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Joe Boardman questions current Amtrak's managements motives

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That would be a decent letter. I might suggest an internal promotion (I think others know better than I which of Amtrak's executives are competent). . Alternatively, someone from VIA (who would consider the long-distance situation a vast improvement over VIA's situation, and might recognize that most of Amtrak's so-called long-distance routes are similar to VIA's *Corridor* in terms of population and usage). I mean ideally we'd want a European or Chinese railroader, but they wouldn't take the job.

Edited by neroden

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Practically, we really should not be in the business of proposing replacement individuals, since we simply don't have access to the necessary information. We should certainly propose characteristics that we would like to see in a CEO, maybe even drop a name as an example, and even state preference for internal vs. external should we want to get that deep into it.

 

BTW, RPA, through its President, has engaged in a direct one on one conversation with Mr. Coscia, the Board Chairman, on this matter, and letters and notes have been flying back and forth. There will be more on that interaction in the May monthly newsletter from RPA. There has also been significant engagement with the Transportation Committee members both of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle. And needless to say, there have also been meetings quite regularly with Anderson's staff. Just because Seaboard is not aware of stuff does not mean it has not been taking place. There is also a campaign afoot to get the mayors of all towns served by Amtrak LD service to contact their representatives across the board raising awareness of the perils and propose ways of preserving the LD network.

Edited by jis

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What would be good is to find a way that you know the CHM will actually see the letter. Too many times, all correspondence is extremely filtered, with only those items the staff likes getting to the desk for possible reading. If it is Andersons staff doing the administration, then negative corespondence are dead upon arrival.

 

Now Board members generally work and office somewhere else besides Amtrak, so maybe that is portal for gaining access to the CHM of the Board, without Anderson filtering.

 

The letter sounds great, I would just want it to actually be seen and read. The fact that you used an alternate avenue to access might possibly even give additional concern and credibility.

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It's long been a tradition for ex-US Presidents to not criticize the current occupant of the Big White Prison @1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as CEOs of other Corporations and Institutions.

 

I was one of the most persistent critics on AU of Boardman when he ran off several good Amtrak Executives, and sat back and let the CFO and the Bean Counters run amok with their Nickel and Dime Cuts to the LD Trains and rolled out the New and Unimproved AGR2.0.

 

I'm not a Big Fan of the Cold Meals on LD Trains, but Anderson does seem to be involved in decision making, and was actually successful in getting a Budget Increase out of the Stingy Amtrak Micro Managers on Capitol Hill!!😎

 

The jury is still out till we actually expierence the changes for ourselves, or believe the Arm Chair CEOs on this Board as they Post.😁😄

 

I hope Mr Boardman enjoys his retirement and keeps on speaking up, Anderson needs all the help he can get, hopefully he will listen to lots of others involved including passengers and on the Road Crews and not be a "My way or the Highway" CEO!

 

It's early in the Game,let's be Optimistic Doubting Thomases!!!

Edited by Bob Dylan

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The current BofD hires Anderson, but is Pro keep the network intact, so what Anderson is doing, or says he wants to do, isn't that against the desires of the Board?

 

I know nothing about the pending appointments, does anyone know if they are pro or con LD? Does Anderson have a friendlier Board now or after the Senate confirmations? In other words, does Anderson need to move quickly or is he working on plans to roll out once the Board changes?

All that is known about at least one of them is that he had a 100% record of voting anti-Amtrak on any bill of such relevance. Among those bills or amendments several were for defunding all of Amtrak, and he was happy to vote in favor of them.

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May not have like some of Boardman's decisions, but he was for keeping the network intact. Anderson is talking about the start of dismantling the network. First the SWC, then may the CL, not enough riders maybe after the meal change, and the list goes on. Once you take down the first route/train, the second is more doable, then the third, fourth, and fifth becomes even easier to make happen.

 

They've cut LD trains many times before and it hasn't been the end of the world (unless they cut your train). Certainly there are a few weak links you can cut and still maintain a national network. The SWC is clearly not one of them (how do you get from CHI to LAX, and don't tell me the TE, that's almost a whole day slower!)

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I think at this point it's clear that anyone traveling CHI-LAX is not a priority for the current administration. Whether their vision will incidentally continue to allow direct CHI-LAX (or similar) itineraries is still up in the air, as is whether it will even come to fruition.

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The current BofD hires Anderson, but is Pro keep the network intact, so what Anderson is doing, or says he wants to do, isn't that against the desires of the Board?

Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

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May not have like some of Boardman's decisions, but he was for keeping the network intact. Anderson is talking about the start of dismantling the network. First the SWC, then may the CL, not enough riders maybe after the meal change, and the list goes on. Once you take down the first route/train, the second is more doable, then the third, fourth, and fifth becomes even easier to make happen.

 

They've cut LD trains many times before and it hasn't been the end of the world (unless they cut your train). Certainly there are a few weak links you can cut and still maintain a national network. The SWC is clearly not one of them (how do you get from CHI to LAX, and don't tell me the TE, that's almost a whole day slower!)

 

I think that there ARE ways to "trim" Amtrak without significantly disrupting the network or upsetting/alienating the majority of RR passengers. I certainly agree that you can't run a railroad as you would run an airline, but if Anderson takes the same general business principles he went by to make Delta successful and put them into Amtrak, then it just might be better for it. But it would "appear" (and I use that word purposely) that he is not doing what he should do with Amtrak. And it's interesting that Boardman feels the same way.

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Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

That's not what the internet says... and we all know that the internet is correct. :lol:

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The current BofD hires Anderson, but is Pro keep the network intact, so what Anderson is doing, or says he wants to do, isn't that against the desires of the Board?

Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

 

 

Maybe Anderson doesn't want to destroy the LD network, so long the states are paying for it.

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The current BofD hires Anderson, but is Pro keep the network intact, so what Anderson is doing, or says he wants to do, isn't that against the desires of the Board?

Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

 

 

Maybe Anderson doesn't want to destroy the LD network, so long the states are paying for it.

 

 

I wish the states did, or at least a portion of the LD network. If you were to say "let's start a new train", the response would immediately be talk to your state to fund it (at least a part of it). Will the current Gulf Coast route be a full federal responsibility or will Alabama/Florida/Mississippi be expected to bear more of the responsibility? So why aren't states expected to share more of the responsibility of the costs? In return, the federal government can chip in more for "state supported" service. I'm from Pennsylvania but I've ridden the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, and Illini trains in my lifetime and there's a few LD trains I've never ridden and have no intention of ever riding.

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States and localities already fund part of the LD network infrastructure. Even leaving aside the SWC Kabuki going on in KS-CO-NM, localities have funded upkeep of station facilities for a long time. Seems like Anderson is trying to shift more of that aspect onto the localities and states. That is what all the station destaffing and what not is all about, in essence.

 

Even on the NEC per PRIIA 2008, the states are expected now to foot a larger portion of the NEC infrastructure bill. The initial planning etc. of this predates Anderson by a decade. Transitioning into the new setup started a couple of years back with howls of pain and protest from various NEC states.

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Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

That's not what the internet says... and we all know that the internet is correct.

 

You've made this same basic joke multiple times now, but it was a lot funnier when it still had some actual subculture relevance, such as back in 1998. Here in 2018 there is little or no meaningful distinction between views that are expressed online and offline. Please update your calendar to the correct decade before endlessly regurgitating this same tired remark yet again. Thank you.

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Perhaps this mythical "Anderson wants to destroy the LD network" that everyone is so hyped up on isn't as factual as people think.

That's not what the internet says... and we all know that the internet is correct.

 

You've made this same basic joke multiple times now, but it was a lot funnier when it still had some actual subculture relevance, such as back in 1998. Here in 2018 there is little or no meaningful distinction between views that are expressed online and offline. Please update your calendar to the correct decade before endlessly regurgitating this same tired remark yet again. Thank you.

 

 

Yup. The former head of Amtrak comes out and point-blank accuses his replacement of actively trying to kill the LD network, starting with the SWC, and the response from the sand eaters is "LULZ people on the interwebz is so duuuummmmmbbbbbbbb......".

 

Be careful with those fingers in your ears, guys... Mom always said you might get stuck that way.

Edited by JoeBas

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There are those of us who do not think that Richard Anderson is trying to kill the LD. That simply means we have a different opinion. it does not mean we are "sand eaters" or "dumb." There are even some of us that think that some LD advocates are distorting and misleading with some of what they are saying, intentionally or not. The last gasp of someone who has a failing argument is name calling and insults. There is a lot of name and insults being thrown around right now on this subject.

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There are those of us who do not think that Richard Anderson is trying to kill the LD. That simply means we have a different opinion. it does not mean we are "sand eaters" or "dumb." There are even some of us that think that some LD advocates are distorting and misleading with some of what they are saying, intentionally or not. The last gasp of someone who has a failing argument is name calling and insults. There is a lot of name and insults being thrown around right now on this subject.

 

Ahhh, the voice of reason! Thank you!!

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Hey, y'all wanna keep on ignoring the evidence that's right in front of you in favor of "Hope", "Optimism", "Blind Faith", or whatever you want to call it, be my guest. Every time one of these blows lands, I get told "It's not so bad" and "It's just one thing, stop being dramatic". It quite honestly gets a little tiresome of the sunshine pumpers constantly saying "It's still good, It's still good!!!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LTgNVwfMAE)

At least I won't be disappointed when the axe does fall for good.

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It's time to stop giving Mr. Anderson the benefit of the doubt; he's a liar. Read the RPA letter.

 

It's apparent that someone at Amtrak -- either Anderson or someone whispering in his ear -- is trying to kill the so-called long-distance trains through a campaign of lies, misrepresentations, and deliberate service sabotage. If you don't see this, then yes, you are dumb. It's the lies which are the giveaway.

 

Good for RPA for coming out with a broadside. Mr. Anderson is a liar, and it's time to tell Congress that he's a liar. Liars should be fired. Actually, since he lied to Congress, he should really be prosecuted, but I'd settle for fired. Honest mistakes are forgivable; lies are not. That's my bottom line.

Edited by neroden

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Would someone please explain to me why Anderson took this job?

 

I don't see any passion for anything except cutting, and he could have done that anywhere. He doesn't need the salary.

 

Why on earth did he want to take on Amtrak when he obviously has no interest in passenger rail? Frankly, many people on here have a better understanding of how it works, and the rest of us are open to learning and discussion, which he doesn't seem to be.

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He does not have a salary. He has a bonus tied to his meeting certain goals set for him my the Board. One can only imagine what those might be. And mind you this is from an entirely Obama appointed Board except for the ex-Officio Elaine Chou.

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Would someone please explain to me why Anderson took this job?

 

I don't see any passion for anything except cutting, and he could have done that anywhere. He doesn't need the salary.

 

Why on earth did he want to take on Amtrak when he obviously has no interest in passenger rail? Frankly, many people on here have a better understanding of how it works, and the rest of us are open to learning and discussion, which he doesn't seem to be.

 

He's a disruptor: a manager who comes into an organization and questions everything and accepts nothing from the past unless it is proven to his or her satisfaction - and that's not easy. His intent is to make a comfortable organization uncomfortable, and change the way things are done. People can either play ball or get out. I've been through that kind of management, and while it was very unsettling when it happened, we came out much, much better in the end.

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Yeah been through a couple of those myself. Damage to many individual psyches, specially of those that were well established in the organization was something to behold. One had to chart the waters carefully and have logical rational explanation for everything that one wanted to do - either preserve from the past or move in a new direction. many could not take it and just upped and left.

 

Not all such exercises end successfully necessarily, but when they succeed it is very good in the long run with much cobweb cleared. OTOH, when they fail the implosion is usually spectacular too. I have been through such exercises with both kinds of outcome (and survived to talk about it too I suppose) That is why I suspect that no matter how it turns out Amtrak will be quite unrecognizable from today when it comes out the other end. The only honest advice I can give is, fasten your seat belts and hold onto something....

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