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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » The "In by 9 Out by 5" Presidency

   
Author Topic: The "In by 9 Out by 5" Presidency
Gilbert B Norman
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Wick Moorman will be "out" July 12, and replaced by Board Member Richard Anderson whose background is airlines.

The story is already widely circulated in the media.

Can't say I'm surprised considering the Penn Station situation. Say it until the cows come home; the seeds of this crisis were sown long before Wickcliffe was at the throttle. But lest we forget. who was at such when the crisis broke.

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yukon11
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I would nominate (I know, controversial) Hunter Harrison for the job. I think a railroad man (CP-CSX) would be better.

Richard

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Vincent206
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Is Amtrak's biggest problem that it can't function as a railroad or is the problem that it can't function as a customer service organization. Moorman would likely be the best person to run the company if the former is true, Anderson if the latter is the problem. If Anderson can raise the customer service standards at Amtrak to anywhere near Delta's I'll be very impressed (and a happy customer). Delta is also famous for flying the oldest fleet in America and keeping its equipment in a state of good repair.


Moorman isn't to blame for the Penn Station meltdowns and he likely deserves credit for limiting the damage and marshalling the forces to fix the problems, but anybody stuck on a "commute from hell" isn't going to be listening to rational voices.

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Gilbert B Norman
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We know that around here, but the fact remains, even though the seeds of the Penn Station crisis were sown likely during PC days, Wick had to stand up in front of the media and try to mitigate such.

To the DL&W commuter, so long as his train arrives where it's supposed to "more or less" on time, and otherwise could care less about the operation of any railroad, he now has to arrive at a different station, and make an additional transfer resulting in an hour longer commute.

That guy he saw on the tube is at fault.

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Jerome Nicholson
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Wasn't Amtrak run by airlines execs before? How did that turn out?
Ce plus ca change....

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Nicholson, it was the first gang in place on A-Day that had Roger Lewis as President/CEO and Hal Graham as VP-Marketing. Both came from that "uh, very successful" airline - Pan Am.

They didn't exactly "make the going great" over there and didn't exactly do same at Amtrak.

Here is Gray Lady's reporting on the shake-up today:

http://nytimes.com/2017/06/26/nyregion/amtrak-ceo-richard-anderson.html

Fair Use:
  • Amtrak, the national passenger railroad that has been struggling to maintain its tracks in New York City, said Monday that it had chosen an airline industry veteran to be its next chief executive.

    Amtrak’s board named Richard Anderson, a former chairman and chief executive of Delta Air Lines, to succeed Charles Moorman as Amtrak’s chief this year. Until Dec. 21, the two men will serve as co-chief executives, Amtrak said.

    The decision came during a challenging period for Amtrak, which has been the target of harsh criticism from elected officials in the New York area for its decision to curtail train service in and out of Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan for nearly all of July and August.

    Mr. Anderson, 62, is scheduled to start his new job on July 12,

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here's The Journal's which seems to contain more insight:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-names-former-delta-chief-as-railroad-ceo-1498497686

Fair Use:

  • Mr. Anderson has shown a knack for hard jobs and unconventional risks. He left the airline business after 14 years at Northwest Airlines to work in the health insurance industry, before returning to Delta and orchestrating its purchase of Northwest, his former employer. He sparred with Middle East air carriers over efforts to break into the U.S. market. Irked by rising fuel prices in 2012, Delta announced it had purchased an oil refinery near Philadelphia to produce its own fuel.

    In an interview, Mr. Moorman said that Mr. Anderson had learned of Amtrak’s CEO search and volunteered to be considered. “Richard stuck his hand up,” Mr. Moorman said.

    At Amtrak, Mr. Anderson will come aboard a railroad under both operational and political pressures. Those include the Trump administration’s proposal to slash the railroad’s federal subsidy, and a rash of track failures at New York’s Penn Station that have caused widespread delays and forced a summerlong program of repair work that has angered local politicians

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Gilbert B Norman
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Hopefully to add constructive follow up, that being an effective CEO is all about managing assets, and how, even if some kind of hackneed cliche, "our greatest asset is our people". Therefore, what it is all about is implementation of lines of reporting and that those lines, as distinct from a grapevine, remain active and are enforced.

OK; enough of that Peter Drucker stuff around here.

For what it be worth, "troops in the trenches" with United I know "like" Oscar. That he is from a railroad background, means he is comfortable with a unionized work environment, and that he succeeded to get a unified Agreement with a major craft, namely Attendants, where predecessors failed, means he has brought about operational efficiency for the airline.

While at this time I hold there are other industries out there with more contentious labor relations than railroads, if Mr. Anderson is able to establish fair and administrable agreements with employees to respect lines of authority rather than building the fiefdoms part and parcel of government agencies, "he's gonna be OK" in my book. However, I do hold concerns that Delta is the least unionized of the "Big Four", and I hope that his appointment does not represent some "union busting" initiative at Amtrak.

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Vincent206
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I wonder if Amtrak ever approached Herb Kelleher for advice? Southwest Airlines has always been considered a fantastic place to work and they do a great job moving planes and people safely around the country. Amtrak's employees always seem to be more focused on following the rules and less about the satisfaction of the customers. Amtrak management might argue that the primary job of the employees is to guarantee everyone's safety, but SWA has an excellent safety record--probably better than Amtrak's.
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Gilbert B Norman
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To my knowledge, Mr. Vincent, SWA has never had a passenger fatality.

I don't think anyone lays the blame for the 9/11 fatalities on either affected airline.

But, sorry to say, commercial air travel IS safer than Amtrak.

Now of concern to me is that Mr. Anderson is from Delta Airlines; a company that to whom "the only good labor union is a busted union".

Amtrak interests will not be served well if he initiates (through goons, company finks, or however) or encourages any "de-cert" activities.

I suppose that Delta successfully persuaded the Northwest Attendants to "de-cert" their union. Another union, the IAMAW, then attempted to organize all Delta Attendants without success. The only major craft organized are the Flight Officers (pilots).

Mr. Anderson must accept that "de-cert" initiatives at Amtrak is not a way to earn "points" with those who hold the purse strings. The strongest elected Amtrak supporters are from States where organized labor still has sway.

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Ocala Mike
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Recently completed a "trains, planes, and automobiles" road trip one leg of which involved the CONO southbound a couple of days ago. Met a high-ranking Amtrak official in the cafe car(Regional Emergency Manager - Region VII) who was talking about a presentation he was going to make in Gulfport, MS.

When I asked why at a non-Amtrak town, he told me that they are anticipating service along the Gulf coast east of NOLA in the not too distant future. We shall see.

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DonNadeau
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quote:
Originally posted by Jerome Nicholson:
Wasn't Amtrak run by airlines execs before? How did that turn out?
Ce plus ca change....

If I am correct, the most productive change early ex-airline managers brought to Amtrak was fares based on demand for specific trains.

Prior to that fares were seasonal, if at all, not achieving any more sophistication than Canadian National's three-tier "Red, White and Blue" prices.

--------------------
@DonNadeau

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Gilbert B Norman
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I doubt this be the case, Mr. Nadeau.

When CEO Roger Lewis and VP-Mktg Hal Graham (both ex Pan Am) were at the throttle, demand pricing was still "awaiting conception". The airlines only started to play with such until after their 1979 De-reg. As I recall, it was not until about 1990 that Amtrak began theirs.

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DonNadeau
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You are right. I pulled that out of some deep recess of my mind without fact checking the time period. Should not have implied at the beginning. Their influence came later.

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@DonNadeau

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