time will tell. Basically it is possible for non railroader to manage a railroad if he or she is a good manager. There have been many cases of excellent management of railroads in the world by someone who came in from the outside. Then again there have been many cases of a railroader who proved to be not so good as a manager too.

 

Amtrak is way more than just a railroad and its basic problem has been that it has been run too often as if all that mattered was running choo choo trains all over the place with relatively little concern for the experience of the customer riding them. Maybe Amtrak does need a customer service oriented person. My greatest concern is whether Andreson is really going to be able to address the Customer Service issues and inconsistencies which has dogged Amtrak. I am sure he can delegate the basic operation to a fine NS man that Moorman appointed to the Exec VP Operation post after removing Stadler from it - off to Finance or some such.


Edited by jis, 27 June 2017 - 07:51 AM.


#48 PRR 60

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 07:39 AM

David Gunn was not really a railroad guy. He was a transit guy. At the time he came to Amtrak, he was 25 years removed from having worked for a railroad. Which brings me to my point: I would much rather have a person at the top of Amtrak who has actually run a for-profit, competitive passenger transportation business than yet another person who's résumé only has transit or government regulatory work - work in areas that have very little incentive to please customers.

#49 lyke99

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 07:42 AM

I don't believe the selection of Richard Anderson is the end of the world as some poster have said. Yes railroads and airlines are different, but they have some similarities as well. I think Anderson's experience will enhance the customer experience on Amtrak, which if we're honest, is inconsistent.  

 

As a person who has traveled in sleeper cars on long distance and business class on regional services for many years I can tell you, there are great people out there and there are SCAs who you never see between boarding and detraining a day or two later. You also occasionally get the guy who wanted you to detrain in Williston, ND (WTN) rather than Winona, MN (WIN) because he couldn't read the faint print on his manifest, but was sure it was correct and the paper copy of my e-ticket was wrong...

 

Will we see not only a continuation of services, but growth under Anderson's leadership? I hope so. Will we see new equipment orders? I hope so. Will we see at least twice daily service on the long distance routes? I doubt it, but there is little to harm in dreaming...



#50 Eric S

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 08:19 AM

I don't understand this move. Do you call a plumber when you need an expert electrician?  Airlines and train travel have little in common except that both are transportation.  I say this airlines guy invites in the TSA and drives us all away.  I refuse to be degraded and lowered to the level of an animal just to board any transportation means. TSA comes in full force and we will bail.

 

Who does "we" refer to?

 

And why would you assume that someone from the airline industry would be thrilled with the way TSA operates?



#51 mfastx

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 09:09 AM

I think Amtrak should be run more like an airline, so I like it.  However he needs to surround himself with people that know a lot about railroads to advise him on issues. 



#52 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:04 AM

I find it funny how many folks on here seem to think that because someone worked for the airlines, that they would have no concept of the differences between air travel and rail travel, and therefore would try to run Amtrak the same as an airline.


A large part of the appeal of taking Amtrak is based on it being substantially different from taking an airline. Although we have no way of knowing what any given airline CEO might do it's a relevant concern in my view. This forum has a way with repeatedly attacking or dismissing anything that doesn't fit the hive mind, but that doesn't change the fundamental legitimacy of the concern.

 

I find it funny how many folks on here seem to believe that the CEO is personally involved in a lot of the decisions related to equipment configuration, frequent traveler program benefits, pricing and fees, etc.

 
The CEO doesn't generally make a lot of low level decisions but he does select the people who will oversee these projects and narrow the options down for his approval.

 

Social media is going nuts over this news because somehow they think because he was an airline CEO he'll do the exact same things at Amtrak, such as more seats, charging for checked luggage, etc. Or the same crazy conspiracy theories that Trump appointed him to shut it down.


Adding more seats and charging for checked luggage sound like perfectly reasonable concerns to me. This forum seems to have a bipolar relationship with Amtrak. First we rejoice over a man who will supposedly bring a focus on profitability to the organization and then in the next breath we dismiss the types of changes that someone focused on profitability might implement.
 
 

And why would you assume that someone from the airline industry would be thrilled with the way TSA operates?


The only continuing complaint I've heard from US airlines about the TSA is that they didn't want to pay for it. Put that burden on passengers and taxpayers and they seem to be perfectly fine with it. In fact the TSA helps create a situation from which US airlines indirectly benefit. For instance, passengers now have more delays and impediments to reaching the gate on time. As the delays get longer and the recovery window and penalties for missing a flight get harsher US airlines can charge more people higher fees. US airlines have also used premium security access to entice people to remain loyal or pay more for the privilege. Meanwhile non-US airlines are generally prevented from implementing similar schemes which creates an arbitrary imbalance. Over time the details and specifics have changed but US airlines are still looking for and finding ways to benefit from the ever increasing security state.

 

I think Anderson's experience will enhance the customer experience on Amtrak, which if we're honest, is inconsistent.


Every time I hear the call for consistency I always wonder just what sort of consistency the poster expects to receive. US airline services have become amazing consistent over the years and yet I don't hear many people singing their praises or clamoring for more.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 27 June 2017 - 10:28 AM.

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#53 jis

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:24 AM

I think Amtrak should be run more like an airline, so I like it.  However he needs to surround himself with people that know a lot about railroads to advise him on issues. 

I would watch for the following signals:

 

1. Getting rid of the current VP Operations would raise a red flag for me

 

2. Getting rid of the current VP Finance would be a green flag for me.

 

3. Stadler (Administration) and Gardner (Planning, Technology and Public Affairs) are possibly OK where they are.

 

4. I will be looking for some significant changes on the Customer Services side of the equation, currently under Jason Molfetas. If that does not happen I will be disappointed.

 

As I said earlier (and was joshed about it), I view this as a definite mixed bag. This could go very pear shaped, but there is a significant possibility that it won't and something good might come out of it.



#54 A Voice

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:26 AM

 

 

Social media is going nuts over this news because somehow they think because he was an airline CEO he'll do the exact same things at Amtrak, such as more seats, charging for checked luggage, etc. Or the same crazy conspiracy theories that Trump appointed him to shut it down.


Adding more seats and charging for checked luggage sound like perfectly reasonable concerns to me. This forum seems to have a bipolar relationship with Amtrak. First we rejoice over a man who will bring a focus on profitability to the organization and then in the next breath we dismiss the very changes that might actually make Amtrak profitable.

 

 

 

 

Amtrak - including the Northeast Corridor - is not profitable nor is that an achievable goal* (remember the "glide path to self sufficiency"?).  While we have no reason to believe this is the case (some of the rampant speculation in this thread would be amsuing, were the posters not serious...) or that Anderson has such a mistaken concept, it is possible for the senseless pursuit of profitability to do a lot of damage to Amtrak.  Again, note both Warrington's "glide path" and Boardman's elimination of food service losses; Both were guilty of telling Congress what they wanted to hear, when neither objective was ever actually possible, and both needlessly damaged Amtrak train service.  

 

*Obviously, this does not necessarily preclude individual trains or service(s) from reaching a break-even point, on a short-term avoidable cost basis, or (as demonstrated) posting an "on paper" above-the-rail "profit" (which is a 'polite fiction').  



#55 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 10:34 AM

Social media is going nuts over this news because somehow they think because he was an airline CEO he'll do the exact same things at Amtrak, such as more seats, charging for checked luggage, etc. Or the same crazy conspiracy theories that Trump appointed him to shut it down.


Adding more seats and charging for checked luggage sound like perfectly reasonable concerns to me. This forum seems to have a bipolar relationship with Amtrak. First we rejoice over a man who will bring a focus on profitability to the organization and then in the next breath we dismiss the very changes that might actually make Amtrak profitable.

 
Amtrak - including the Northeast Corridor - is not profitable nor is that an achievable goal* (remember the "glide path to self sufficiency"?).  While we have no reason to believe this is the case (some of the rampant speculation in this thread would be amsuing, were the posters not serious...) or that Anderson has such a mistaken concept, it is possible for the senseless pursuit of profitability to do a lot of damage to Amtrak.  Again, note both Warrington's "glide path" and Boardman's elimination of food service losses; Both were guilty of telling Congress what they wanted to hear, when neither objective was ever actually possible, and both needlessly damaged Amtrak train service. *Obviously, this does not necessarily preclude individual trains or service(s) from reaching a break-even point, on a short-term avoidable cost basis, or (as demonstrated) posting an "on paper" above-the-rail "profit" (which is a 'polite fiction').


I saw the poor wording and edited my post to remove the implication that conventional profitability was genuinely obtainable, at least in an objective and practical sense. Play with the numbers enough and you can probably make almost anything look profitable, including the notoriously unprofitable airline industry, but I agree that Amtrak is never going to reach such a status as currently constructed.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 27 June 2017 - 10:35 AM.

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#56 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 11:16 AM

I read this in my newspaper this morning and cried. :(

 

Then I started to read between the lines and felt a bit better. The article I read (today's Newark Star Ledger, p. 2--can anyone find it and post it? I'm in the local library, which doesn't have it, and I can't find it online), if my short-term memory is not failing me, said that Anderson and Moorman would be co-CEOs til the end of the year, and Wick would stay on in an advisory capacity starting in January.

 

Mr. Moorman very graciously came out of retirement to help Amtrak out, then got NJ and NY commuters all riled up because he was there at the worst possible time, with the derailments, and actually dared to arrange to fix things that had been broken forever at Penn Station. In other words, "No good deed goes unpunished" and he was the one stuck with saying things were Amtrak's fault, when it had nothing to do with him personally.

 

I am hoping that he has simply had enough of being the fall guy and had input into who the next CEO would be, and that Anderson respects him enough to take his advice. A plus is that everyone seems to like and respect him, so the two hopefully will get on well.

 

Also, if Anderson has a focus on customer service, I've got a list I will send him the minute he takes over. I did not want to bother Wick with it, with everything else he was dealing with, but I don't mind sending it to the new guy. My list ranges from staffing stations again, to providing decent food in the cafe cars, to training every employee to have an attitude as good as the best ones (of which, to be fair, there are many).

 

And when he really completely retires, I hope Wick is planning to take his very patient wife on a round-the-world cruise :). (I have a feeling she probably won't want a long trip on a train at that point :P.)


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, 27 June 2017 - 11:32 AM.


#57 jis

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 11:48 AM

when he took this job Moorman pretty much said that his wife had permitted him to take this on for a year. Well the year is almost up, and you know what happens when you displease your wife too much ;) That is a much bigger potential disaster than pesky little things like Penn Station and two egocentric gasbag Governors. :D



#58 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 12:26 PM

When he took this job Moorman pretty much said that his wife had permitted him to take this on for a year. Well the year is almost up, and you know what happens when you displease your wife too much. That is a much bigger potential disaster than pesky little things like Penn Station...

 

"To my wifes absolute disgust...I agreed to take the job," Moorman says, noting that "disgust" probably was not a strong enough word.


She sounds lovely. Perhaps like Amtrak was doing him a favor by giving him a place to go when he'd had enough of the special overbearing snowflake at home.

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#59 jis

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 12:36 PM

Boy, did you fall out of the bed on the wrong side today? Or is that just your normal state? :P



#60 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 02:19 PM

Boy, did you fall out of the bed on the wrong side today? Or is that just your normal state?


My normal state is to wonder how publicly humble-bragging that your spouse casually dominates your decision making became a thing.

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