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Richard Anderson replacing Wick Moorman as Amtrak CEO


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#121 jis

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 10:55 AM

Also remember the period when Regionals were four and five cars during Gunn's time, when half the Amfleet fleet was parked in Wilmington and Bear due to lack of funds to get them through their various FRA designated inspections. There was no amount of raising fares that was going to recover the lost revenue of lost seat inventory, since while there is some elasticity there is not that much elasticity in far5es.

 

Amtrak's primary problem is insufficient of total inventory, and no obvious way to mitigate, and even Acela fares are at a point of negative returns if they are raised to much more. The original plan was to acquire significantly more units of Acelas, but it was pared back due to lack of funding. Incidentally, addition of the Acelas was a net significant growth in overall inventory on the NEC, since no Amfleets were withdrawn from the NEC except in periods of inadequate funding to keep all the available cars running in service. Today Regionals are 8 cars because there are more of them than when they had ten cars. The total number of available Amfleet Is has not changed significantly, with a net loss of maybe half a dozen to accidents.



#122 A Voice

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 12:19 PM

Also remember the period when Regionals were four and five cars during Gunn's time, when half the Amfleet fleet was parked in Wilmington and Bear due to lack of funds to get them through their various FRA designated inspections. There was no amount of raising fares that was going to recover the lost revenue of lost seat inventory, since while there is some elasticity there is not that much elasticity in far5es.

 

Amtrak's primary problem is insufficient of total inventory, and no obvious way to mitigate, and even Acela fares are at a point of negative returns if they are raised to much more. The original plan was to acquire significantly more units of Acelas, but it was pared back due to lack of funding. Incidentally, addition of the Acelas was a net significant growth in overall inventory on the NEC, since no Amfleets were withdrawn from the NEC except in periods of inadequate funding to keep all the available cars running in service. Today Regionals are 8 cars because there are more of them than when they had ten cars. The total number of available Amfleet Is has not changed significantly, with a net loss of maybe half a dozen to accidents.

 

Absolutely correct, well said.  

 

We talk a lot about presumed replacement of the Amfleet I cars in a few years, but overlook the fact that even a ~500 car order (little more than 1:1 replacement) does nothing to address greater capacity.  Amtrak potentially would still have a use for much of the Amfleet I equipment (assumes you could add trains or cars, of course, on an already congested corridor).    



#123 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 01:39 PM

The new Avelia Liberty High Speed trains should add at least 30% more capacity to that service, and probably a little more than that to revenue.  Better revenue will be thanks to new and shiny cars, with some real upgrades, which will allow fare increases; costs will be reduced due to much lighter weight and better reliability.

 

But most of that additional revenue is pledged to back the RIFF loan that's paying for the new rolling stock. Amtrak will benefit from the political and marketing value of reporting increasing ridership and revenues (and probably better metrics like a teeny bit higher average speed, and better On Time Performance).

 

But the new trains will not help much to get money for the overall system. Well, wait a minute. If the Avelias generate enuff success above the rails, then the NEC can take on more of the allocated overhead and lighten the burden on other trains a wee bit.

 

Meanwhile, investing any extra operating profits from the NEC trains into the dilapidated NEC infrastructure will help in ways often overlooked. The new tunnels at Baltimore are projected to save 2 1/2 minutes for the Avelias; they will save 2 1/2 minutes for the Regional and LD trains on the NEC as well. Add tiny time savings from better tracks and station facilities at BWI and Newark, Delaware. The new Susquehanna bridge will shave at least a minute, maybe two. Four-tracking the main line thru all of Maryland will be a biggie. So all trains on the NEC could go 8 or 10 minutes faster south of the Delaware (plus something in PA, NJ, and NYC, of course).

 

The Regionals and the Amtrak Virginia trains, as well as the Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Carolinian, Crescent, and Cardinal would all benefit from run times faster by even a few minutes.

 

Add in time savings coming D.C.-Richmond and then Richmond-Raleigh down the road to see some real impact on the Star, the Carolinian, and the phantom Day Train to Atlanta, NYC-D.C-Richmond-Raleigh-Greensboro-Charlotte-Greenville, S.C.-ATL.

 

(Obviously I believe the Acelas/Avelias and the Regional trains on the NEC, along with the other corridor routes, and the LD trains have common interests that far outweigh any rivalries.)

++++++++++++++++++++++

 

One a quibble: "... during Gunn's time, when half the Amfleet fleet was parked in Wilmington and Bear due to lack of funds ..."

 

Why blame Gunn for any lack of funds, what power did he have? More correct to say, "... during Bush's time ... due to lack of funds ..."


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 30 June 2017 - 02:04 PM.


#124 Anderson

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 02:48 PM

The Acela IIs (I'm sorry, I just don't feel like using the new term) should add about 30% to BOS-NYP, but they should actually add somewhere around 100-160% to NYP-WAS since enough sets were ordered to allow twice-hourly service.

As to Gunn, I'd also point out that he inherited the mess that Downs and Warrington gave him.  I know that Warrington had reasons for doing what he did (Downs may be another story), but let's not forget that when Gunn took over from Warrington, Amtrak was almost insolvent with a massive debt pile and he had to accept the bailout loan from Congress that imposed all of those no-new-LD-trains conditions just to keep operating.  He may well have made lousy calls on that front but he didn't exactly have a lot of good choices.


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#125 Thirdrail7

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 01:35 AM

@JIS, what you stated is true, especially with traffic restrictions. However, do you remember when NEC trains routinely ran 10 car Amfleet consists? Now a lot of the regionals run 8 car consists. The Acela may not have the capacity to handle peak loads turning away business but Amtrak was smart enough to raise the fares to increase revenue on the seats they do have.

 

 

 

Also remember the period when Regionals were four and five cars during Gunn's time, when half the Amfleet fleet was parked in Wilmington and Bear due to lack of funds to get them through their various FRA designated inspections. There was no amount of raising fares that was going to recover the lost revenue of lost seat inventory, since while there is some elasticity there is not that much elasticity in far5es.

 

Amtrak's primary problem is insufficient of total inventory, and no obvious way to mitigate, and even Acela fares are at a point of negative returns if they are raised to much more. The original plan was to acquire significantly more units of Acelas, but it was pared back due to lack of funding. Incidentally, addition of the Acelas was a net significant growth in overall inventory on the NEC, since no Amfleets were withdrawn from the NEC except in periods of inadequate funding to keep all the available cars running in service. Today Regionals are 8 cars because there are more of them than when they had ten cars. The total number of available Amfleet Is has not changed significantly, with a net loss of maybe half a dozen to accidents.

 

To expand on this, not only are there more trains now, the equipment on the certain trains are often traveling greater distances. A lot of the trains were confined on the NEC proper. Trains are increasingly leaving the NEC, meaning those coaches are often unavailable until the next day. Previously, you could turn them right back.

 

 

Additionally, with ridership increases, the usage had increased. The Albany pool lost the Turboliners and Heritage fleet that was rebuilt for the Adirondack. The Amfleets  picked up the slack, The Keystones used to operate with two or three cars with very little exception (e.g. the Keystone State Express had 5 or 6 cars). Now, there are a few more sets and they have 4 amfleets and a cab car. Additionally, the vast majority travel to NYP where as most of them stayed between HAR-PHL.

 

 

 

My question is why did Moorman take a job that he knew would be so short? What exactly did he accomplish or stabilized?

He took the job on an interim basis because no one else was interested. He wanted to set up an organizational structure that would improve safety, create focus and attract candidates. 


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#126 railiner

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 02:27 AM

I wonder, what if any influence the freight railroads of the nation may have had, in influencing Amtrak's selection of Moorman as CEO?   I could see that consideration as possibly beneficial to both sides, not necessarily a conflict of interest.....


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#127 Thirdrail7

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 10:25 AM

I wonder, what if any influence the freight railroads of the nation may have had, in influencing Amtrak's selection of Moorman as CEO?   I could see that consideration as possibly beneficial to both sides, not necessarily a conflict of interest.....

 

I doubt it was the actual influence of freight industry. I think they were interested in him and his leadership at NS. He knew how to run a railroad and was a Railroader of the Year.

 

Besides, he's still remaining as a consultant. His finger will remain on the pulse for some time.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 01 July 2017 - 10:27 AM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#128 keelhauled

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 10:48 AM

I doubt it was the actual influence of freight industry. I think they were interested in him and his leadership at NS. He knew how to run a railroad and was a Railroader of the Year.
 
Besides, he's still remaining as a consultant. His finger will remain on the pulse for some time.

Perfect! Anything that goes wrong can be blamed on the airline guy, and any successes will be laid at the feet of Our Lord and Savior Wick.

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.


#129 Anderson

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 03:08 PM

 

@JIS, what you stated is true, especially with traffic restrictions. However, do you remember when NEC trains routinely ran 10 car Amfleet consists? Now a lot of the regionals run 8 car consists. The Acela may not have the capacity to handle peak loads turning away business but Amtrak was smart enough to raise the fares to increase revenue on the seats they do have.

 

 

 

Also remember the period when Regionals were four and five cars during Gunn's time, when half the Amfleet fleet was parked in Wilmington and Bear due to lack of funds to get them through their various FRA designated inspections. There was no amount of raising fares that was going to recover the lost revenue of lost seat inventory, since while there is some elasticity there is not that much elasticity in far5es.

 

Amtrak's primary problem is insufficient of total inventory, and no obvious way to mitigate, and even Acela fares are at a point of negative returns if they are raised to much more. The original plan was to acquire significantly more units of Acelas, but it was pared back due to lack of funding. Incidentally, addition of the Acelas was a net significant growth in overall inventory on the NEC, since no Amfleets were withdrawn from the NEC except in periods of inadequate funding to keep all the available cars running in service. Today Regionals are 8 cars because there are more of them than when they had ten cars. The total number of available Amfleet Is has not changed significantly, with a net loss of maybe half a dozen to accidents.

 

To expand on this, not only are there more trains now, the equipment on the certain trains are often traveling greater distances. A lot of the trains were confined on the NEC proper. Trains are increasingly leaving the NEC, meaning those coaches are often unavailable until the next day. Previously, you could turn them right back.

 

 

Additionally, with ridership increases, the usage had increased. The Albany pool lost the Turboliners and Heritage fleet that was rebuilt for the Adirondack. The Amfleets  picked up the slack, The Keystones used to operate with two or three cars with very little exception (e.g. the Keystone State Express had 5 or 6 cars). Now, there are a few more sets and they have 4 amfleets and a cab car. Additionally, the vast majority travel to NYP where as most of them stayed between HAR-PHL.

 

 

 

My question is why did Moorman take a job that he knew would be so short? What exactly did he accomplish or stabilized?

He took the job on an interim basis because no one else was interested. He wanted to set up an organizational structure that would improve safety, create focus and attract candidates. 

 

Just looking at VA alone, IIRC in the mid-2000s there were 8x daily trains to Richmond (7x daily on the weekends): The four longer-distance trains and four Regionals (three on weekends).  Lynchburg was only served by the Crescent.

As of now, there's one Regional which goes to Lynchburg (potentially messing up a turn) and another that was extended, first to Richmond and then to Norfolk.  Both of these moves pull a set of cars out of Washington in the evening which could have been turned as one of the later Regionals or as another train in the morning.  Thus either equipment turns have to be changed or sets have to be added, and it's stretched the pool.

IIRC there were some Keystones added in this timeframe as well.  Also, in the early 2000s the Cardinal was switched from Superliners to Viewliners/Amfleets (pulling a half-dozen Amfleet IIs and a pair of cafes out of availability from elsewhere).

Some slack was taken up by converting some cafes into coaches.  However, even more was supposed to come from the N-S order (which went bad).

FWIW I'm now wondering, since I remember seeing some ten-car Regionals in VA (I'm usually seeing eight these days) if some of the hits to VA's ridership are simply to there being less space available and the resulting yield management on through-Washington traffic eroding away a few thousand riders.


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#130 GBNorman

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 10:53 AM

I hold concerns that to Delta Airlines "the only good labor union is a busted union".

 

Lest we forget that the Attendant craft "de-certed" the AFA that had represented the Northwest Attendants, and rebuffed another, the IAMAW, who sought to represent all Delta Attendants. The only major craft at Delta covered by Agreement are the Flight Officers.  Ground service is all non-Agreement.

 

Now if Mr. Anderson brings any kind of "union busting" philosophy on to the Amtrak property, he is in for a "rough ride".  All to many of Amtrak's strongest supporters are from states and districts where organized labor remains strong.


Edited by GBNorman, 02 July 2017 - 11:03 AM.


#131 neroden

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 11:55 AM

Well, the on-board services, conductors, and engineers on Amtrak have been quite reasonable. Any attempts to bust those unions would be counterproductive.

On the other hand, Chicago Maintenance is kind of infamous. Locking them out and firing everyone might be just about the right thing to do, based on the stories I've heard.
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#132 Rover

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:52 PM

Chicago Maintenance is kind of infamous. Locking them out and firing everyone might be just about the right thing to do, based on the stories I've heard.

That would make the Headlines !!


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#133 Steve4031

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:12 AM

There are management issues too imho.

#134 Rover

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 06:01 PM

Amtrak interim CEO Charles W. Moorman III made a rare admission for a businessman in a speech last week: His company is never going to make a profit.

 

Amtrak’s long-distance routes lose about $600 million annually. Despite exorbitant menu prices, the train’s food service scraped $900 million into the garbage between 2003 and 2013. The average onboard employee, meanwhile, made $41.19 an hour on Amtrak in 2012, while private contract employees earned $7.75 to $13.00 an hour.

 

http://www.weeklysta...article/2008952

 

The President and CEO of Amtrak, Charles W. "Wick" Moorman IV, discussed the challenges facing America’s passenger rail system and the changes to come at a National Press Club Headliners Luncheon on July 12, 2017.




 


Edited by Rover, 21 July 2017 - 08:03 PM.

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#135 neroden

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 08:49 PM

It's like roads making a profit: it rarely if ever happens, even with toll roads.  The track costs will absolutely have to be covered by government forever. 

 

The freight railroads are currently covering track costs with profits from freight movement, but this isn't really sustainable either (and they were almost all heavily subsidized in initial construction).  Currently Amtrak pays track costs on both the tracks it owns, and indirectly (through fees) pays part of the costs on the tracks it doesn't own.

"Above the rail" profits are another matter; it is actually potentially possible to make an above-the-rail profit, but it's probably bad policy, because having ticket prices that high means excess wear on the government-subsidized roads.


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#136 Blackwolf

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 09:22 PM

Aaaand we know where the writer of that article stands.  Unless they're clearly an opinion piece, I truly get annoyed when a member of the media inserts their opinion in a report.  Even when its an opinion I may agree with, it bugs the crap out of me.  Yup...

 

 

Moorman is asking the American taxpayer to think of Amtrak as a public service (money pit) that will always need to be subsidized

 

Better save us all from the MONEY PIT and just flush the whole system now.  System-wide Train-Off announcements commence tomorrow.  :ohboy:


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#137 CCC1007

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 10:24 PM

 The freight railroads are currently covering track costs with profits from freight movement, but this isn't really sustainable either (and they were almost all heavily subsidized in initial construction).  Currently Amtrak pays track costs on both the tracks it owns, and indirectly (through fees) pays part of the costs on the tracks it doesn't own.

Please let the rest of us in on how Rail is not "sustainable" for freight transportation? Would a toll railroad be viable for a private company? As in maintaining a line and letting other companies operate trains on that line for a fee? Would a toll railroad around Chicago help with the congestion on the rail lines of Chicago?

#138 neroden

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 02:18 AM

What's not sustainable is forcing private business to pay for the costs of the tracks, rather than supporting the tracks through tax money like everyone else does. The result is a deteriorated railroad system which is already hampering and crippling the nation's economic competitiveness.

If you don't see this, I ask you: what's the last time we built a new freight railroad route without using public money? What's the last time we ripped one out?

Please, folks, learn to read. Freight rail is entirely viable if the tracks are subsidized as the roadways are. But if they're not, there's a slow deterioration. Removing the extra taxes which used to apply to railroads helped, and consolidating the industry into an oligopoly helped, but there's still a shrinkage.

No, a private toll railroad would be just as non-viable as a toll road.

Edited by neroden, 22 July 2017 - 02:22 AM.

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#139 dlagrua

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 04:20 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.

Yet another of your "no longer take Amtrak" posts and yet, I bet you'll be taking more trips on Amtrak.  

 

 You will lose that bet. When the TSA was installed to violate peoples rights with the X-Ray machines, the removal of shoes and the whole none yards that was the time that we began boycotting the airports and started taking train trips.. If they gave us the flights for free we would not take them.  What makes you believe that if the ONLY reason that we take Amtrak is changed, we won't do the same?  Yes we enjoy train travel but when government ignores the Bill of Rights we just say no. Read the 4th amendment.  Driving is perfectly fine and will get us to our destination in about the same time..



#140 ehbowen

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 04:24 AM

You will lose that bet. When the TSA was installed to violate peoples rights with the X-Ray machines, the removal of shoes and the whole none yards that was the time that we began boycotting the airports and started taking train trips.. If they gave us the flights for free we would not take them.  What makes you believe that if the ONLY reason that we take Amtrak is changed, we won't do the same?  Yes we enjoy train travel but when government ignores the Bill of Rights we just say no. Read the 4th amendment.  Driving is perfectly fine and will get us to our destination in about the same time..

 
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