Regarding Joe Boardman’s May 10 Opinion piece, the former CEO of Amtrak is railing against a situation he actually created. His actions left Amtrak in disrepair after eight years at the throttle.
Why doesn’t the United States have a big, fast, modern passenger rail system? Many passenger rail advocates claim it’s because passenger rail has enemies: The highway lobby. The auto industry. Big oil. The airlines. They don’t want trains because a successful passenger train system would damage their businesses.
Joe Boardman was not my favorite person during most of his time as Amtrak President. When Boardman left Amtrak, friends wisely persuaded me to let it go. After he was gone, I said nothing negative about him. However, no one said not to praise him if he did something right. I did not expect that to happen.
Having spent much of my productive life at the state and federal levels observing, studying, regulating and then leading a rail management team, I am appalled with what increasingly appears a unilateral violation of the public trust by Amtrak’s current leadership to dismantle our interconnected, intercity rail passenger network, beginning with hollowing out of its long-distance passenger train service.
What I’m going to suggest will probably have the risk assessment people doubling over in laughter, but since I’m merely a retired locomotive engineer—not an attorney or a bean counter—my perspective is totally different. It’s void of possible legal implications and liability concerns that cause simple, straight forth suggestions from well-intentioned front line employees, to be summarily dismissed by management. Before you toss this in the mental wastebasket, please hear me out.
The past few years have admittedly been tough for Bombardier Transportation in North America. Changing dynamics—in particular, China’s entrance into the vehicle market—combined with delivery and quality problems and highly public squabbles with key Canadian and U.S. customers—have impacted the company’s business as well as its reputation. Now, however, Bombardier’s fortunes appear to be turning around.
Editor’s Note: The following is MARTA Deputy General Manager A.R. “Rob” Troup’s April 26, 2018 complete luncheon address at the annual Railway Age/Railway Track & Structures Light Rail Conference in Baltimore. The text is interspersed with photos from the Transit Tour provided by Maryland MTA of its LRT system and shops.
The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a Draft Safety Advisory, 2018-01, Related to Temporary Signal Suspensions. For the first time I can recall, FRA is soliciting public comment “on all aspects of the Draft Safety Advisory.”
Ex-Florida Congressman John Luigi Mica, a foodie who spent a considerable amount of time when he was Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee questioning Amtrak’s food service costs, must be very pleased with Amtrak’s announcement that it’s getting rid of dining cars on two long-distance trains.
Were there any doubt that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) has been on siesta since the departure of former Chairman Dan Elliott in September, a House Rail Subcommittee oversight hearing April 17 confirmed the languor.