Unfortunately, if Anderson accomplishes his mission to make Amtrak "profitable", by whatever measure, then he will become the darling of the pols and may serve for a long tenure, with whatever it takes to achieve that goal...
This goes back to something I previously stated that I want to address. These quotes are at the heart of my concern:
Theres nothing about which to feel sorry for Wick Moorman. He was more or less doing Amtrak a favor by taking the job when he really didnt want. He was retired and really had no intention of coming back to work, but he was the one that felt sorry for Amtrak, and took the job, temporarily, to help Amtrak extend the search for a permanent CEO.
When Boardman announced his retirement, essentially nobody wanted the job. Thats why Moorman was brought in.
Many folks dont like Anderson, but I really dont know who would be qualified for the job and actually want it. Experienced railroad executives are better off with freight companies (and they know it), and experienced passenger executives are better off at more stable transit and commuter railroads (and they know it). Who does that leave you with?
You raise an interesting point.
Has anyone gone on from the Amtrak job to go and do great things elsewhere?
Here's the concern and here is what typically happens. When these executives and leaders arrive at Amtrak, they are people that are at the end of their careers or attempting to bolster their careers. I've nicknamed them the Resume Padders. When they become "the darlings of the pols" as Railiner puts it, it can lead to great things. As such, they do things to pad their resume and promote themselves. Then, they leave...and whatever wreckage or fallout that occurs will happen after they have left. They don't have a long term view or a long term commitment. They tend to be a bit more timid with their visions because they are lining themselves up.
The people that are retired or at the end of the careers can operate with the same flexibility. After all, what do they have to lose? They don't have to worry about any burnt bridges or bad feelings because they too, can just leave. Then, the next person comes in with a bad hand, spending time doing repair work instead of moving forward.
What brought Mr Anderson to the railroad? It is extremely likely he doesn't need the money, he doesn't seem like he values keeping the system together (like previous leaders) and he doesn't appear to be a buff. Some wonder whether he is lining himself up for a government job, like Secretary of Transportation or something like that.
Why he is here doesn't concern me. What he does now is not gnawing at me. How he positions Amtrak for the FUTURE is what concerns me because not unlike other leaders, the decisions he makes now may help or hurt us for decades to come...and sometimes what seems helpful becomes hurtful...years later.
Does he have that much vision? Let's hope so.
I find no evidence that Anderson is getting any pressure from the Congress to get rid of the LD network. Some loud mouths in Congress, maybe. But remember Congress appropriated more money for the national System in FY18 than even what Amtrak asked for. That is a mighty strange way to pressure someone to get rid of something.
All that Anderson had said definitively so far is that adding/restoring LD trains does not make economic sense. But then at the end of the day Congress gets the last word on what is or is not economic sense for Amtrak. From Anderson;s perspective it makes sense to take a hard nosed position to test Congress' resolve to actually do the needful to maintain the current network and grow it, so that it ceases being Anderson;s problem to go with a begging bowl and beat up by Congress. It is more of a come to Uncle moment for Congress which has traditionally mismanaged the entire transportation infrastructure and planning for the nation because of various reasons. And this is nothing new.
Very true but given that he doesn't think additional service makes sense, 10 will get you 20 that he thinks the current network doesn't make economic sense.