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fredmcain

Southwest Chief News & Future Operations

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Maybe Congress can get enough pull to push Anderson out and bring in someone who has customer service skills and experience and railroad skills and experience!

You know, one thing I've wondered about. Why exactly did Anderson leave Delta to begin with? If he really and truly "retired" then why did he come on board at Amtrak? Or, did the Delta board push him out?

 

And then there's Wick Moorman. At the beginning of the year it was publicly stated that he would be staying on at Amtrak as a "consultant" for an unspecified length of time. Is he still there now? If so, why? Why should taxpayers fund Amtrak to effectively employ TWO chiefs? And if by chance Moorman's still there he sure doesn't appear to be helping matters any.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak.

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"I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak."



Huh? Is that for sure a fact or a rumor? Remember, the other day we were discussing rumors. *IF* that's really true the question begs to be asked, why is he working there? Certainly not because he's a foaming-at-the-mouth passenger train fan.



In any event, I'm glad that there are some law makers who are going to begin asking some very serious questions. It just seems to me that Congress had the good will last year to bump up Amtrak funding - which was a refreshing change from the annual cuts - but some of Anderson's actions almost seem like a slap in the face. Or is it all just very, very bad communication? It'd be swell to know exactly WHAT his intentions really are.



Regards,


Fred M. Cain

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"I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak."

 

Huh? Is that for sure a fact or a rumor?

It’s actually for sure a fact. He cars out of retirement to work Amtrak for free. Doesn’t mean like him any more, but that is the truth.

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His salary is $0 and he covers his own expenses. He has said that he came out of retirement as a public service. He is eligible for a performance-based bonus, which I think is undisclosed.

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That was Moorman's deal. Is Anderson also working just for bonuses? That would explain the cost cutting schemes. It would probably be better just to pay him a salary.

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The whole thing's starting to sound kinda fishy to me.

 

Hope someone looks into this !

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The whole thing's starting to sound kinda fishy to me.

 

Hope someone looks into this !

 

Its true, and playing the politics game just makes this job more interesting for him. He's a former CEO, he has an ego. Who wouldn't mind going down in history as the CEO who fixed Amtrak.

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That was Moorman's deal. Is Anderson also working just for bonuses? That would explain the cost cutting schemes. It would probably be better just to pay him a salary.

We forget that piece of info of Moorman being CEO too. How many of these changes were made under Moorman's stewardship, the former NS CEO.

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According to a Bloomberg online article from June 26, 2017, Anderson's "contract calls for three years of employment at zero salary, although he can receive a $500,000 bonus at the discretion of the railroad's board of directors."

 

Sorry I couldn't get a link to it to work, but that is a direct quote from the article. It was written by Elise Young, for those of you with better tech skills than I have who might want to look for it and read the whole thing.

 

Also, the article's nearly a year old, so things could have changed.

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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Is Anderson really trying to fix Amtrak or is there a different motivation? Is there a future opening he is trying to get noticed for?

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That was Moorman's deal. Is Anderson also working just for bonuses? That would explain the cost cutting schemes. It would probably be better just to pay him a salary.

We forget that piece of info of Moorman being CEO too. How many of these changes were made under Moorman's stewardship, the former NS CEO.

 

Well, now, that's a good point. I may be mistaken but didn't this whole question about "we're not sure about the long-distance services" first arrive under Moorman?

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<snip>

The greatest danger that the Southwest Chief faces at present IMHO is the possible failure of Rail Runner to meet the PTC deadline. Of all the potential PTC outages that were discussed at the Spring RPA Meeting, the Rail Runner one appeared to be the most problematic. Working through Senator Nelson's office we have determined that the two Florida ones will get resolved by December. Nothing similar has been found about the Rail Runner yet.

 

Well, I thought I heard that lines which are protected by the older Automatic Train Stop ( which I thought this line is ) would be granted a waiver for an unclear period of time. Is that incorrect or perhaps misunderstood?

 

I would like to revisit this post that I made a while back. It was stated that in order for this to happen, "Congress would have to change the law"? Really? This same thing was just reported in the most recent issue of TRAINS Magazine that the FRA is considering allowing the Santa Fe's old ATS as a substitute for PTC on a temporary basis. Did anyone else see that? Or, maybe I just didn't understand the TRAINS article right.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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You right Fred, the Trains article said Railrunner will be using the Santa Fe ATS system on a temporary basis. This was the first time I've heard of such a solution, but apparently it can only be used on an interim basis until a real PTC system is installed.

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Mike,

 

One thing that I think is most unfortunate in today’s world is that several railroads such as the SP and IC ripped out hundreds of miles of ATS. Even the Santa Fe removed their ATS on the San Joaquin Valley line following the discontinuance of Trains 1 & 2, the San Franscisco Chief in 1971.

 

Several rail advocates and journalists have opined that Congress should’ve considered accepting ATS as a substitute for PTC on a permanent basis since it was a proven, off-the-shelf technology that would’ve worked.

 

But, no matter. It is what it is, I guess.

 

Maybe in the end something good will come out of this mess. According to another article in the most recent TRAINS issue, BNSF’s Matt Rose seems to think so.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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"I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak."

Huh? Is that for sure a fact or a rumor? Remember, the other day we were discussing rumors. *IF* that's really true the question begs to be asked, why is he working there? Certainly not because he's a foaming-at-the-mouth passenger train fan.

 

 

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple his official salary was 1 dollar a year, but of course in reality he made much more than that through stock options and things. Of course stock options are not guarnteed income but the better the business does. the more is in it for you. Jobs definitely made the Apple stock price go up up up and must have made himself quite a bit in the process.

 

Of course Amtrak doesn't have stocks. But maybe they gave him a contract in which only bonuses are payed based on achieving goals rather than there being a guaranteed base salary.

Edited by cirdan

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The problem with accepting ATS as PTC is that it does nothing about civil speed enforcement, which is one of the three main requirements of PTC. People can have opinions all that they want., but without changing the definition of PTC it would be ridiculous to accepts ATS as PTC. Those that opine such only display a gross lack of understanding of the purpose of PTC. Preventing derailments caused by overspeeding is a stated primary goal of PTC. Even with all the ATS in the world, one cannot guarantee that the train will stop short of the foul point unless the speed approaching the home signal is within the specified speed limit.

 

I would categorize the Trains statement as an opinion that the writer has, that is unlikely to have been validated through FRA.

 

 

"I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak."

 

Huh? Is that for sure a fact or a rumor? Remember, the other day we were discussing rumors. *IF* that's really true the question begs to be asked, why is he working there? Certainly not because he's a foaming-at-the-mouth passenger train fan.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple his official salary was 1 dollar a year, but of course in reality he made much more than that through stock options and things. Of course stock options are not guarnteed income but the better the business does. the more is in it for you. Jobs definitely made the Apple stock price go up up up and must have made himself quite a bit in the process.

 

Of course Amtrak doesn't have stocks. But maybe they gave him a contract in which only bonuses are payed based on achieving goals rather than there being a guaranteed base salary.

Amtrak actually does have stock, but it is not worth much.

 

Anderson indeed has a $500,000 per year bonus based on meeting certain goals set for him by the Board, and has essentially no salary - i.e. he has some nominal salary like $1 a year or such. In some sense he is working for fun, just to see if he can make a whole pile of money by meeting the goals, and Board knowingly set it up that way, with a specific set of goals attached.

 

Based on his actions one can guess what goals have been set for him. Money talks BS walks.

 

My guess is, if he is let go based on the current events, even if they are consistent with his goals. he will gladly walk and take Amtrak to the cleaners for breach of contract, or anticipating that the Board will have to give him a handsome golden handshake. That is unlikely to happen.

Edited by jis

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Jobs definitely made the Apple stock price go up up up and must have made himself quite a bit in the process.

About $8 billion, in fact. In a succeeding company, stock options are vastly better than any possible salary.

Edited by cpotisch

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JIS,

 

I did not take the TRAINS article mentioned in my post as an editorial but rather a report. The "opinions" of rail journalists that I mentioned was a reference to other articles I've seen - I think Don Phillips might've had one but I don't have it in front of me at the time.

 

 

As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them. However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.

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Here is a reasonably good description of what Intermittent Induction Coil ATS, such as is deployed on the ex Santa Fe BNF route, is capable of and more importantly, not capable of:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_inductive_automatic_train_stop

 

Here is the legal requirements to be met by a compliant PTC system:

 

https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0358

 

Now, as an exercise, tell me which ones of those requirements are met by the ATS system.

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As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them. However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.

 

Would that still be possible with PTC?

 

I thought all modern signalling systems interlock the switches if they are in an actively set path..

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As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them. However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.

 

Would that still be possible with PTC?

 

I thought all modern signalling systems interlock the switches if they are in an actively set path..

 

Right. once a signal is set a switch cannot be thrown without first withdrawing the signal and unlocking the switch. that is what electrically locked switches are all about. A PTC system is non-compliant if all switches in the path governed by it are not electrically interlocked with the signaling system.

 

Though when it comes to ingenuity in human stupidity, I am sure there are corner cases where stupidity can befuddle other humans and automation electronics equally well. That is why there are rules to follow, to minimize the chances of such. If humans refuse to follow rules, even minimally, then all bets are off, specially if they try hard to break safety rules at every turn.

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Let's not forget... PTC was in full working order on the Michigan Amtrak train that had a green indication, and yet the switch was lined off of the main into a yard. It was the engineers decision not to blindly trust the in-cab signals that kept that wreck from being much much worse.

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Let's not forget... PTC was in full working order on the Michigan Amtrak train that had a green indication, and yet the switch was lined off of the main into a yard. It was the engineers decision not to blindly trust the in-cab signals that kept that wreck from being much much worse.

Yup. Human stupidity/carelessness/breaking of rules by the Communication and Signal Department folks was involved in a big way. As I said, human ingenuity is usually involved in creating bad messes, and causing lots of harm, even with all the automation in the world to try to reduce the chances of such. Likewise human ingenuity can help prevent disasters if applied correctly. In operations the bias is supposed to be on the side of preventing disasters, but alarmingly often people involved behave in the opposite way.

 

Cab signals and all the automation is just a safety fallback thing. Engineers are still in control and are supposed to do the right thing within the bounds set by the safety envelope. PTC is not ATO (Automatic Train Operation). Indeed with the level of callousness displayed by the Signal Maintainers in that case, such people should not be allowed to come anywhere near any safety critical system.

Edited by jis

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How about the ancient 'speed signals' on the New York subways? They force the train to slow down, or else, if the train goes thru the red signal, the tripper will cause an emergency stop...

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