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Thirdrail7

Fire Richard Anderson Campaign?

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According to the water cooler reports, "Save Amtrak, Fire Richard Anderson "billboards have appeared in Pennsylvania. I was told they were erected near Juniata. A search revealed a Fire Anderson billboards thread on TO, stating they may be around Philadelphia.

 

While I can't say I've seen pictures of the billboards (if they actually exist), I can confirm the same search revealed a hat on Ebay with the same slogan.

 

 

Apparently, people wore them to Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society Annual Meeting last week. That may involve the charter train that Amtrak declined to operate, which may explain things.

 

Personally, I don't think it will do much good. This is particularly true since he is following PRIIA's mandate. While there have been some hiccups and serious miscommunication, I'm not seeing the basis for the vitriol that has headed in his direction. I haven't really seen anything that should warrant termination, removal or even a serious change in his thinking. He is still working it out. We don't have a fully formed vision. While I believe he should have more time, I also believe the Board of Directors should chart a clear path for him to follow.

 

I considered putting this tidbit in the existing Richard Anderson CEO thread but figured this may be worthy of its own discussion. Naturally, the mods will make the final call and merge if necessary.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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I’ve seen photos of them on Facebook. Sitting at a traffic light so I can’t pull them down.

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I guess Bennett Levin is ticked off because of the cancellation of his E8 charter and is letting off steam by posting billboards on the property of Juniata which he controls.

 

Reminds me of the few dueling billboards that we have seen in the past.

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I don't think Anderson should be fired, since a lot of the blame/credit for some of the recent changes isn't just for him. And I feel like a campaign like this, which wants the CEO kicked out altogether, really delegitimizes those of us who (somewhat) understand the challenges involved in maintaining quality of service and amenities in this climate. And even if a bunch of people really do feel like kicking out Anderson is the best choice, an angry roadside campaign most likely will get written of as just that, whereas a letter campaign or something like that can really let the people in power know what you want. Just my opinion.

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I'm not necessarily a fan of firing the Amtrak CEO, but the flip side is that there needs to be a price to be paid for attacking LD trains and curtailing services. So much of what I read consists of folks saying that the only way to support Amtrak is to keep riding and not make a fuss. I'm ready to make a fuss. And if LD trains go away, my letter writing in support for Amtrak goes away too, as I'm sure it will for the 47 other states that won't have fully paid Amtrak service. In the meantime, maybe some of the radical rock throwers will push Amtrak's management to try to make amends and work with stakeholders who use trains throughout the country.

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There are some of us who are all but out of work because of him. I have a bumper sticker on my car with Save Amtrak fire Anderson. And I'm not ashamed to say I have it.

 

It was designed by someone who just bought his first private car. And given to me by an Amtrak employee. I would love to see Anderson go but I also want to see Stephen Gardner go right along with him. Before the things I've heard are coming.

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I'm wondering why people haven't turned their attention and wrath on the Board Of Directors.

Because most of the rants are from people wearing “I hate airlines” blinders. They can only see the guy from the airlines.

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I've known that about Mr. Levin for quite sometime. So has most of the industry I'm afraid. This issue were having is coordinating an attack plan (probably not the best of phrases) in an industry that is used to attacking other members of it constantly. The reason we can't go after the Amtrak board is we can't get all 300 of us to agree on one thing.

 

Half of the industry doesn't even want to see Anderson fired. But now that the puppet master is upset something might just change. Personally I want rid of Gardner, then Anderson in that order.

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This just proves that even a millionaire can act like a fifth grader at the playground, but I guess we already knew that.

Specially when his favorite ox is gored :P

 

When Boardman was around everyone was abuzz with how an experienced executive from the transportation industry would do wonders for Amtrak. As the Chinese proverb says ... well I guess I need to consult with Ivanka first to figure out what it says ... so hold on :D

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One of my commuter friends (she heads to Philly from TRE and I go north) told me those signs are, indeed, there. On the left going southbound, just before the North Philadelphia station.

 

I'm going down in a few days and will look for them and let you know what I see.

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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Isn't the Juniata property on the right of the Amtrak ROW when one is heading towards Philly? Or am I remembering wrong?

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It is far too early to think about firing a new CEO who was handed a great many issues and initiatives, including the changes to the dining car menus. Give the guy a chance to see what he can do. We all agree airlines have little in common with the rail industry other than moving people, and undoubtedly he has a steep learning curve but he "ain't" dumb and will figure it out. He has some harsh realities to confront. I, too, am at least a little alarmed at the thought of the national system being disrupted but the bottom line is even a Republican Congress is going to push back against trains being discontinued in their back yards. It's been mentioned earlier in another forum that Anderson didn't have to deal with politicians at Delta, and that is surely sinking in by now. Truth is, as painful as the dining car changes are to me, maybe something had to be done given the realities. This isn't 1955. We can just hope as they test and learn that there will be tweaks to enhance what they've started, and, who knows, maybe someday some semblance of the traditional service will return if the new service is deemed a failure. Like many here, though, I don't get the charter decision at all, but I may not fully understand the ramifications on daily Amtrak operations. But if it made a profit, then what's the issue? We'll all have to stay tuned.

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Anderson is doing what's right for Amtrak and what he's mandated to do under the law. Yes, it'll piss most of us off. No one likes paying more for less. No one.

 

Most all of his station staffing cuts make sense.

 

His dining cuts make sense - but was poorly executed. I would like to have seen a new IG report to see if the waste addressed in the 2004(5?) report was fixed and what revenue was recovered. I'd like to see the 24-hour diner concept revitalized.

 

AGR sucks now, but it's closer to what the airlines do.

 

The Private Rail Car movement was also poorly executed but the right thing to do. Stop slowing down hundreds of passengers for the benefit of an elite few. Biggest problem here is that people don't all have their private varnish parked in a 30-minute dwell station.

 

Don't forget, many of the cuts that we're complaining about started before Anderson - the loss of flowers, linen table clothes, 2nd chef in the diner happened long ago.

Edited by VentureForth

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Anderson is doing what's right for Amtrak and what he's mandated to do under the law. Yes, it'll piss most of us off. No one likes paying more for less. No one.

 

Most all of his station staffing cuts make sense.

 

His dining cuts make sense - but was poorly executed. I would like to have seen a new IG report to see if the waste addressed in the 2004(5?) report was fixed and what revenue was recovered. I'd like to see the 24-hour diner concept revitalized.

 

AGR sucks now, but it's closer to what the airlines do.

 

The Private Rail Car movement was also poorly executed but the right thing to do. Stop slowing down hundreds of passengers for the benefit of an elite few. Biggest problem here is that people don't all have their private varnish parked in a 30-minute dwell station.

 

Don't forget, many of the cuts that we're complaining about started before Anderson - the loss of flowers, linen table clothes, 2nd chef in the diner happened long ago.

 

Bingo. Anderson was the best CEO in an industry (airlines) that was long considered the worst industry known to exist from a profitability standpoint. That industry has improved safety dramatically- it has a safety record that puts railroads to shame. It has improved customer service as measured by satisfaction. It's profitable now.

 

Amtrak has a ton of problems. Changes are needed. He needs to be given time.

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My biggest issue with the Anderson administration is the straight up lies.

“We will not bus passengers between Klamath Falls and Eugene because it is an overnight trip.”

Um, no it is not. But they are okay bussing passengers between Seattle/Portland and Spokane, when they get into Spokane at 1 in the morning?

Then there is the SWC letter that completely twisted the true operating realities of the route to make it look worse.

I do not have much faith in someone whose previous railroad experience consisted of riding a train out of Galveston 50 years ago.

Edited by chrsjrcj

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Anderson is doing what's right for Amtrak and what he's mandated to do under the law. Yes, it'll piss most of us off. No one likes paying more for less. No one.

 

Most all of his station staffing cuts make sense.

 

His dining cuts make sense - but was poorly executed. I would like to have seen a new IG report to see if the waste addressed in the 2004(5?) report was fixed and what revenue was recovered. I'd like to see the 24-hour diner concept revitalized.

 

AGR sucks now, but it's closer to what the airlines do.

 

The Private Rail Car movement was also poorly executed but the right thing to do. Stop slowing down hundreds of passengers for the benefit of an elite few. Biggest problem here is that people don't all have their private varnish parked in a 30-minute dwell station.

 

Don't forget, many of the cuts that we're complaining about started before Anderson - the loss of flowers, linen table clothes, 2nd chef in the diner happened long ago.

Bingo. Anderson was the best CEO in an industry (airlines) that was long considered the worst industry known to exist from a profitability standpoint.

Really? I though that airlines usually make tremendous amounts of revenue?

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One of parts of PRIIA tells Amtrak to generate extra revenue from running special trains. I wonder why Anderson gets to ignore that one?

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Making revenue is different from making a profit. You can make huge amounts of revenue and yet make huge losses.

 

Working in an organization that had P/L responsibilities, we were always looking for so called bad revenues to get rid of them. Bad revenues are revenues that do not cover their cost. They make sense only when they are part of a strategic move, and that too for a short period of time. Not forever. It is important to manage the granularity of projects correctly too, so for example while running passenger trains that require toilets and food service, you don not want to make toilet and food service separate profit centers, but manage the passenger operation as the profit center as a whole.

 

There were cases when we dropped pretty large customers because there was no hope of producing any good revenue from them.

 

It is all about the bottom line, not just revenue.

Edited by jis

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What I want to see is what trains was Amtrak losing money on. It's been asked for by multiple people on my side of the industry and not answered. Of course there is a senator asking now. Maybe they can provide him a better answer this time than their last one that was "I don't know."

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Neroden has done some pretty good analysis of the incremental cost and revenue. However, that does not account for the common costs that are necessary to run any trains at all.

 

The two sides of that coin are:

 

1. If you kill a train those costs do not go away. They just get redistributed to the other trains thus making all of them look less attractive.

 

2. If you completely remove that common cost then you are unable to run any train effectively, so the entire edifice collapses.

 

The trick, and a pretty hard one at that, is to figure out how to minimize the common cost without losing the business on the one hand, and trying to get the incremental revenue minus the incremental cost of each (or at least the most number of) trains positive. On step to take is to try to account for actual costs for each train at as fine a per cost item granularity as possible, based on real numbers traceable unequivocally to the operation of the train using a capable inventory and work resource tracking system.

 

Taking a rolled up number and then trying to distribute it based on some arbitrary formula is at the root of a lot of the evil. In some cases that is all you can do, but at present many believe that due to the weakness of inventory and resource accounting systems used, Amtrak does too much of it, much more than for example airlines do - something that Anderson may actually be able to fix. And trust me, past experience suggests that if that is done effectively many traditional railroaders will be terribly upset about it, just like many traditional airline folks were upset about it when they were hit by such. A lot of sins and favorite oxen hide in those caves. ;)

 

At least one major complications arises in this exercise when one has to take into consideration second and third order effects and cross elasticities to take into account the network effects. A number of trains together produce more than just the sum of trains, and how much more depends a lot on the quality of design of the network.

 

So even if someone can gussy up a number to satisfy some Senator’s demands, I am not sure that at the end of the day it will provide the right metric for doing anything. It really is more complicated than that, and that is the reason each time someone comes up with one of these simple minded numbers and tries to justify some action that does not quite pass the "taste test" I cringe. The greater danger in my mind is to be told "I know and this is it" while skating on thin ice, and basing decisions on such.

Edited by jis

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