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Richard Anderson replacing Wick Moorman as Amtrak CEO

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Most of the concern lies in the (as yet unknown) practical limitations, barriers to commercial scale implementation, and lack of user demand. But these same barriers existed for Monorail and Maglev trains so if an entity with enough spare money and a strong enough desire for world recognition is willing to fund a series of trials and tests there's nothing I can think of that would fundamentally prevent such a system from being deployed and implemented.

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And all of this has exactly what to do with Anderson's appointment as CEO of Amtrak? :P

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The Acela IIs ... 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.

Not exactly. The plan is to add twice-hourly service but only during the rush hours. So capacity will increase by just two more round trips every day. That's good, up 30% from more seats per train set, plus up X% from two more frequencies. But it's nowhere near 100-160%.

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I haven't heard or seen it. It's hard to prove a negative, but based on the answer he gave to Robert Siegel on NPR in September, I'd say his thinking is going in the opposite direction:

 

 

SIEGEL: You've spoken of serving cities and urban areas. I mean, are you saying, in effect - perhaps this is - the deed's been done already - that real, long-range intercity train travel is finished. We're talking about much shorter-range train trips.

ANDERSON: Well, when you say long range, Amtrak long range means over 750 miles. And where we see the most growth over the last couple of decades has been in routes under 750 miles, like Milwaukee to Chicago, Detroit to Chicago, San Francisco to Los Angeles down the coast. When you think about infrastructure in the U.S., we have become a very urbanized society - less reliance on automobiles, more reliance on public transportation. There's an important role for Amtrak to play. And that's actually been one of the fastest-growing parts of this business and represents over half of Amtrak's passenger traffic annually.

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Has anyone heard a firm commitment to the Long Distance network from Mr. Anderson?

At the NARP conclave in Chicago, during his keynote he did say that the LD trains form the backbone of the national network, which is an integral part of Amtrak. I don’t know if that categorical statement means anything concrete or not.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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That's a good question. It can be read as a simple statement of fact, with no particular meaning in regards to future plans.

 

At the NARP conclave in Chicago, during his keynote he did say that the LD trains form the backbone of the national network, which is an integral part of Amtrak. I don’t know if that categorical statement means anything concrete or not.

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At the NARP meeting, Mr. Anderson also said something a little more concrete.

 

He rode the Capitol Limited from DC to Chicago, in a sleeper, to get there.

 

He said that it would be an excellent way to do business travel if the train arrived on time, explaining the "go to sleep, wake up well-rested at your destination, get a full day's work done, go to sleep, wake up well-rested at your destination" model which we all know.

 

And then started talking about the importance of having the reading lights in the roomettes working. :-)

 

(Later, he was talking about forcing the freight railroads to run the trains on time.)

 

I think, from this, that he is certainly not going to neglect the single-overnight markets, at any rate. The viable business travel model for an *on-time* Capitol Limited applies just as well to the Lake Shore Limited, Crescent, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, City of New Orleans, (for certain city pairs) the Cardinal, (for Denver to Chicago) the Calfornia Zephyr, and the Coast Starlight, at the very least. That's most of the so-called long-distance trains.

 

(Despite Amtrak's awful accounting, I'm pretty sure all of these are marginal cash generators.)

Edited by neroden

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I'd suggest taking a closer look at the overnight schedules. DC to Chicago on the Capitol Limited works well -- it's a late afternoon, central, major city departure and an early enough central, major city arrival. Going the other way, it doesn't work so well -- you arrive DC in the afternoon, with most of a day gone.

 

It's the same with the Coast Starlight. Leaving from Seattle you'll lose a whole day getting to the Bay Area (half a day from Portland), and you'll likely still need time to connect to your final destination -- it doesn't go to San Francisco, and Silicon Valley is spread out all over the place. Not so much is within walking distance of the Oakland or San Jose stations. Coming north, it's the same problem in reverse, except even getting to Portland burns a whole day.

 

If he's thinking about optimising overnight city pairs for business travel, then it would make sense to break up the Starlight into two trains, one that would connect Portland and the Bay Area overnight, and a day train between the Bay Area and LA. Or maybe just move up the departure times from LA and Seattle -- a 6am departure out of LA would make the Bay Area to Portland run a little more workable, and arguably improve business service between LA and the Bay Area, or at least between the Central Coast and LA.

 

Then there's the on-time problem. You're absolutely right that it's critical. One way to address it is to make the runs shorter, i.e. break up or truncate the long haul routes.

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I wrote a post inside a thread about my desire about the overnight train where you go to bed and wake up your destination city. This is ideal for a trip approximately 8 hours in length. The two trips I most often mention are PHL-PGH and LAX-Bay Area (Sleep Bus offers that service now and there is a thread somewhere on AU?). Certainly an overnight CS running between LAX and SAC (a Spirit of California?) would be ideal.

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This is part of why I've wished for a second Capitol Limited: The current schedule is good WB and a complete wreck EB, but changing it to something decent EB hoses the LD connections at Chicago; both schedules also don't do much, if anything for anywhere in the middle (such as PGH). I've also suspected that an extra r/t could be done with a single additional set if you massaged the timing right...

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I think, from this, that he is certainly not going to neglect the single-overnight markets, at any rate. The viable business travel model for an *on-time* Capitol Limited applies just as well to the Lake Shore Limited, Crescent, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, City of New Orleans, (for certain city pairs) the Cardinal, (for Denver to Chicago) the Calfornia Zephyr, and the Coast Starlight, at the very least. That's most of the so-called long-distance trains.

 

 

 

And the SWC between ABQ and LA! (Not so much east of ABQ...)

 

Ainamkartma

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The bad news is that we'll have to change trains in Atlanta every time we need to get anywhere. :P

 

[though in all seriousness, more service to Atlanta would be a good thing...]

 

The new Slogan is:

 

"Amtrak is Ready When You Are" :)

Edited by Rover

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Anybody have an address where I could write to Anderson?

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Anybody have an address where I could write to Anderson?

Amtrak Headquarters

1 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20001

 

Thanks! For some reason I thought their HQ was in Chicago...

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A point to consider is that Richard Anderson was the CEO of a for profit corporation. Amtrak is a totally different animal. When he discovers that Amtrak salaries account for about 75% of total revenue, jobs may be cut or lost.

 

 

 

And until someone manages to update 49 CFR 700.2 (requires an act of the Congress) to take out the phrase "for profit corporation", Amtrak by its charter continues to be a "for profit corporation". That it does not or cannot make a profit for various possibly legitimate reasons is a matter that is not included in its charter at present. Granted that Mr. Anderson will have a bit of a challenge, but then he has been there and done that in the airline industry. So that experience should be nothing new. Unfortunately the straitjacket environment in which Amtrak operates does not give him as many flexible options as he had in the airline industry to address the issue as swiftly as he could at Delta.

 

 

This is the key. Can a person that has a "for profit" mantra understand that passenger railroads typically don't run at a profit and even if you attempt to cut your costs by eliminating things that don't necessarily make money but can add to the base, sometimes that actually drives away your customers?

 

I guess we'll find out soon enough. :ph34r:

 

 

This opinion was posted on another board, but I though it should be viewed.

 

aemoreira1981:

I suspect that the real reason for this appointment might be his stance with unions. Under Richard Anderson at Northwest and Delta, the non-pilot and flight dispatcher employees were all successfully de-unionized following the merger of the highly-unionized Northwest with the mostly non-union Delta (Delta needed Northwest's Asia network, but for Delta's culture to predominate). Knowing that federal worker strikes are illegal under Taft-Hartley, I suspect that Anderson has a mandate to be a hard-liner with the unions.

 

Well, he seems to be taking on the contracts head-on. Please allow a brief "fair use" quote from this Progressive Railroading article: Amtrak, TCU reach tentative pact

 

 

Amtrak last week reached a tentative contract agreement with the Transportation Communications Union (TCU) representing carmen, clerks, on-board service workers and supervisors.

The agreement calls for "significant" percentage wage increases and protects health care benefits, according to a press release issued by the union.

Percentage increases were preferred by the union. Amtrak had proposed one-time lump sum increases.

The tentative agreement follows three years of negotiations, TCU officials said.

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